Gundy, Petersen Have Mutual Admiration

As John Smith's Oklahoma State Cowboys wrestling team was hammering out a 25-11 Bedlam wrestling victory Sunday afternoon, Cowobys head football coach Mike Gundy, his wife Kristen, his two youngest sons Gunnar and Gage, and Kristen's parents watched on the front row. However, Gundy kept having to step outside in the Gallagher-Iba Arena lobby to talk on the phone.

One would presume that Gundy, who guided his Cowboys to a sensational 38-35 overtime comeback victory in the Bedlam series in football on Saturday, was getting updates on the Cowboys bowl destination.

It ends up with the Cowboys going west to the Phoenix area to play the Washington Huskies (8-5/4-5) in the 2015 Cactus Bowl on Friday, Jan. 2, at 7:15 (CST) in Sun Devils Stadium in Tempe.

"To play a quality program and a good opponent like Oklahoma State is a bonus."

"We're very excited to be in the (Cactus) Bowl and to be heading out to Tempe," Gundy said in a conference call Sunday evening arranged by the Cactus Bowl. "We're up for a great challenge with Washington and Coach (Chris) Petersen. I've visited with him before when he stopped by Stillwater a few years ago. I have always had respect for him and respect for Washington."

"Like Coach Gundy, we're thrilled to be coming out to Arizona and this time of year to be going out to beautiful Arizona is what everybody would be hoping for," Petersen said. "To play a quality program and a good opponent like Oklahoma State is a bonus. Everybody hopes to have a quality match-up and we're excited to play Oklahoma State. We haven't had a chance to talk to our players yet as they are kind of meandering in but everybody is excited."

The Cowboys finished 6-6 and qualified for a bowl game in that last regular season game and satisfying win over rival Oklahoma. The comeback featured a cool performance by freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph and an electrifying 92-yard punt return to tie the game by Big 12 indoor 200 meter sprint champion Tyreek "Cheetah" Hill.

Washington, like Oklahoma State, has dealt with adversity this season, losing starting quarterback Keith Price in the win over Oregon State. Cyler Miles, a sophomore, highly recruited out of Centennial, Colo., started the Apple Cup game with Washington State and helped the Huskies to a 31-13 win over the Mike Leach-coached opponent. The Huskies also have a player Oklahoma State recruited hard in receiver and return specialist Jaydon Mickens out of Los Angeles.

"I thought the last month of the season that our guys started playing a lot better and got dialed into what we were wanting to do," Petersen said. "I think playing rival in cold Pullman, Washington and playing well in tough conditions gave us some good momentum and we were proud of them. I think our quarterback Cyler Miles has shown improvement over the past few weeks and hang in the pocket and set his feet and throw the ball the way we think he can."

The two coaches do know each other as previously mentioned. Petersen did a little professional development trip to Stillwater a few years ago in the spring.

"I sure did," he said. "As a coach you are always keeping your eyes and ears open to who is doing really good things. A couple of years ago I had the chance to slide out there and talk to him and watch them practice. I was interested and thankful that he let me slide by."

"I've been able to follow Coach Petersen and he's been on the West Coast and so many of his games were late at night and they played a lot of Thursday (Friday) games and I would always run the TV back and write down plays," Gundy said.

"I always keep a Big Chief notepad and crayons by my chair late at night and would write down certain plays. We're really excited and we all look for good matchups and it's good when you play a first-class program and the players can enjoy the competition of the game."

The Cowboys will take this week off and then adopt a schedule that will allow their players to prepare but also get some time home for the holidays before traveling to Arizona approximately a week prior to the game to prepare for Washington.

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