Scouting out the Huskers

Take a look at the official game notes and releases from Oklahoma State University and the University of Nebraska.


This information provided by the Oklahoma State University Athletic Department

*look below for offficial release from the University of Nebraska*

No. 24 Oklahoma State [0-0, 0-0 Big 12]
Nebraska [0-0, 0-0 Big 12]

Saturday, August 30, 2003 ? 2:30 p.m. [CST]
Memorial Stadium [73,918] ? Lincoln, Neb.
TV - ABC ? radio - Cowboy Radio Network
internet broadcast -


Cowboys Travel to Nebraska for 2003 Opener
Oklahoma State heads north for its 2003 season opener as the Cowboys travel to Lincoln for a date with Nebraska. Kickoff at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is set for 2:30 p.m. (CDT), in a game that will be televised nationally on ABC. It's the fourth straight year the Cowboys have opened away from home and the second time since 1995 O-State has opened against the Cornhuskers.

The 102nd Opener
Saturday's game between Oklahoma State and Nebraska will mark the beginning of the 102nd season of Oklahoma State football. It will be the third season opener in the head coaching career of Les Miles, and will be the first time OSU has ever opened a season in the state of Nebraska. Oklahoma State is 58-38-5 all-time in season openers and has won four of the last six times it has opened a season on the road. The Cowboys will, however, be trying to snap a two-game opening day losing streak. The Pokes lost at Southern Miss, 17-9, in 2001 and at Shreveport against Louisiana Tech, 39-36, in 2002.

OSU-Nebraska on TV/Radio
Saturday's season opener at Lincoln will be broadcast to a national television audience by ABC. It's the second time in three years an OSU opener has been nationally televised (the 2001 opener at Southern MIss was on ESPN), but the first time ever the Cowboys have appeared in a national telecast on ABC in a season opener. The on-air talent for Saturday's game in Lincoln will be Brad Nessler, Bob Griese and Lynn Swann. It will be OSU's 18th all-time appearance on ABC, and the first since Sept. 30, 2000, when the network televised the Cowboys' game at Texas. Saturday's game will also be broadcast live on the Cowboy Radio Network with Dave Hunziker, Tom Dirato and Robert Allen describing the action.

Lots of Orange
Oklahoma State fans will roll into Lincoln by the thousands for the season opener. The Athletic Ticket Office reports that all 4,000 tickets allotted to Cowboy fans have been sold. OSU has also sold its entire allotment of tickets for the Nov. 1 game against Oklahoma at Norman.

August Openers
Oklahoma State had never opened a football season in August until 1995, but it has now become almost commonplace. The 2003 opener on Aug. 30 marks the fifth time since 1995 the Cowboys have played a regular season game before Sept. 1. By the way, OSU is 2-2 in August openers, defeating Southwest Missouri State in ?96 and Iowa State in ?97 while losing to Nebraska in ?95 and Louisiana Tech in ?02.

Season Opener, Conference Opener
Saturday's game at Nebraska is not only the season opener for the Cowboys, it is also the Big 12 opener for both teams. It's just the fifth time since 1961 the Cowboys have opened their schedule against a conference opponent. OSU opened the ?61 season at Iowa State (both members of the Big Eight Conference), and didn't open with a league game again until 1995 when Nebraska came to Stillwater. The Pokes opened the ?97 season at Iowa State and the ?98 season at Kansas. OSU is 2-0 in season openers on the road against Big 12 opposition.

Going in on a Roll
Oklahoma State goes into the 2003 season with nearly unprecedented momentum. OSU finished the 2002 season one of the hottest teams in college football, and that strong finish has certainly driven preseason attention in 2003. The Cowboys head into the new year after winning the final four games of the 2002 season and six of the last seven a year ago. The last time Oklahoma State finished a season that strongly was 1988 when the Cowboys fashioned an identical 6-1 mark over the final seven games.

The Rankings
Oklahoma State will go into Saturday's opener against Nebraska ranked No. 24 in both major Top 25 polls. The Cowboys finished just out of the polls at the end of last year after fashioning an 8-5 record and winning the Houston Bowl. It is the first time since 1985 the Cowboys have gone into a season opener ranked in one of the major polls. OSU was a regular in the polls in 1997, climbing as high as 12th in late October. The Pokes appeared in the polls seven straight weeks in 1997. OSU's most consistent string of poll appearances in recent history was 1987 and 1988 when the Cowboys were ranked 19 of 21 weeks, and 1984 and ?85 when the Cowboys were ranked 23 straight weeks.

More Poll Numbers
Since 1972, Oklahoma State has found itself in the national rankings 69 weeks. Since 1945, the Cowboys have finished the season ranked in a major poll eight times. The Cowboys were fifth in 1945 (AP), 19th in 1958 (AP), 14th in 1976 (AP), 18th in 1983 (UPI), 7th in 1984 (AP), 11th in 1987 (AP), 11th in 1988 (AP) and 24th in 1997 (USA Today/ESPN).

What's New in 2003?
The simple answer is not a whole lot. Oklahoma State's coaching staff returns intact from 2002. In fact, in the first three years of the Les Miles era at OSU, there have been only three changes among the full-time members of his coaching staff. The Cowboys do have a new strength and conditioning coordinator. Gary Calcagno took over those duties on an interim basis during the summer. The Cowboys will wear the same basic uniform as last year with orange jerseys and white pants at home and white jerseys and white pants on the road.

Opening Day Notes
While this is the first time Oklahoma State has ever opened a season at Nebraska, it is the second time the Cowboys have opened with the Cornhuskers. Nebraska came to Stillwater in the 1995 season opener, and the second-ranked Huskers won going away in Bob Simmons' first game as OSU's head coach ... Recent history may provide a positive omen for the Cowboys. Each of OSU's last five head coaches who had three or more seasons in Stillwater won the season opener in their third season. Floyd Gass, Jim Stanley, Jimmy Johnson, Pat Jones and Bob Simmons each opened their third OSU seasons with victories ... The most points OSU has ever scored in a season opener was an amazing 134 in 1914 against Phillips. The most an opening day opponent has ever scored on the Cowboys came in ?95 when Nebraska put 64 on the Lewis Field scoreboard ... Oklahoma State has posted 17 opening day shutouts, the last coming in 1975 when the Cowboys blanked Wichita State, 34-0 ... OSU and its opening-day opponents have played to three scoreless ties ... Oklahoma State's 2004 season opener is scheduled to be in Los Angeles against UCLA.

They're Back
No fewer than eight starters return from OSU's Houston Bowl championship team of 2002, including three of the most exciting offensive players in the country. All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate Rashaun Woods tops the list of offensive returners. Woods returns for his senior season owning nearly every receiving record in OSU and Big 12 history. He should quickly become the all-time leading receiver at OSU, eclipsing Hart Lee Dykes' career numbers. Quarterback Josh Fields, who became the first OSU quarterback to pass for 3,000 or more yards, is also back, and tailback Tatum Bell, who registered a 1,000-yard rushing season in 2002, returns to anchor the backfield. Across the front, the Cowboys appear veteran and solid. Sam Mayes, Ben Buie and Chris Akin return to their starting spots, while Matt Hardison and Kellen Davis join Doug Koenig, Corey Curtis, Kurt Seifried, Corey Hilliard and Caleb Noble to give the Cowboys depth and talent. Billy Bajema and Charlie Johnson return to give the Cowboys a talented one-two punch at tight end, and the rest of the receiving corps looks solid with D'Juan Woods, Kenneth Williams, Gabe Lindsay and Errick McCown.

Rashaun Woods ... Simply the Best
The best wide receiver in college football returns to Oklahoma State for his senior season. Rashaun Woods established virtually every OSU receiving record a year ago, and the two main records he doesn't have should fall in his lap early in 2003. Rashaun's 2002 numbers were incredible. In 13 games, he caught 107 passes for 1,695 yards and 17 touchdowns. He averaged 15.8 yards per catch, 130.4 yards per game and 8.2 receptions per game. He holds OSU records for season receiving yards (1,695), season receptions (107), career receptions (216) and game receiving yards (226). He needs three touchdowns to move past Hart Lee Dykes' current career mark of 29, and needs 126 yards to become OSU's all-time leading receiver, moving past Dykes' career mark of 3,171.

Honors and More Honors
After the 2002 season, Rashaun Woods became Oklahoma State's first consensus All-American since Alonzo Mayes in 1997. Heading into the 2003 season, Woods has been recognized on most preseason All-America teams, is on most Heisman watch list, and should be considered a favorite for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the nation's top collegiate receiver. Just this week, ESPN the Magazine listed Rashaun Woods fourth on their list of top 100 players in the country. Coming off a season in which he was named All-America by Walter Camp, Football News, Sporting News and CNN/SI, the sky could be the limit for Rashaun Woods in 2003. There is a complete rundown of Woods' OSU career elsewhere in this release.

Fields on Record Setting Pace
Junior quarterback Josh Fields is entering his second season as Oklahoma State's starting signal caller, and is on a pace that could put him at the top of most OSU passing records. A year ago, Fields put together the most impressive season ever by a Cowboy quarterback. In 13 games, Fields completed 226-of-408 passing attempts for 3,145 yards and 31 touchdowns. He completed 55.4 percent of his passes while averaging 241.9 yards per game. He's the top returning quarterback in the Big 12, and his touchdown percentage last year (7.6) was second nationally to Iowa's Brad Banks (8.8).

Fields in the Record Book
Going into his junior season, Josh Fields already owns the OSU record for single season passing, and has taken aim at the all-time career passing leaders at OSU. His 3,145 yards a year ago was 942 yards more than the previous record of 2,203 yards owned by his current position coach Mike Gundy. Going into the season opener at Nebraska, Fields is sixth on the all-time passing list, 4,401 yards behind Gundy, the career leader. He's only 1,216 yards behind No. 2 Ton? Jones, 406 yards behind No. 3 Tony Lindsay, 77 yards behind No. 4 Aso Pogi and 44 yards behind No. 5 Rusty Hilger.

Hot Down the Stretch
While Fields' entire season was phenomenal, his last four games were extraordinary. In season-ending victories over Kansas, Baylor, Oklahoma and Southern Miss, Fields completed 66-of-110 passes for 1,264 yards and 16 touchdowns. During that four-game stretch, he threw just one interception. That's a four-game average of 316 yards per game, and a 60 percent completion ratio.

Bell Looks for Another Banner Year
Tailback Tatum Bell used the 2002 season to emerge as one of the top tailbacks in the Big 12 Conference. He became OSU's first 1,000-yard rusher since David Thompson in 1996. Bell's 1,096 yards a year ago represented the 10th-best single-season rushing effort in OSU history, and moved him into the all-time top-10 among OSU rushers. He will go into the 2003 season with 2,123 career yards and ranked 10th on that list. He needs 1,406 yards in 2003 to move into the top five.

As a Team
With the key components all returning, Oklahoma State will look to match or improve on 2002 numbers that ranked among all-time bests. Oklahoma State's 2002 offense set a school record for passing, averaging 262.6 yards per game. The Cowboys' total offense average of 411.1 was the fourth-best average in school history.

Cowboys Return Talent and Depth
While a lot of preseason talk has focused on how Oklahoma State will replace departed starters Kevin Williams and LaWaylon Brown, the Cowboys defense has gone about their business in preseason camp with a definite purpose. OSU's defense has talent and depth at every position, and should be better across the board in 2003. Returning defensive starters include Greg Richmond, Antonio Smith and Khreem Smith at the ends, Paul Duren and Lawrence Pinson at linebacker and Darrent Williams, Elbert Craig and Vernon Grant in the secondary.

Duren, Craig Return as Top Two Tacklers
Oklahoma State's top two tacklers from 2002 return for the 2003 season. Linebacker Paul Duren led the team a year ago with 84 total tackles. Of his 84 tackles, 52 were unassisted. Duren was especially strong in late-season games against Baylor and Oklahoma. In OSU's win over Baylor, Duren had a season-high 12 tackles. He followed that with an 11 tackle performance in OSU's 38-28 win over Oklahoma. Craig was OSU's second-leading tackler with 83 total, 54 of which were solo stops. Craig had double-digit tackles performances against UCLA (11) and Nebraska (10).

Craig Moving up Tackle List
Senior defensive back Elbert Craig will go into the 2003 season ranked 19th on Oklahoma State's career tackle list, and very much in range of loftier numbers. His career total of 262 tackles leaves him four short of Harry Cheatwood and Jason Gildon's career totals of 266 and five short of Kenyatta Wright's career total of 267. Elbert's career has been one of consistency. He registered 82 tackles in 2000, 98 in 2001 and 83 in 2002. In his OSU career, Craig has registered seven tackles for loss, two sacks and six interceptions.

Farden Emerges as Force on Special Teams
After taking over the punting duties last season, Cole Farden helped the Cowboys win the field position battle in several crucial situations. After serving solely as the squad's kickoff specialist as a freshman in 2001, the Grapevine, Texas, native assumed the punting duties last season and finished the year with a 41.4 yards per punt average. Of his 57 punts, 13 were downed inside the 20-yard line and six more were fair caught. Farden provided even fewer return opportunities on his kickoffs, producing touchbacks on 60 percent (43-of-72) of his attempts.

Phillips Takes Aim at Cowboy Scoring Leaders
In just two seasons of action, kicker Luke Phillips has vaulted up the OSU career scoring chart, entering his senior season ranked No. 12 on the school's all-time list. The Tulsa, Okla., native's 160 career points are two behind David Thompson and 20 behind Hart Lee Dykes for the No. 10 spot on the list. Phillips' numbers have been bolstered by his nearly flawless work on point-after attempts. The 2002 Houston Bowl Special Teams MVP has converted 82 of his 83 attempts during his career to stand atop the school's all-time chart with a .987 success rate.

Young, Experienced Duo to Patrol Cowboy Secondary
OSU will enter the 2003 season with a talented duo of cornerbacks that possess a unique blend of youth and experience. Junior Darrent Williams and sophomore Vernon Grant will factor heavily into the Cowboys' rotation again this season. Williams has made the most of his five career interceptions, returning three for touchdowns. Last season, the Ft. Worth, Texas, native started all 13 games, recording 53 tackles to go along with team bests in interceptions (three) and pass breakups (16). Grant came on strong during the second half of the 2002 season, closing out the year with seven consecutive starts and making his mark against Texas A&M with his lone interception with time winding down to preserve the victory. The Duncanville, Texas, native recorded five pass breakups and 62 tackles during his inaugural season in Stillwater.

Richmond Leads by Example
Senior defensive end Greg Richmond is OSU's 2003 defensive captain and came by that honor the old fashioned way ? he earned it. He turned in an exceptional season a year ago, logging 55 tackles and sharing the team lead with seven tackles for losses. He was named honorable mention All-Big 12 a year ago and should be considered for postseason honors in 2003. He was a leader all summer in off-season conditioning workouts, and appears poised for his best OSU season.


OSU game notes vs. Nebraska in PDF format. OSU game notes vs. Nebraska in PDF format.
Oklahoma State depth chart vs. Nebraska in PDF format.

Oklahoma State depth chart vs. Nebraska in PDF format.

The University of Nebraska official release

IMAGE Release vs. OSU in PDF Format



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