Let's face it there were a lot of heroes on Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium. But how about Kye Staley?
The gray bearded fullback that came to Oklahoma State a fleet running back out of Guthrie (Okla.) High School only to have a devastating knee injury that included nerve damage put his career on hold and threaten to end football for him all together.
"I've been patient and had to be," Staley said while basking in the glow of actually carrying the football instead of blocking for the players carrying it. "I went to rehab with a smile on my face and a positive attitude. I wasn't going to let the injury destroy me and I kept working, kept pushing to make it back."
Staley could have been talking about the serious knee injury that had him crumpled in the west end zone in August of 2009. Instead he was talking about the injuries he was battling early this season in fall camp.
"We were going to use Kye more but he was hurt all of August," head coach Mike Gundy explained. "I don't know what injury, he's had so many. We tell him that with all his injuries he should donate his body to science."
Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich had seen Staley on tape and noticed that he did a great job catching passes during the 2012 season, averaging 15 yards a reception. Yurcich wanted to throw to Staley, but also thought he could be a useful ball carrier.
"I'll do whatever I'm asked to do to help the team, but yes it was fun carrying the ball and I do still have some moves," Staley said. "I'm really glad I could do this. I wanted to be available in August and I knew coach Yurcich wanted me to do some of this, but again, that is where I had to be patient."
Staley showed some side-stepping moves and he was definitely a hammer, which is what senior Parker Graham and the offensive line consider him. He finished with seven carries for 25 yards and two touchdowns.
Consider Staley a microcosm of this team. He has worked hard, dealt with plenty of adversity and stayed the course. He is a model for the Cowboys to model themselves after. Staley is as close to being on top of the world as it gets and his team is right there with him.
That same perseverance that Kye has shown the last four years since his injury has served the Cowboys well since their only loss earlier this season at West Virginia. The rehab wasn't easy for both Staley and the Cowboys but the reward us certainly worth it.
Kye Staley and his teammates are one win away from earning a second Big 12 Championship. I really don't think they are going to waste the opportunity. That's not the way Kye Staley rolls.