My Thoughts On OSU-Kansas

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Here are some of my thoughts, most concerning the game and a few others like Trace Atkins' rendition of the national anthem, following Oklahoma State's 42-6 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.

** Trace Adkins singing the national anthem ranks up there with the best – if it's not the best ever – to ever be sung at Boone Pickens Stadium. Was Adkins returning a favor he owed Pickens?

** There's no doubt in my mind that Justin Gilbert is probably the second-best kickoff return man in OSU history. His 100-yard return on the opening kickoff against Kansas was the sixth of his career, which ranks first among all active NCAA players, and is the Big 12's all-time leader. That's good enough to earn him the honor of second best … right behind Barry Sanders.

** The big question that should be on Cowboys fans minds this week is, will Josh Stewart be able to play next week against Texas?

** Did Tracy Moore (six catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns) show he's ready to become the go-to receiver is Stewart is not available?

** Sophomore Kevin Peterson is going to be one of the best cornerbacks in the Big 12 by the time he's a senior. After missing last week's game with an undisclosed injury, Peterson was in the starting lineup against KU and intercepted KU quarterback Jake Heaps pass to Tony Pierson in the first quarter. The Wagoner, Okla., standout's 38-yard return gave the Cowboys the ball at the KU 34-yard line and it only took seven plays for Desmond Roland to score on a 3-yard run for a 14-0 lead.

** Some Cowboys fans have been critical of linebacker Caleb Lavey over the years, but here's a warning. Just as OU fans were quick to criticize Landry Jones over his playing career, they sure wish they had him back now. Lavey may not be the biggest, strongest or fastest linebacker to ever play for the Cowboys but he will definitely be missed when he's gone. Enjoy the last four games of his playing career.

** And that goes for Calvin Barnett too.

** And Daytawion Lowe.

** And Shaun Lewis.

** Don't forget Kye Staley.

** How many of Clint Chelf's passes were batted down at the line of scrimmage or nearly intercepted by the Jayhawks? Too many. He's going to have to be better against Texas.

** Nice hustle play by Deion Imade and Miketavius Jones to chase down KU's JaCorey Shepherd on the 69-yard kickoff return early in the fourth quarter. With the Cowboys up 35-3, it would have been easy for Imade and Jones to have given up on the play but they chased down Shepherd and the Jayhawks had to eventually settle for a 29-yard field goal. Those are the type of plays that don't get much attention but make a huge difference when a team is hoping to win a Big 12 title.

** Cowboys punter Kip Smith is going to get another punt blocked before the end of the season. The Jayhawks came close several times on Saturday, and probably could have blocked one if they had really sold out to do so.

** Alabama head coach Nick Saban would not have been happy Saturday. Although attendance was 58,476 at Boone Pickens Stadium – the sixth-largest home crowd in OSU history – the stands were only about half full at the beginning of the fourth quarter. But who could blame the fans. It was a boring football game to watch.

** Did anyone else notice Chris Grishby was back in the starting lineup at right tackle? Unfortunately he only lasted one series before being replaced by junior college transfer Brandon Garrett, who didn't get back on the field until midway through the fourth quarter with the Cowboys leading 42-6.

** Am I the only one asking why all three starting linebackers (Lavey, Lewis and Ryan Simmons) and both starting safeties (Lowe and Lyndell Johnson, who started in place of the injured Shamiel Gary) were all on the field with eight minutes left in the game and the Cowboys leading 42-6? Any injury to any of those five would be disastrous at that time of the game, especially with a trip to Austin to face the Longhorns next week.

** It was a nice touch to recognize Barry Sanders and members of the 1988 OSU team on the 25th anniversary of one of the most memorable seasons in school history. Asking all of the former Cowboys who returned to Stillwater for the reunion to take the field at halftime was a nice gesture by OSU. Even nicer that the OSU fans gave the team a standing ovation.

** The count was 53 players from the '88 team showed up Saturday to be recognized. That's pretty impressive that more than half of the team would make the trip to Stillwater.

** Speaking of Sanders, I still recall the first time I met him. I was the OSU football beat writer for the new defunct Tulsa Tribune newspaper, and OSU sports information director Steve Buzzard asked Sanders to attend the Monday media gathering the week after he returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Tulsa during the 1987 season. Sanders snuck in a backdoor and was sitting all by himself in the back of the room, probably hoping no one would notice he was there and could slip out the same back door before Buzzard or anyone knew any better. I saw him and approached him for an interview. He was polite and answered the questions but it was easy to see right away that he wasn't comfortable around the media.

** Oh, one final thought, KU cornerback Dexter McDonald (No. 12) was just called again for pass interference against Marcell Ateman.


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