'Defending' champions

Ironically, in a game that had a combined 1334 yards of total offense, the OSU defense was the true prince of the game. With five sacks credited to the D-line and a flying Jon Holland nabbing an INT to snuff out the Red Raider comeback in the fourth quarter, the OSU defense championed on...

After nearly four and half hours of football that included 100 points on the dot and 1,334-yards of offense, it was almost comical that the game would finally be clinched by a defensive play. Before you start thinking about that final interception by Jon Holland that had Oklahoma State rolling around all over the field and their bench area and Les Miles slapping his quarterback Josh Fields so hard on the rump it must have hurt -- what about the play before it? With a slight apology to Holland on the play before, Cowboy defensive end Antonio "Scooby" Smith, again turned defensive tackle this week, fought off a Texas Tech offensive lineman to burst through and chase Red Raiders' quarterback B.J. Symons some 30 yards downfield. The officials marked it as a 15-yard sack from the O-State 45 to the Texas Tech 40, but it was enough to throw Symons into a desparation situation and lead to the clinching interception. How about a little credit for the big guys?

"Ultimately, our defense comes out there in the end and Antonio gets the great sack, Jon Holland gets the interception, and then it was victory formation and that is what we want to do," said head coach Les Miles.

There were so many heroes on both sides in this game. The Cowboys Tatum Bell rushes for 238-yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries. Wide receiver Rashaun Woods caught six passes for 147 yards, and together the Woods recievers had 217-yards receiving with redshirt freshman D'Juan Woods catching three passes for 70 yards. Quarterback Josh Fields hit on 18-of-29 passing for 320 yards and a touchdown, and he had 31 yards rushing. Gabe Lindsay caught a big pass and took a big lick on it. Seymore Shaw had 74 yards rushing including a 53-yard touchdown. Tight end Charlie Johnson caught a touchdown pass, and true freshman Tommy Devereaux scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 14-yard reverse. Luke Phillips kicked three field goals. All worthy heroes, but none of them would have had their highlights without the big men in the trenches.

The game lasted four hours and 20 minutes. Now think of trying to block and and fight off blocks for that long. Without the adrenaline from the joy of winning in the final seconds, those linemen on both sides of the ball for the Cowboys may have had to be loaded up and carted back to the locker room. 

"Man, that was a long game," said offensive right guard Sam Mayes. "In the third quarter Corey Hilliard looked at me and said,'Can you believe we have another whole quarter to play?'"

Mayes and his crew that included center Ben Buie, left guards Chris Akin and Corey Curtis, left tackle Doug Koenig, and freshman right tackle Corey Hilliard did excellent work in blocking for 352 yards rushing and 321 yards passing. The first thing Bell did after the game was give the big guys a lot of credit for his efforts.

"I want to give all the credit to the offensive line," said Bell of his 238 yards, three touchdowns, and 8.5 yards per carry average. "They opened up some huge holes and it was easy at times with the job they were doing."

The holes were blown wide open on numerous ocassions. It was a proud afternoon to be an offensive linemen.

"We did a pretty good job of pushing them around," said center Ben Buie. "They were playing hard, but I really think we had an advantage up front, which is what made that goal line situation late in the game so frustrating. That is one we would like to have back to do over again," added Buie of a fourth quarter goal line stand staged by Texas Tech.

"Call the right plays, get the right blocks, and a hold here or two and see what happens," joked Mayes of exploding the big run plays in the game. "It's just football, men out there beating each other up, and see who wins," 

Late in the game when Sam Mayes went down temporarily after being shaken up, head athletic trainer Terry Noonan joked that he told Mayes there was no way he was helping him off the field, all 350 pounds of him.  

"I just got shaken up," said Mayes. "They ran about four or five guys at the middle of our field goal formation and it seemed like they all landed on me. At that point, I had played so long that I wasn't going to give in until this thing was over."

Buie got his ticket to the sideline for a couple of plays in the first quarter.

"I lost my helmet and then got kneed in the back of the head," said Buie. "I was in la-la land for a minute, but I just needed to shake things up a little bit and then I was back at it."

The holes were huge, but so were the rewards. Nobody took more pride in this win than the offensive line. There was even a new gizmo waiting on the sidelines for the linemen to help them revive. It's called a chiller cap. The liquid filled head hugging cap is really cold and seemed to cool down Mayes and Hilliard just fine.

"That thing really cools you down fast," said Mayes. "It really feels good."

Buie said of Mayes chiller cap habit: "I told Sam it was 70 degrees or so during the game, and that he didn't need that chiller cap, but heck, if the big guy wants it, so be it."

The biggest reward was the 51-49 win over the Red Raiders, but that win wouldn't have come without the aid of one huge sack near the end, along with the season-high five sacks the Cowboys pinned on Texas Tech. Going into the game the Red Raiders had been sacked only 12 times in six games. Each of the OSU sacks were huge as three in the third quarter caused Texas Tech to turn over the ball on downs. Imagine if they had scored there, the Cowboys would have really been in bad shape at the end. Two of the sacks belonged to veteran defensive end Greg Richmond. Richmond was so charged after the sack on fourth down that he ran off the field over to the edge of the OSU bench and celebrated with the fans in the lower seats in Boone Pickens Stadium.

"At the right time our coaches called a great play for us," said Richmond. "It was for the ends to get downfield and be athletic, and that's what we did and fortunately I was able to get the sack, but I know Antonio and Khreem (Smithe) were coming off the other side and could have gotten it too. It was an enotional play, an emotional game, and had to let a little out there with the folks."

It took all of the O-State defensive linemen to battle as TTU attmpted 67 passes, and if you count the sacks and scrambles the Cowboys were chasing B.J.Symons close to 80 times. It was far from easy, said Antonio Smith.

"Today was the toughest, roughest day I have ever had playing football," said Smith. "Being inside is no joke on the defensive line."

Smith's sack at the end of the game was huge, one of the most important sacks by a Cowboy defender in sometime, at least going back to some of Kevin Williams' sacks from last season.

"Coach just called the play for us to get up the field, and they gave us one on one blocking, which is something they really didn't do much of during the game," said Smith. "I beat him and the sack."

There is no rest for the weary as Reggie McNeal will be a challenge to chase around next Saturday at Texas A&M. The wrecking crew defense at Texas A&M hasn't been doing much demolition lately, but Tatum Bell, Seymore Shaw, Josh Fields, and the rest of the Cowboy offense will look forward to Mayes and company being ready to do it all again next Saturday. They say an Army travels on its stomach. Thank goodness so does Oklahoma State with all of the big guys inside.

OSU-Texas Tech Game Notes

Bowls On Hand
The Cowboys moved up their timetable of becoming bowl-eligible by a whopping four weeks. Last season O-State became bowl eligible in the 11th week of the season with a win over Baylor, this year, qualifying for a bowl comes in the seventh week of the season. There were several bowls on hand to see the Cowboys qualify as representatives of the Mainstay Independence Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Tangerine Bowl and Cotton Bowl were at Boone Pickens Stadium for the marathon win over Texas Tech.

Former OSU athletic department employee Pesky Hill, now with the Mainstay Independence Bowl admitted that his bowl may not be in line for the Cowboys because their record should put them in a higher bowl, but he did say the way the OSU fans have traveled to bowl game, like Houston last year, puts OSU as a very popular team with the bowls.

Record Day
It was a record day starting with the 1,334 yards of combined offense being the most in any game involving the Cowboys. The previous high was 1,181 yards of offense in a win over Kansas in 1988. The 51 points scored against Texas Tech represented a high for the Cowboys against the Red Raiders. The previous high was 46 points in 1945. The 673 yards of offense by O-State was the fourth most in school history. Oklahoma State's 10-straight wins at home is the second best in school history, and when the Cowboys host Texas on November 8, they will be looking to tie the all-time mark of 11 straight that last happened during the 1911-13 seasons. 

Individually, Tatum Bell's 95-yard touchdown run is the third longest in OSU history and the ties for the second longest in Big 12 history. Bell's 238 yards rushing was a career high and helped move him to sixth place on the all-time OSU career rushing list with 3,008-yards. He is seventh on the career Big 12 rushing list. Josh Fields' 320 yards of passing moved him past Tone' Jones into second place on the career list with 5,004-yards. He is now chasing his offensive coordinator Mike Gundy, who had 7,997-yards during his tenure as a Cowboy in the 80s. Defensive end Greg Richmond's two sacks moves him to 18 in his career and into fourth place on the all-time OSU sack chart.

A Couple of Firsts
True freshman wide receiver Tommy Devereaux scored his first collegiate touchdown on the 14-yard reverse.
Junior wide receiver Chay Nease recorded his first career catch with a seven-yard reception.

Big Day For Visiting Recruits
By our count there were 37 recruiting prospects that attended the game on Saturday and watched the Cowboys beat the Red Raiders. After seeing most of the Cowboys committed players last week, the only committed player that was there was Ponca City tight end/defensive end Justin Waller. Waller was fresh off a great night blocking in a win over Edmond Memorial. 

There was one player there on an official visit as Lovejoy, Georgia fullback/linebacker Keith Boykins was present with his father. Boykins is a 6-0, 230-pounder that looks like a heckuva a fullback prospect.

Two Texas Top 300 players were there in shifty Colleyville Heritage running back Tyler Henley and Southlake Carroll linebacker Ben Hixson. Henley is 5-11, 200 pounds, with 4.5 speed and Hixson is 6-2, 215 pounds, with 4.7 speed. 

Other highlight players included Millwood defensive tackle Major Connelly; St. Joseph, Mo (Bishop LeBlond), tight end/defensive end Matthew Holley; Ardmore wide receiver Zelto Anderson, DeSoto, Texas, defensive end Dion Thompson; DeSoto, Texas, cornerback Brian Jackson; and also from DeSoto, Tatum Bell's younger brother Tony, who is just a junior. Others that stood out included Enid linebacker Jeremiah Burton; Burkburnett, Texas, quarterback Casey Copeland; and Baton Rouge, La (University), offensive lineman Ben Harris. 

$1000 Dollars Worth Of Punt, Pass, and Kick
Bobby Gamble drilled an 11-yard field goal through the uprights during the break between the third and fourth quarters to win the Carl's Jr. $1000 Punt, Pass,and Kick contest. Gamble really put himself in position with a long heave down to the one-yard-line before teeing it up and nailing the kick. There was though of having to delay play on the field as Gamble, rightfully so, danced in the endzone on the west end for a couple of minutes.


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