COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Oklahoma State didn’t panic when it was down by 17 points to eighth-ranked Texas A&M at halftime on Saturday.
It wasn’t anything new to the seventh-ranked Cowboys, after they bounced back from a big first-half deficit last year to beat the Aggies.
Brandon Weeden threw for a school-record 438 yards and two scores and Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper combined for 244 yards receiving as Oklahoma State rallied for a 30-29 win over Texas A&M.
"We came out confident in the second half," Blackmon said. "We knew we could come back if we played our game and executed the game plan (and) that’s what we did."
The Aggies built a 20-3 halftime lead before the Cowboys (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) took advantage of three Texas A&M turnovers and numerous penalties to reel off 27 straight points to take a 30-20 lead.
"The way they handled that situation was beautiful," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said of his team’s second half. "And the win makes it’s special. The way they fought back as a group shows a lot about their character and who they are."
Jeff Fuller caught a 4-yard touchdown pass with 2:20 remaining for A&M’s first score since the second quarter to get A&M within 30-27.
A&M’s defense forced a punt and the Aggies (2-1, 0-1) got the ball back with almost two minutes remaining, but Ryan Tannehill threw his third interception to seal the Cowboys’ win.
Blackmon ran 39 yards into A&M’s end zone for a safety as time expired to finish off the victory.
Oklahoma State won its fourth straight in the series and its seventh overall on the road in the first top 10 matchup at Kyle Field since 1975. It marks the first time the Cowboys have won consecutive games in College Station.
It could be the last time these teams meet in conference play with the Aggies likely headed to the Southeastern Conference next season. It was a fact not lost on the few Oklahoma State fans in attendance who chanted, "Big 12, Big 12" as the final seconds of the game ticked away.
The matchup was oddly similar to last year’s matchup between these teams when A&M led 21-7 at halftime before errors led to a 38-35 Oklahoma State win in Stillwater.
The Aggies talked about what happened last year in hopes that they wouldn’t suffer the same fate on Saturday. It didn’t help.
"We gave the game away," Aggies safety Hunter said. "We didn’t step up and play with the same passion we did in the first half. We weren’t going out with that same fire and we weren’t ready to fight. Regardless of what they did in the second half ... we just didn’t go out and want to win."
Texas A&M kept Oklahoma State’s high-powered offense in check through the first two quarters, but looked frazzled and tired dealing with its frenetic pace after halftime.
"They did a nice job of coming out in the second half and changing the tempo of the game and taking advantage of it," Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said. "They kind of had us on our heels."
Several Texas A&M players had cramps and some had to receive IVs at halftime.
Jeremy Smith ran untouched into the end zone on a 13-yard run that cut the lead to 20-10 early in the third quarter. Blackmon’s TD catch got the Cowboys within three and they took a 24-20 lead when Weeden found Tracy Moore on a 4-yard pass after an A&M fumble.
Quinn Sharp added two short field goals in the fourth quarter to extend the lead.
Tannehill threw for 309 yards and two scores and ran for another touchdown and Ryan Swope had 105 yards receiving for A&M.
Cooper had 11 catches for 123 yards — both career highs, Blackmon had 11 receptions for 121 yards, and Hubert Anyiam had 10 receptions for 92 yards. It was the first time in school history that three receivers had at least 10 catches in a game. Before Saturday, the Cowboys had never had more than one player with 10 catches in a game.
On Blackmon’s score in the third quarter, Weeden found him in the corner of the end zone, but he dropped the ball well out of bounds and officials first said it was an incomplete pass. Blackmon yelled at an official that it was a touchdown as he walked away and after a review, the star receiver ended up being right. It was an 11-yard touchdown pass and Oklahoma was within 20-17.
The Cowboys were helped earlier in that drive when A&M’s Jonathan Stewart hit Anyiam when he was out of bounds and the penalty tacked on 13 yards to the 9-yard reception.
Kenric McNeal caught a 33-yard pass from Tannehill on the second play of A&M’s next drive, but fumbled, giving the Cowboys the ball right back.
They took advantage of the error and got their first lead of the game, 24-20, when Weeden hit Moore in the back of the end zone for the TD.
"At halftime we didn’t change anything, we just started executing and things started going our way," said Weeden, who also set school records for his 47 completions and 60 attempts on Saturday. "Our guys did a great job up front. In the second half things started clicking."
On a repeat of their last drive, Texas A&M just got one play in before turning the ball over on the second. This time Tannehill was intercepted by Brodrick Brown.
The Aggies caught a break, though when Blackmon caught an 8-yard pass and was heading toward the end zone when he fumbled at the 2-yard line and the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a touchback.
But Texas A&M didn’t get anything out of it when Tannehill threw another interception on the next drive which Oklahoma State converted into a short field goal that pushed the lead to 27-20 early in the fourth quarter.
Tannehill got A&M going on the fourth play of the game when he faked a handoff to Cyrus Gray and dashed 65 yards up the middle for a touchdown to make it 7-0.
The Aggies put together a 10-play, 86-yard drive capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass to Fuller to go up 17-3 early in the second quarter.