Oklahoma State takes the TaxAct Texas Bowl

Texas Bowl - Photo by Eric Williams / fi360 News

HOUSTON, TX – No. 20 Oklahoma State built an 18-point first half lead and held on to win the 2023 TaxAct Texas Bowl, outlasting  short-handed Texas A&M for a 31-23 win in at NRG stadium Wednesday night.

Fresh off a loss in the Big 12 championship game, the Cowboys (10-4) did what they did best and returned to their solid run game. Running back Ollie Gordon II, who finished top ten in Heisman Trophy voting, rushed for 118 yards and a score. 

Texas Bowl – Photo by Eric Williams / fi360 News

Not only will Oklahoma State be able to build off the momentum of the bowl win, but it also recieved significant wind in its sails with Gordon announcing he’s returning for the 2024 season, spurning the transfer portal and NFL draft prospects.

On the other side, Texas A&M (7-6) will be more than happy to turn the page to 2025. The Aggies fired Jimbo Fisher after another mediocre run through Southeastern Conference play in November, and the resulting exodus of his recruits in the transfer portal left the Aggies with just 48 scholarship players in the game. This included just 1 scholarship quarterback after starter Jaylen Henderson left the game after the first play from scrimmage due to an apparent arm injury.

Texas Bowl – Photo by Eric Williams / fi360 News

True freshman Marcel Reed took over and played well off the bench, throwing for 361 yards. Junior kicker Randy Bond was 3-3 on field goals, including a bowl-record 51 yard make off the crossbar in the fourth. 

On the other side, senior Alan Bowman played well in the final game of his collegiate career that spanned five years and three power five programs, starting at Texas tech and Michigan. Bowman tossed 2 touchdowns and eclipsed the 400 yard mark for the first time all season. 

Mike Gundy after the Texas Bowl – Photo by Eric Williams / fi360 News

Oklahoma state coach Mike Gundy earned a 10th win in a single season for the 8th time in his career. A&M interim coach Elijah Robinson is off to Syracuse, where he’ll call defensive plays for new head coach Fran Brown.

The Mike Elko era at Texas A&M begins in earnest on Aug. 31, 2024 against Notre Dame in College Station, TX. Oklahoma State opens the same date against FCS finalist South Dakota State in Stillwater, OK.