Bailey's Kick Saves Cowboys

STILLWATER – Let's run down the list of heroes in Oklahoma State's thrilling victory over Texas A&M Thursday night. Justin Blackmon. James Thomas. Shaun Lewis. Ugo Chinasa. Oh, and former walk-on Dan Bailey whose 40-yard field goal on the game's final play gave the Cowboys the 38-35 victory over the Aggies at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Bailey's game-winning field goal capped a thrilling fourth quarter in which Texas A&M rallied from a 14-point deficit to tie the game and then got the ball back with a chance to win it. But it was an interception by Lewis, the true freshman from Houston, and his 28-yard return to the OSU 40-yard line that set up Bailey's game winning kick.

Oklahoma State improves to 4-0 with the victory, while Texas A&M saw its record drop to 3-1 in the Big 12 opener that was televised nationally (ESPN).

"Great game. Great feeling," said Bailey, the senior from Mustang, Okla., whose fiancee surprised him by flying in from Cincinnati for the game.

"I don't remember what I was thinking while it was up. I just remember turning around and hugging my holder (Wes Harlan) and then getting tackled by everyone. It went through, and I just wanted to celebrate," Bailey said.

OSU head coach Mike Gundy said, "When Dan keeps his head down, like you guys should when you hit golf balls, and stay through it, he kicks the ball as good as anybody. Every once in a while he'll peek in practice some, but if he keeps his head down – he's a veteran and experienced – we expect him to make it, and he expects to make it."

The Cowboys won despite Texas A&M running an astounding 106 plays, compared to OSU's 68, and the Aggies dominated in possession time (38:32 to 21:28). A&M had the ball for 33 plays in the fourth quarter after it appeared that Brandon Weeden and the Cowboys had taken control of the game in the third period.

OSU trailed 21-7 at halftime after a disastrous first half by the Cowboy offense, including three turnovers by Weeden (two interceptions and a fumble).

But Weeden looked more like a four-year veteran than someone making just his fourth career start in the third quarter in leading the Cowboys on three touchdown drives. In the 15-minute stretch of the third period, Weeden completed 12 of 16 passes for 155 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown to Justin Blackmon.

The Cowboys opened the half with a 13-play, 73-yard drive which culminated with Kendall Hunter's 2-yard scoring run. Weeden directed an eight-play, 71-yard drive to tie the game on the touchdown pass to Blackmon.

Later in the third quarter, after OSU cornerback Andrew McGee came up with one of the Cowboys four interceptions of Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson, they scored their third touchdown in 15 minutes with Hunter's 7-yard scoring run with 29 seconds left to play in the third quarter for a 28-21 victory.

But Texas A&M wasn't about to give up. Johnson drove Texas A&M to the Cowboys 27-yard line early in the fourth quarter but OSU defensive end Jamie Blatnick chased him down and the Aggie quarterback fumbled the ball. James Thomas scooped the loose ball up and sprinted 63 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-21.

Johnson and the Aggies still wouldn't go away. They drove 80 yards in 16 plays to pull within 35-28 on Johnson's 4-yard touchdown pass to Kenric McNeal, and then tied it up 35-35 with less than three minutes to play on Johnson's 28-yard scoring toss to Ryan Swope.

The Cowboys, who ran just nine plays in the fourth quarter, were forced to punt to the Aggies on the next possession. Texas A&M took over on its own 29 and had moved to OSU's 45 with 26 seconds remaining. But on the next play, Johnson overthrew his receiver and Shaun Lewis made the interception to set up Bailey's heroics.

The Aggies were the dominant team in the first half. They ran an astounding 55 plays for 242 yards. Texas A&M put together an 11-play touchdown drive and a 10-play scoring drive, and also had a 12-play drive but came up empty handed when OSU defensive end Ugo Chinasa tipped Johnson's pass into the air and then intercepted it.

The Cowboy offense certainly didn't help Bill Young's defense. The Aggies turned two of OSU's three first-half turnovers into touchdowns.

Texas A&M cornerback Terrence Frederick surprised Brandon Weeden on a blitz and the Cowboy quarterback fumbled the ball. A&M's Von Miller recovered the fumble and the Aggies took over on the OSU 5-yard line. Johnson's 5-yard fade pass to Jeff Fuller for a touchdown gave Texas A&M the lead.

A Weeden interception – by A&M's Dustin Harris – set up the Aggies second touchdown of the game. Johnson directed his team 55 yards in 11 plays for the touchdown late in the first quarter. The Cowboys allowed a 3-yard shovel pass from Johnson to Cyrus Gray on a third-and-goal situation.

Oklahoma State's No. 1-ranked offense (averaging 596 total yards through its first three games) managed a measly 107 yards on 30 plays in the first half – but 38 of those came on Weeden's 38-yard touchdown pass to Joseph Randle as the Cowboys pulled within 14-7 with 3:07 remaining in the half.

But the Aggies answered with an impressive 10-play, 53-yard drive which culminated with Johnson finding Fuller for his second touchdown with just nine seconds left in the half.

The Cowboys would have just two net rushing yards on 11 carries in the first half.


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