She was delighted to hear that a good number of OSU fans (100 to 200) were at the airport to greet the players. In fact, the flight attendant said on the intercom just after we landed, "Guys, you need to straighten your collars and look nice because your fans are here to greet you." Aunt Billie thought that was great.
When she said that she thought it was great that Dave Hunziker on our radio broadcast mentioned Bob Fenimore, it occurred to me that Billie was alive for that. You see the last time OSU defeated Texas Tech in Lubbock in 1944, Fenimore was the star for the Cowboys.
Bob Fenimore, or as Larry Reece likes to say, the first of the great Cowboys, passed away this summer. But Fenimore would be very proud of these Cowboys and would likely think they are great.
There are stars with Justin Blackmon, Brandon Weeden, Kendall Hunter, Dan Bailey, Quinn Sharp, Orie Lemon, Markelle Martin, and so many more. There are no two-way players like when Fenimore played as that era is long gone, although I kidded Blackmon at the airport that his best play of the day was the pass he broke up that Weeden tried to squeeze in with three defenders around him. Blackmon reversed roles and did a great job of knocking it down.
Markelle Martin asked him if he wanted to play defensive back and he said, "My DB days are over." That's true, as he will be a wide receiver on Sundays someday in the NFL.
Blackmon is first in the nation in eceiving yards per game with 159.2 and tied for first in scoring with 13 points a game. Weeden is second in the nation in passing yards per game, sixth in passing with 68.9 percent, eighth in total offense, and 12th in passing efficiency.
Hunter is fifth in the nation in rushing with 138.3 yards per game and 14th in scoring with 10 points per game. Bailey is second in field goals and third in scoring with 12.5 points per game. Sharp is 10th in the nation in punting at 45.6 yards per punt. Lemon is 16th in the country in tackles with 10.3 per game.
Defensive end Jaime Blatnick had a sack Saturday for his third of the season and a key fumble recovery. Andrew McGee played great and had a fumble recovery, safety Johnny Thomas had two fumbles forced, and defensive tackle Chris Donaldson had five unassisted tackles and a sack which are great numbers for an inside defensive lineman.
"I was relying on all of the other guys out there," said Donaldson. "My partner (Shane Jarka) knows what I am going to do and I know what he is going to do and we worked together. Without him I don't get that sack."
On offense, while Hunter had 130 rushing yards, freshman Joseph Randle had 95 yards and a touchdown and actually ignited the offense early with a pair of carries and then Hunter kicked in.
"Yes sir, seeing that young guy make those runs motivates me to go out there and make runs," said a quiet Hunter. "You are right that he pushes me."
Blackmon had another great game with 10 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown. But with Hubert Anyiam out and fellow receivers Josh Cooper and Michael Harrison ailing after the Louisiana game, the other receivers like Tracy Moore were challenged. More had two catches including a 29-yard reception that helped the Cowboys to a touchdown in the first quarter.
"The coaches did challenge us and I worked hard in practice," said Hunter. "It's great when the Union duo can help out (Moore's Tulsa Union teammate Jeremy Smith also had a touchdown run). It's really fun to play with someone you played with in high school."
That is a microcosm into these Cowboys. Bob Fenimore and those great Cowboys teams of the '40s cared about each other. You had to care for and prop up each other. Our entire country was threatened by the dastardly threats of Japan and Germany in World War II.
Today we are a country at war (with terrorism) and threatened by a shaky economy. These Cowboys believe in the right things and as Mike Gundy will tell you he is as impressed with them as people as he is as the players the program needs to perform. They write letters to our servicemen and servicewomen. They befriend youngsters that because of health threats need that support of a successful athlete.
Most of al,l they care about each other and they care about the group investment into helping each other and the team. They don't care who gets the credit. The older players are doing a tremendous job of teaching the freshmen what it means to be a Cowboy. The freshmen are teaching the older players a little bit about increasing their hunger to win and dominate, and it's not just on Saturdays but each day at practice. While traveling with the team, I am more impressed with this team than any I have ever been around. They have a feeling around them.
Tech was a good sign but this team is far from finished. They are showing signs of making it really special the rest of this season and beyond.
Bob Fenimore truly would be proud. Aunt Billie is and so am I.