Orie Lemon, Cowboy Seniors Revel In Victory

AUSTIN, Texas – Oklahoma State has 66 players from Texas. It had been 66 years since any OSU team claimed victory in the state's capital. It seemed fitting as the "Eyes of Texas," 100, 659 sets of eyes to be exact, watched as several of their native sons claimed a victory against a school that spurned them on the recruiting trail.

And this victory came in a decisive fashion as the Cowboys bested the Longhorns 33-16 in Austin on Saturday night.

It was a big win for the Cowboys by any measure but the victory had an added incentive for the Cowboys' Texas contingent.

"I'm not 66 years old but since I've been at OSU it's always been that thorn in our side," said Jonathan Rush, a Killeen, Texas native. "It's just been like, ‘Oh God, here comes Texas. We lost again? They came back from what crazy deficit?' It feels good to finally put that to bed."

And it felt particularly good for the seniors from the Lone Star State. OSU has five senior starters from south of the Red River: running back Kendall Hunter, defensive linemen Ugo Chinasa and Shane Jarka, and linebackers Orie Lemon and Justin Gent.

For those seniors, this was their final chance at the ‘Horns. And it meant everything to them, particularly Lemon, who also served as a team captain in his final regular season appearance in his home state.

"I feel great," said Lemon, a Houston native. "It took a whole lot of work. It's been years of work, I've been here so long and he hadn't beaten in a long time, for us to come down here and do it, man, I just feel great about it."

This victory would have meant plenty to them regardless of where the game was played but for the win to come on Texas soil, in the capital no less, meant a little more.

"Oh of course, I'm from Texas so this is my home so to come down here and get our fans from Stillwater this was great," Lemon said. "I mean this was really great."

Senior cornerback Andrew McGee isn't from Texas but he knows what it's like to feel unwanted by his home state schools and he said he can understand the swell of pride his teammates were feeling after the game.

"I feel really good for those guys, man," McGee said. "Just for them being from Texas, a lot of those guys got the calls from Texas coaches saying they weren't good enough, you're not fast enough or we don't think you can do these things. It's good to see those guys prove them wrong. It's nothing against Texas or any other team but I'm happy for our Texas guys.

"Me, being from Mississippi, I know how it felt to get turned down in high school from teams like Ole Miss and Mississippi State. I know that feeling so I know how badly they wanted to win this."

And the desire to win was evident from the opening kick on as OSU hammered the Longhorns to improve to 9-1 overall for the second time in school history.

While this victory was special to the entire team, a good chunk of the Cowboys' roster will get other shots at the ‘Horns in the coming years. But Saturday, in the bowls of Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, it was all about the seniors.

"I'm proud to get this win for the seniors because they've been wanting this ever since they got here," sophomore corner Brodrick Brown, a Houston native, said. "Just to be able to go out their senior season and beat Texas, that's a pretty good feeling to be a part of that."

And those seniors know the impact this victory has had on them already. Hunter, a Tyler native, is a man of few words but perhaps it was the Maxwell Award candidate who summed it up best.

"It's every Texas kid's dream to beat Texas," Hunter said. "It was our last chance (as seniors) at Texas, you can't get that back."

And Texas can't take it away.

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