Thoughts On A Team Of Champions

While spending an extra day in Arizona before heading home here are some of my thoughts on Oklahoma State's 41-38 overtime victory over Sanford in Monday night's Fiesta Bowl, and the thoughts of some of the young men that played a big role in the game. Oklahoma State fans were fabulous as they showed up in force and made their presence felt.

There is no way to measure it, but in a 41-38 overtime victory, you would have to guees those fans had an influence on the win. You hate to see someboy be a "goat" in the game like Stanford field goal kicker Josh Williamson, but this has been a unique season and you have to appreciate everything as it comes.

There is no doubt about that as Oklahoma State has never won 12 games in a season. It won't happen every year, but if Oklahoma State can be in position to compete for the Big 12 and the BCS or BCS National Championship every four years that would be a great achievement in this day and age of college football parity. Until then enjoy this one as it was truly special.

Weeden2Blackmon Was Better Than Hyped
I spoke to a sports radio station in Seattle earlier on Tuesday and the host said he didn't know that this Weeden-to-Blackmon combination was as incredible as what he saw Monday night. C'mon, the West Coast must pay as little attention to us and football in the Midlands as we pay to their football on the West Coast.

Actually, I could have been easier on him and said that when Weeden first hooked up with Blackmon for the game winner on a Thursday night in November 2009 that none of us had any idea how Weeden2Blackmon would change our football lives at Oklahoma State.

Blackmon declared for the NFL Draft after the game, although we all knew he would. Blackmon saved one of his best games for last with eight catches for 186 yards and a Fiesta Bowl record-tying three receiving touchdowns. His career numbers are an eye popping 252 receptions for 3,564 yards and 40 touchdowns.

Blackmon wasn't all that interested in the numbers, at least he acted that way.

"Like I said, the win itself, you get the win with our teammates and all the seniors on the team was enough," said the monsterous Blackmon, who agreed that he was "beasting" in the second quarter in dominating the Stanford secondary. "I could have no catches and no touchdowns as long as we won, I would have been as excited."

The problem is with no catches and no touchdowns there would have been no win.

"I wouldn't say I was mad; just irritated with what was going on," Blackmon said of the OSU offensive effort early in the game. "I knew we could play better. I just tried to help the team play as best they could. If that takes me, I think getting mad, I guess I get mad and go out there and do it."

Weeden broke the OSU bowl game passing yardage record with 399 yards to eclipse Zac Robinson's 329 yards in a losing effort in the 2008 Holiday Bowl against Oregon. Weeden finished his OSU career with 9.260 yards passing and 75 touchdowns passes. Oh, and he scored the first rushing touchdown of his career even though he went the wrong way on the second quarter scoring run to end the half.

"It has been unbelievable," Weeden said of his career. "If you would have told me this situation would arose six or seven years ago, I would have thought you were crazy. But like I said, this has kind of been my dream since I was a little kid. This ride, and like I said with Coach, we came back to win a conference championship and a BCS game."

They leave as the best combination, the best receiver, and the best quarterback in Oklahoma State football history. There's no debate.

Colton Chelf Closes Out Career In BIg Way
With Stanford running plenty of zero-2 coverage and 2-man that left Blackmon crowded and some other Cowboys receivers manned up, former walk-on Colton Chelf came up big against the Cardinal. He concluded his OSU playing career with his career high game as the diminutive Chelf had five catches for 97 yards, including the play that set off the first celebration which was later ruled down at the 1-yard line and eventually led to the field goal that kicked off the actual winning celebration.

"We watched a ton of film and the coaches drew up the plays because we knew the middle of the field was going to be open," said Chelf. ""If you could beat your man then you were going to get the ball.

"(Josh) Cooper came in motion on that last play and I saw there was nobody in the middle of the field and I thought, I'm about to score and got caught on the half-yard-line. Senior year for me and first BCS game, this is definitely the way to end it."

Chelf said he will be back often next season as he is looking forward to watching his brother Clint at quarterback.

"I will be his number-one fan next season and I hope to see him out there starting," Chelf said of Clint, who will battle J.W. Walsh and new freshman enrollee Wes Lunt.

Defensive Tackles Heroic
The Cowboys were thin at defensive tackle Monday night with regular starter Christian Littlehead sitting out because of a suspension for a misdemeanor drug paraphanalia citation in Stillwater.

How thin? So thin that starters Nigel Nicholas and Anthony Rogers played every snap on defense in the four-man front. That turned out to be roughly 60 plays. That is almost unheard of at defensive tackle in Division I.

"Just going out there and playing fundamental football," answered Nicholas when asked how he handled the workload. "We had a good plan and all of us played really hard and did our best to execute the game plan and stop Stanford. We did well at times; they did well at times. But in the end we made plays when we needed to."

Rogers had four tackles, three of those unassisted, and Nicholas had two tackles, both unassisted, and one for a loss.

"From the beginning we knew this was going to be a physical game and we were prepared for the worst," said Rogers, admitting he didn't have a lot left in the gas tank. "We knew it was going to be a fight from the start. We looked at overtime as a miracle and a second chance. We were excited to get that opportunity."

LIttlehead will be back in the mix next season and the Cowboys will have added Calvin Barnett out of Navarro (Texas) junior college.

Mike Gundy Shows the Way
The Cowboys head coach has always said that he wants his players to learn more than just how to be good football players. Gundy is always telling his players that he is there to make sure they graduate and become good men, good husbands, good fathers, and good people in society.

Gundy is not afraid to show them the way and did that when he brought Shelley Budke and the Budke family to Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl, and then asked Shelley to join him on the stage after the game to help accept the championship trophy.

Of course, Shelley is the wife of former coach Kurt Budke, who was killed in a plane crash in Arkansas with assistant Miranda Serna and the pilot and his wife while going to North Little Rock on a recruiting trip.

"Well, you know we went through a tragic moment," started Gundy. "Unfortunately in life there are tragic moments and things go on ... the stock market, practice. restuarants open but it never goes away for the families. You never get over it.

"I can't imagine the tragedy of waking up and realizing that you lost a husband or a wife or a father or mother. Those four people in that crash, our players have been concerned about them since it happened. We're close with Shelley and Miranda's family doesn't live in Stillwater. The couple from Ponca City (Branstetters) were not around as much.

"Kurt was around all the time and we wanted Shelley here and to be a part of this. Anything we can do to make her day better, a little bit special for her and her children then we're going to do it. We do this for them and hopefully, our players learn that it is important to do things for people to make their day better."


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