Taylor May, a walk-on defensive end for the Cowboys, won't forget his first time.
"I'll never forget it," May said. "It's an awesome experience, especially when you have the fans screaming for you. I've got my family out there – my mom, dad and little sister – I'm just trying to make them proud. It's a humbling experience."
May, a redshirt freshman, could have played at a Division II or an NAIA school out of high school – the easy route to playing time. At Plano High School in Texas, he was an honorable mention All-State player his senior year. But May wanted more. He wanted to be part of something much larger than himself. That's why he accepted a walk-on offer at OSU.
"I felt comfortable here and I wanted to challenge myself a bit," May said. "In high school, I didn't get to play that much my junior year; it was mainly my senior year. But I felt like I deserved to play at a D1 level. I wanted to prove myself; that I do belong here."
Last season as a redshirt, May watched as Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden led the Cowboys to their greatest season ever. Saturday night, it was May's turn to contribute.
Early in the third quarter, the OSU defense was in a speed package. On a stunt, May charged right through the B-gap. SSU quarterback Antonio Bostick handed off to running back Sheldon Barnes. May was there to make the solo tackle – his first as a Cowboy.
"Coach (Mike) Gundy always stresses, act like you've done it before," May said. "As much as I wanted to jump up and scream with my teammates, I had to move on to the next play."
The Cowboys used at least 95 different players in the game. May's performance served as a reward for hard work in the blowout.
May finished the game with two solo tackles. No matter what happens next in his career, his name will forever be recorded in OSU history.
"For (walk-ons) to get on the field and play 15, 20, 30 plays is a highlight for some of them, for their career," Gundy said. "That's the one good part of us being ahead, is to let everybody play."
May doesn't want this to be his only storybook moment. He wants to tell the future grandkids about the time he sacked OU's quarterback to win the Big 12 title. He wants to tell them about what it took to go from walk-on to starter. That journey took its first big step Saturday night.
"It's about nailing my assignments, watching film over and over, and listening to the older guys – they're our mentors," May said. "As long as I keep doing that, hopefully a scholarship comes down the way."