Old man Lindsay ignites Cowboys

Sixth-year senior Gabe Lindsay may take a lot of ribbing by his teammates because of his age, but Saturday night, Lindsay proved that 'old men' can still play ball.


 
The hangover seemed to lingering. The Cowboys didn't appear to be punch drunk, except maybe quarterback Josh Fields, who while not sacked, was struck a few time including one late hit. Fields wobbled a couple of times during the game. In the fourth quarter the O-State offense was sluggish. They did come through on their first possession with a nine play, 57-yard drive that culminated with a 23-yard field goal by Luke Phillips, but the big play, triple threat, blitzkrieg attack wasn't present. That's when the old man on the team Gabe Lindsay did the equivalent of shock therapy for his teammates and the 44,158 mostly orange clad fans in the new identity home of the Cowboys, Boone Pickens Stadium.

The fireworks of the name change ceremony at halftime didn't compare to Gabe Lindsay's fielding of a late first quarter punt at the O-State 45-yard line. Lindsay used a big early block by Vernon Grant and made his way to the right sideline and cruised it as far as he could and then made a wide sweeping move across the field to dive into the northeat corner goal line to complete the 55-yard punt return for the touchdown. It was the Denver native's second punt return for a touchdown in his career. It was the second longest of his six-year Cowboy career. Thank goodness the NCAA granted Lindsay that sixth and extra year because that return was better than CPR for the Cowboys.

"That's what I do, I just try to play my role," said Lindsay when asked about his contributions. "Whenever I get the ball in my hands I just try to make a play."
 
"On special teams it was just a matter of time before we got into the endzone," said head coach Les Miles. "That was a goal that special teams had this week. Gabe wasn't going to be denied, it looked like he was going to get to about the 10-yard line then he makes a nice stop and start and fights his way into the endzone."

Lindsay's punt triggered an explosion of big plays as the Cowboys rolled up 594 yards of offense including 334-yards rushing. All this after having just one play over 20 yards last week in the 17-7 loss to Nebraska. Against Wyoming, the Cowboys had five 20-yard plus plays and a bunch of double-digit gainers.

After passing Hart Lee Dykes as Oklahoma State's all-time leading receiver in receiving yardage early in the game, All-American wide receiver Rashaun Woods ignited two scoring drives with receptions of 51 and 27-yards. The first one on a classic deep sideline route down the left sideline and the second on a fade with the offense coming off the two-yard-line. In all, Woods was back to Rashaun-like numbers catching eight passes for 152-yards.

"Now that Rashaun has made that mark he can concentrateon finishing the seasonas well as he can," said Miles. "He's gradually getting all of those milestones behind him. It was a really strong performance by Rashaun."

If Woods was catching them, then Fields had to be tossing them. Josh Fields coming off the worst game of his time as the Cowboys starting quarterback in Lincoln for 17-of-30, no interceptions, and 235-yards. He was definitely rebounded from lethargy.
 
Tailback Tatum Bell, who was another of the goats at Nebraska, was a ram this night, as in battering ram. Bell broke tackles all night long on his way to a career best 21 carries for 215 yards performance. Bell equaled his career high of three touchdowns as he burst through for runs of 7, 30, and 16-yards into the orange Astroplay turfed endzones of Boone Pickens Stadium.
 
"I just played calm, didn't try and do anything I couldn't do and just let the game come to me," said Bell of his efforts. "The o-line did a good job blocking and we tried to establish the running game that we couldn't do at Nebraska last week. I realize what I've go to follow. I've learned to watch the keys and then make my move when it is time."

Don't forget the defense. They were hungry enough to sack Wyoming quarterback Casey Bramlett five times for 41-yards in losses. Until relaxing with a 31-0 lead, the Cowboys held Wyoming to 91-yards most of the first half.

"Basically, we was just getting to the quarterback without any problem, from end to tackle from what ever position we were getting to him," said O-State defensive lineman Antonio Smith. "We had decided that number 14 (Casey Bramlett) was going to know us by our numbers and our names by the end of the night."

In the end it was Lindsay that lit the pilot light. Later in the second half, his 19-yard scamper on a wide receiver screen pushed the Cowboys on the way to their final touchdown of the night. Lindsay had five receptions for 43-yards. Those numbers, even when you add in the 70-yards he had in returns, are modest compared to the numbers of the triplets in the O-State offense, but it was Lindsay's first strike on special teams that changed the tempo for the Cowboys. Depending of whether that tempo keeps up, Lindsay's punt return may go down as the first strike of a special season in Stillwater.   
 
 
Game Notes
One Record But Not Another
All American wide receiver Rashaun Woods did get the Oklahoma State all-time receiving yardage mark moving past Hart Lee Dykes (3,172) with 3,246-yards, but he still is three touchdowns shy of breaking Dykes record for receiving touchdowns. That record stands at 29 touchdowns. In fact, for the first time in seven games Woods did not have a touchdown reception.
 
A Package Adjustment
Gabe Lindsay's punt return seemed to ignite the Oklahoma State offense, but credit the Oklahoma State coaches too. Fans felt they didn't make enough adjustments or at least the right adjustments at Nebraska. Late in the first quarter the offensive coaches shifted to a different package in their passing game that seemed to free up Josh Fields to gain more time in protection and a lot more success in throwing the football. The package of plays called for Fields to roll out and came with complimentary routes by the receivers.
 
Who Says Cowboys Don't Cheer For Sooners
Yes, it seemed strange to me, but when public address announcer Larry Reese announced the partial score of Oklahoma 10 and Alabama 3 the crowd at Boone Pickens Stadium sounded as if they cheered that their rival was leading. Could it be the change in the name of the stadium? The real question is what was the reaction of Boone Pickens up in the press box. My guess is he wasn't cheering.
 
Lots Of Yards
The 594 yards of total offense by the Cowboys against Wyoming represents the most yards gained by an Oklahoma State offense since the 605-yards against Louisiana-Lafayette on November 14, 1998.
 
Good Bye Streak
Rashaun Woods streak of touchdown receptions ended at six-games, so it only makes sense that quarterback Josh Fields had his streak of touchdown passes come to a close. Fields had thrown a touchdown pass in 16 straight games.
 
Recruiting Vistors
The list of 26 prospects at the Wyoming game was headed by four players that have already given a pledge to the Cowboys. Tulsa Union's standout defensive end Nathan Peterson, who had a big time performance in Union's opening win over Broken Arrow, was on hand. Peterson committed this summer as did Ponca City tight end Justin Waller. Girard, Kan., athlete Seth Newton is commited to OSU as is Shawnee tight end and defensive tackle Walter Boyd. Boyd is a 6-4, 300 pounder that runs a 5.1 in the forty. Other standout names on hand included Edmond Memoriial wide receiver Anthony Anderson, Tulsa Berryhill lineman Michael Cowen, big offensive tackle Kellen Green of Willard, Mo., were also at the game. Tyler Lee standout defensive back Martell Van Zandt, who is favoring the Cowboys, was also there. Van Zandt is totally deaf, but is a heckuva football player. Van Zandt was accompanied by his mother and an interpreter. It was also interesting that sensational junior Reggie Smith out of Edmond Santa Fe was there. Smith will be the top prospect in Oklahoma next year. Smith had a touchdown run and an interception in Santa Fe's big opening win over rival Edmond Memorial.

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