Nobody enjoyed when the weather blew into Stillwater and ACC referee Gary Patterson, yes that's his name, informed both teams to go to the locker rooms. Boone Pickens Stadium PA announcer Larry Reese announced that the fans evacuate the seating bowl at the stadium for a storm and lightning delay with 12:55 to go in the game and the score tied 38-38 between Oklahoma State and Pittsburgh. The delay allowed for some changes.
I cannot tell you what the Pitt Panthers did but I can tell you that Oklahoma State took full use of the opportunity. First, the players got off their feet and per instructions from Rob Glass and the strength and conditioning staff they laid down and propped their feet up. Get some freshness in the legs. Sports nutritionist Charles Hewitt and others worked on making sure players were hydrating and getting in some nutrition in the form of everything from bananas, energy bars, electrolytes, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
The coaching staffs all broke up and before the nearly two-hour delay was over, the special teams, primarily punt and kickoff teams, had met and gone over some adjustments to dealing with Pitt return specialist Quandree Henderson. The offense got up and went to the green room, a room with plenty of space and a tile floor that resembles the field design of the turf in the stadium, including end zone. The defense adjourned to the weight room where some space allowed them to walk thru some situations.
Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy said after the game that his team both needed and completely used the break. Oklahoma State has done this before as fans will no doubt remember the midnight kickoff in Tulsa after a nearly three-hour delay, and the double delay in Lawrence, Kansas in a hard fought win over the Jayhawks on a very stormy afternoon.
But this was different, the game was at home.
"It is funny that when we went out for the second half, they made some nice adjustments, Pitt did," Gundy said. "They, in my opinion, they got frustrated and just decided they were going to blitz because they were not going to change coverage. They found some good splits in the blitz and they hit us on them.
"There were a couple of times we got the ball off and converted but their halftime adjustments were better than ours. Our rain delay adjustments were better than theirs. It was interesting when they told me that we were going to shut it down for lightning. I was excited. I thought we needed a break.
"They had us, but when we came in our defense cleaned that up and we got the speed sweep plays fitted better," Gundy continued. "Then offensively, we had a good plan. We're just missing one block in the run game. One play it's the right guard and then it's the left tackle and then the next play everybody is blocked and they bring an extra man. That is just the thing that happens in run game with a team that is going to bring an extra man or two, if we had just got another block or two then we're gone.
"The rain delay helped us and we needed a break. If we had to do it on the sideline then I'm not so sure we get it all cleaned up fast enough. After what we went through last week, we deserved a break."
One thing is certain, Gundy has a history now of weather breaks and he is 3-0 when they happen. Next time Larry Reese clears the stadium because the officials call for a weather delay then understand, really home or away, the Cowboys have peanut better and jelly sandwiches and they have the knowledge and experience to put the delay in their favor.