STILLWATER – At the end of the day, the 19th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys won easy as they used some of the implosion of the Southeastern Louisiana Lions with four fumbles all recovered by the Pokes.
However, at least three of those fumbles were forced, including the Cole Walterscheid strip early and then the play of the game as Devante Averette forced Lions quarterback D'Shaie Landor to cough up the ball with a classic strip and then chased the ball to the boundary. Averette realized he had to do something to keep the ball in bounds and he did. The impromptu save and pitch to teammate Ramon Richards was a spectacular play that accounted for the first score of the second half and Oklahoma State led at that point 38-7.
Catching up with the two players after the game in the locker room they discussed a play that I told them would be the topic of any future reunions of the 2016 Oklahoma State Cowboys. I can see those two old and gray, and as head coach Mike Gundy said Ramon with his gray dreadlocks when he's in his older years, laughing together over that creative play where they were in tune with each other.
"When I first initially got to it (the ball), I thought I had it, but then the second time I grabbed it I said, 'You can't go out of bounds, it can't go out of bounds,'" explained Averette as he was scrambling toward the sideline, really on top of the sideline to recover the loose ball. "I was leaning to the side when I grabbed it and I saw a little orange jersey and I knew they (teammates) were following up and I'm glad somebody grabbed it.
"Ramon's got some good hands," Averette added when asked if he was surprised who ended up with it. "I feel like I'm the best on the team with good hands, but he's had a few pick sixes, so he can handle the ball."
Richards said, "You want the truth or the boosted version? Truth is he made that play. It was all Devante Averette, he forced that fumble, tremendous effort that coach (Glenn) Spencer coaches, and he threw the ball, I just happened to be there, thank God. I got to finish the play off but 99 percent of that play was all Devante Averette."
Now, Richards did have to instinctively react.
"I visualize plays like that, I do," Richards said. "I know that you can make a play at any given moment and that play came to me, so yes, I had to react, but that is all I did. He put me in position."
Play-by-play Voice of the Cowboys Dave Hunziker joked it was an assist, and the funny coincidence is those two have played a lot of hoops together at the Colvin Center, and Richards is the shooter and Averette is more the assist man. It played out that way in the play of the game in the season opener on Saturday.