Oklahoma State beat Baylor 36-25 in Stillwater on Oct. 1 in what was a top-20 matchup. The two schools first met in 1914 and have played 41 times, with Oklahoma State now holding a 23-19 lead. However, all of the Cowboys' wins have been by 10 points or more, so they are going to get short shrift on this list.
Before we dive in, we say goodbye to the 1916 matchup where Baylor beat Oklahoma A&M 10-7. Last-minute drives with game-winning field goals are a dime-a-dozen in today's college football era, but they were a rarity in 1916. Down 7-0 to the Aggies in the fourth quarter, Baylor fullback Theron Fouts smashed three yards into the end zone to tie the game. In the final minutes, the Bears then put together a drive, and Guy "Happy" Crosslin kicked the winning field goal as time expired. In 1957, Oklahoma A&M changed its name to Oklahoma State and fully adopted the Cowboys mascot.
With that in mind, here are the five greatest contests in the series.
5. Oklahoma State 24, Baylor 14
Dec. 31, 1983 — Houston
The two teams met in the Astrodome for the now-defunct Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. Oklahoma State jumped out to a 21-0 second-quarter lead thanks to two touchdown passes from quarterback Rusty Hilger. He also drove the Cowboys into field goal range before Baylor linebacker Robert Watters nailed him after a pass, knocking Hilger out of the game with a concussion. Oklahoma State did not score any more points but held on to win, and Hilger was named the game's MVP. After the game, head coach Jimmy Johnson left for Miami (Fla.).
4. Baylor 41, Oklahoma State 34
Dec. 1, 2012 — Waco, Texas
The Bears capitalized on a pick-six by Eddie Lackey and a 75-yard touchdown pass from Nick Florence to Tevin Reese to take a 24-3 second-quarter lead. The Cowboys cut that gap to 34-27 with a four-yard touchdown run by J.W. Walsh with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter, but Baylor responded on the next drive with a 76-yard touchdown run by Lache Seastrunk that he still made despite suffering a muscle cramp towards the end. Oklahoma State scored another touchdown with 1:16 to go, but the Bears recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
3. Baylor 14, Oklahoma State 10
Sept. 17, 1994 — Waco, Texas
Both teams entered this early-season showdown unbeaten, and Oklahoma State led 7-0 having held Baylor to 133 total yards for nearly three full quarters. Then Bears freshman quarterback Jeff Watson threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to John Stanley to tie the game with 2:04 left in the third period. The Cowboys kicked a field goal early in the fourth quarter, but Stanley threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to tight end Damon Rhynes, who stayed in bounds and ran down the Oklahoma State sideline to score. The two unusual touchdowns in an otherwise defensive struggle proved to be the difference. Baylor went on to win a share of the Southwest Conference title, while the Cowboys went 3-7-1.
2. Baylor 21, Oklahoma State 16 (Big 12 Championship Game)
Dec. 4, 2021 – Arlington, Texas
In the Big 12 Championship Game, Baylor took a 21-6 halftime lead. The Cowboys responded with 10 points in the second half and drove down to the Bears' 2-yard line with 1:27 remaining. However, Baylor stopped Oklahoma State on downs with a goal-line stand for the win and conference title.
1. Baylor 35, Oklahoma State 31
Nov. 3, 2018 — Waco, Texas
While the Big 12 has been historically criticized for favoring offense over defense, the upside is that two middle-of-the-pack teams can still have you glued to your seat in November. After trading leads throughout the game, Oklahoma State took a decisive 31-21 lead on a two-yard touchdown run by Justice Hill with 8:55 left in the game. Baylor responded with an 86-yard drive that was punctuated by a 36-yard touchdown pass from Charlie Brewer to Jalen Hurd (at 1:50 in the below video). On its next possession, the Cowboys drove into Bears territory, and, facing fourth-and-2 on the Baylor 36-yard line with 1:37 remaining, head coach Mike Gundy decided to go for the win. Safety Chris Miller sacked quarterback Taylor Cornelius, giving the Bears the ball back on their own 45-yard line. Baylor drove down the field and Brewer hit Denzel Mims with a six-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds remaining (at 2:10 in the below video) for the win. Both teams finished 7-6.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.