Not Perfect But Win Worthy Of Gundy Milestone

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy had just stopped speaking to his team in the locker room following Oklahoma State's 31-10 victory over Iowa State at Boone PIckens Stadium on Saturday. "Coach, you know that we like to recognize important milestones when they happen in our program," said a voice coming from the defensive side of the locker room.

Cooper Bassett holding up a ball used in the victory over Iowa State that had finished moments ago.

"You have now become the all-time winningest coach in school history and we all want you to have this game ball," said Bassett.

Gundy has won 63 games versus 32 losses in just seven season and a half seasons. He passed his old head coach Pat Jones, who went 62-60 in his 11 seasons as head coach in Stillwater.

"It means a lot for our team, and our coaching staff has done a great job," said Gundy.

"I said this in our post game with the media in that I really feel like this is an extension of what Coach Jones started. There is a tremendous amount of what we do with this football team that was instilled by Coach Jones when I played and coached for him. I'm really proud to continue to carry it on."

"That was an honor in itself to be the player that gets to give the game ball to the greatest coach, the all-time winning coach, in Oklahoma State history," said Bassett, who finished with a tackle and two quarterback hurries.

The win over Iowa State was really amazing as the Cowboys used a surprising, certainly to Iowa State, passing game plan of throwing early and often, and sometimes deep.

True freshman Wes Lunt was not quite ready and J.W. Walsh continued to take advantage of his opportunity to play. Walsh was 32 of 47 passing for 415 yards for the ninth-best passing game in Oklahoma State history. He had one spectacular touchdown pass -- a 74-yard down-and-go route to Charlie Moore, in which he hit Moore in stride, and no interceptions.

Walsh also rushed for 46 yards and a touchdown to account for 461 yards of total offense. He made some mistakes and tried some dicey throws, but all-in-all he was outstanding.

"J.W. hit me in perfect stride and it was just the perfect play," said Moore of his long touchdown catch down the Cowboys sideline.

"A week ago people were saying he played awful, but J.W. was very impressive and made some mistakes, like most young players do," said Gundy. "He played with some pain and was very competitive. He probably made 8 to 10 errors where he was on the other side of the field and should have been running it or throwing it instead of what he was doing. He was really good."

Joseph Randle had 36 rushing yards at halftime but the talented runner took advantage of an Iowa State defense that wore down. He finished with 151 yards on 24 carries, including a four-yard touchdown run, a 12-yard scoring run, and a 62-yard run that set up the Cowboys final touchdown.

Randle was outstanding, but his offensive line, including center Evan Epstein, who blew up Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott on the 62-yard run, may have been even better.

"I don't ever want to be out of a game, and when I am on the field I want to make the most of it," said Epstein, who got a break in the third quarter with his ankle injury nagging at him. "I told Joe not to be surprised if he broke that play and this is the feeling you want as a center to feel the whoosh of that running back running by you and knowing you made the big block to open it up."

Randle said, That is why I am shouting out to my offensive line ... Parker Graham, Jonathan Rush, Evan Epstein, Lane Taylor, and Daniel Koenig. They did a great job and the wide outs did a good job too. They all did their jobs and that allowed me to run the way I did."

There was plenty of celebration and compliments to be passed out, but the best probably needs to go to the defense.

The Cowboys defense, built up in the spring and preseason as the best of the Mike Gundy era, had been disappointing in games at Arizona and in fourth quarters against Texas and at Kansas. The fans were restless, but defensive coordinator Bill Young, his staff, and his players came through on this sunsplashed homecoming Saturday.

After Iowa State drove 75 yards on nine plays with the opening kickoff, the Cyclones managed 266 yards the rest of the day and only 101 rushing yards. The Cowboys defense controlled Iowa State.

"We started off slow, which was bad, and we didn't want to do that," said safety Daytawion Lowe, who had a one-handed interception in the game. "We clicked from that point and that is the way we have to play. The coaches make the calls that put us in the situation to make plays and we make the plays."

"Golly, those guys had a great plan," said Gundy. "Coach Young and his staff, they rolled right down the field on us with the opening possession, and that was a downer because we were so fired up and excited coming out of the locker room. They went down the field and scored.

"The first play we were in man coverage and Brodrick Brown was in good shape. They just made a good throw and a good catch. You can't ask for more than that. The defense bounced back and had pressure. I thought we played with a lot of speed. We stopped the run. It was a great team effort."

Count me as totally fooled. Equipment manager Wes Edwards and his staff of "Chief" Davis and Justin Williams had those orange helmets hidden. They told me there were no orange helmets.

The equipment staff takes great pride in surprising the players with the look each week. The players love it and some media people and some "make believe" media people like to spoil it causing the equipment staff to go to greater lengths to keep the tradition of game day locker room surprise going.

The orange helmets, technically pearl orange, looked good. It was the first time since 1979 that OSU wore orange helmets and those were burnt orange. The last bright orange helmets were in 1968. The last time any logo other than a brand was on the sides of the helmet was in 1972. The Pistol Pete head looked good and the players loved the helmets.

So did the recruits in attendance, Gundy pointed out.

It wasn't a perfect game, but thanks to a glorious day and a very good win, those helmets will be worn again.


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