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Oklahoma State offense explodes against Pitt

Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Two storms struck in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Saturday.

The first was the lightning and rain that delayed the University of Pittsburgh vs Oklahoma State University football game for nearly two hours in the fourth quarter.

The other was the long ball.

Despite rallying back from a 31-17 deficit, Pitt lost to Oklahoma State, 45-38, for its first loss of the 2016 season.

The first play of the game indicated that this would not be a defensive showdown, but rather an offensive exposition. Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph found wide receiver James Washington for a 95-yard touchdown pass.

It was the first of four throws by Rudolph that were caught for at least 43 yards. Washington caught all but one of them.

That one long ball decided the outcome of the game.

With the game tied at 38 and just under two minutes to play, Oklahoma State was deep in its own territory. The Cowboys began the drive on their own 12 after a 35-yard punt by the Panthers’ Ryan Winslow.

After a one-yard gain on a run by Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill, disaster struck for Pitt.

Rudolph went into shotgun formation, faked a draw, then lobbed a pass to midfield. Wide receiver Jhajuan Seales was alone at the Cowboy 45 yard line. Panther cornerback Avonte Maddox was 6 yards behind Seales.

After making the catch, Seales streaked down toward the end zone until defensive back Terrish Webb was able to knock Seales out of bounds at the 1 yard-line.

One play later, running back Rennie Childs ran the ball in to give Oklahoma State the lead with 1:28 remaining.

Pitt got the ball back at their own 11. Quarterback Nate Peterman went 5-9 on the drive and picked up three first downs before throwing an interception with 15 seconds left.

Peterman finished the day 14-29 with 237 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

The bulk of the Panthers’ scoring came from the run game where the Panthers outgained the Cowboys, 290 to 100 yards. James Connor rushed for 111 yards and a score. Qadree Henderson added 95 yards and two touchdowns.

However, Oklahoma State receivers combined for 540 yards as opposed to Pitt’s 237. Washington led Cowboy receivers with 296 yards and two touchdowns. Jester Welsh led all Panther receivers 85 yards.

Despite allowing a season-high 45 points, Pitt’s defense tied the game up in the third. Winslow pinned the Cowboys down to their own 11 with a 36-yard punt and 10:31 remaining in the third quarter.

Rudolph dropped back to the 6 yard-line, cocked back to throw, but was stripped of the ball by Panther defensive lineman Ejuan Price. Lineback Matt Galambos recovered the ball at the 2 yard-line and tumbled into the end-zone to tie the game 31.

However, this was the second consecutive game that the Panthers allowed 35 or more points. Last season, Pitt went 1-2 in those scenarios last season.

Next weekend, Pitt begins ACC play on the road against North Carolina. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. Oklahoma State opens its Big 12 schedule against Baylor at 7:30 p.m next Saturday. 

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