Sunday Rewind: The No. 25 Cowboys

When I was young and gaining my interest in college football, I would check out the NCAA stats and each week would shake my head at the offensive numbers, mainly passing numbers, being put up by BYU under the direction of head coach Lavell Edwards.

The Cougars had a run of quarterbacks that came through and set records. OSU faced a couple of those BYU quarterbacks in 1970 bowl games, including Gary Shiede, who was bruised and battered by Phillip Dokes in the 1974 Fiesta Bowl. It was Gifford Nielson that was out-stat by Terry Miller in the 1976 Tangerine Bowl. The Cougars had their throwing days.

Lately, it has been Texas Tech under Mike Leach (and Dana Holgorsen), and Houston under Holgorsen that have put up obscene numbers.

But now you can add Oklahoma State to the list.

The new NCAA stats show among many outlandish (for Oklahoma State) stats that the Cowboys are second in scoring offense (57.0 points per game), second in total offense (596.0 yards per game), tied for first in red zone offense (16-for-16 with 12 touchdowns and four field goals), and the kicker, for the first time in Oklahoma State football history, the Cowboys are number one in the nation in passing (391.7 yards per game).

"You didn't have to go back very far because Oklahoma State has never been number one in passing," said Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, who should know as not only head coach but a former record-setting quarterback at OSU.

"Yes, we have played at a high level and we have played well within the system. The line has played well and (Brandon) Weeden gets better each week with every opportunity to get live reps. We will see better competition, so we will know more in a month."

Gundy when pressed did find a comparison and it is with a group he knows well. He was a part of it in handing off to a Heisman Trophy winner (Barry Sanders) and throwing to an All-American receiver (Hart Lee Dykes).

"In reflecting on all the explosive plays it reminds me of 1988," said Gundy. "That team was able to strike quick and this team is showing that ability to strike quick. I still think we will know a lot more about this group in a month.

"(On Saturday) the 700 (yards) caused me to blink a little, but it was really our stats in the first half that stunned me. Those were impressive and caught me a little by surprise."

Gundy understands the system and that when it is going it can go crazy like this. The team is on pace to more than double its explosive plays this season. From a strategic standpoint, he wants to be able to keep the offense humming whether it is destroying defenses on the ground like the 65-17 win over Washington State or throwing over the top like the offense did in the 65-28 win on Saturday over Tulsa.

"We want to be versatile enough to do what we need to do to be successful based on what the defense is giving us," said Gundy. "We've always relied heavier on the running game, but we are flexible enouhg to go full speed in the throwing game. We want to be prepared to do whatever the defense gives us."

Gundy seemed pleased the Cowboys entered the USA Today Coaches Poll at No. 25 on Sunday. He was happy that the offensive line played well and he is bullish on the defense as he felt the tackling improved against Tulsa over Troy and feels Andrew McGee, Brodrick Brown, and especially young pups like Justin Gilbert, Devin Hedgepeth, and Larry Stephens have been able to get such quality reps.

The head coach said he wasn't sure about the open week but he said the emphasis will be areas after three games that need the most improvement with conference play and the Thursday night affair on Sept. 30 against Texas A&M up ahead.

Gundy has a new weapon on offense with the re-emergence of Hubert Anyiam at wide receiver. That should make the offense even more explosive and right now Justin Blackmon is not only top dog among wide receivers, but he also leads the nation in scoring. Dan Bailey is 8th in the nation scoring and Hunter is 11th. Three of the top 11 scorers, individually in college football, got to OSU. That is worth a note to recruits.

The Cowboys next get back to the adventure on Thursday, Sept. 30, when ESPN and the Aggies come to Stillwater to visit Boone Pickens Stadium for a 6:30 p.m. Big 12 opener for both schools,

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