"We felt that Tyreek Hill is obviously a special player, and you know, for the most part for the whole day, we had chose the sky kick," Bowen explained to the media after the game. "At that point in time, earlier, the one that was one of the worst plays in the game where we get the off-side on a touch back safety situation, we felt that Pardula could get it in there. He's a special kicker. He's a really good kicker and probably didn't get his best shot on that one. Tyreek, he got it, and that's what it was."
OSU head coach Mike Gundy said, "Of course, when Tyreek gets into the open field, it’s very difficult to catch him. That’s where we’re at. We have a long ways to go, but at least we’re leaving here with a win."
That is where the Cowboys are at. They know they absolutely need special teams to subsidize an anemic offense in order to string together enough points to escape Big 12 towns with a win. The towns on the itinerary ahead -- Fort Worth, Manhattan, Waco, and Norman, not to mention returns hime to welcome West Virginia and Texas -- are all more difficult than what they have seen so far including Saturday in Lawrence.
Here is your sobering thought of the day. Oklahoma State is 3-0 in the Big 12 against three teams that are a combined 0-9 in the Big 12. Now, the alternative is that you didn't win all three of those games, so no losses yet, literally. However, plotting wins the rest of the way is not easy if the level of play doesn't improve on offense.
The Cowboys defense is strong and will do its share and special teams have rounded into form at a perfect time. Kip Smith punted for a 44.3 yard average on Saturday, and the Cowboys net was 41.3 yards per punt. Kickoffs were strong too.
Ben Grogan reached 11 field goals in a row before a miss and then coming back with a made field goal. He is now 14-of-18 on the season. The cover units, which are made up almost exclusively of freshmen and veteran walk-ons, are playing well.
Then there is Hill, who his teammates loves to block for.
"We were just ready for them to kick one deep and we didn't know if they would because Tyreek returned one last week. But when they did we knew we had to make them pay for it," said Trace Clark, blocker for Hill on the return. "I got on my block and held it for a split second and I knew that was all he needed."
The problem going forward is that few teams, if any, will kick it to Hill. TCU is up next, followed by West Virginia, Texas, Baylor, and Oklahoma. All are double digit in touchbacks.
It will be interesting if they chance the fact a kickoff may hang up and Hill will run it out of the end zone. The chances that he will see many more opportunities are slim. That will allow for some great field position with kicks out of bounds and the kind of sky or pooch kicks that Kansas used before tempting fate and losing.
With Hill's returns or not, special teams sure looks like a contributor during the upcoming gauntlet of games for the Cowboys.