STILLWATER -- Oklahoma State kicker Luke Phillips came into the game with Texas with a special feeling. Phillips felt like he was going to have a chance to win the game. The senior kicker out of Tulsa Metro Christian warmed up like he was going to have to kick the game winner in the final seconds. The game didn't follow Phillips' line of thinking, but Phillips did have a say in the game, a big say in the first half.
The Cowboy offense moved the ball down the field on the opening possession. Josh Fields opened the game hitting Rashaun Woods on a couple of slant routes for first downs. Tatum Bell had a couple of productive runs that contributed, unfortunately, the drive stalled at the Texas 35-yard-line. Phillips ran out and nailed the 52-yarder, but it was actually 52 and a half.
"Texas has a great special teams and they've been bringing a jumper (to block field goals) so we moved back a half yard tonight," said Phillips. "I'm sure that first one went down as a 52, but it was 52 and a half. It's kind of a bright spot for me to get past 52 and then get one from 53, and now we'll see what we can do from there."
After a Fields interception set up a short touchdown drive for Texas that culminated with a Will Matthews touchdown run. The Cowboys went back to work with a 52-yard drive. This time Phillips, who is now 38-of-46 in his career on field goals and 123-of-125 on extra points, only had to drive home a 32-yard chip shot to narrow the Texas lead to 7-6.
Before the end of the first quarter Phillips had the chance to give the Cowboys the lead and get off being stuck on 52-yards as a career best. There's no shame in 52-yards being your best. Phillips hit a pair of 52-yarders in Norman in 2001 to help in the 16-13 win over Oklahoma.
Gabe Lindsay fielded a Texas punt and found a nice seem and took off for a 45-yard punt return to the Texas 40. After just three-yards in three plays on came Phillips for a honest to goodness try from 53-yards and it was good running Phillips record on kicks from 50 plus to six-of-nine. He also could tell that the crowd loved the boot.
"I hope so, long field goals are exciting," said a dejected Phillips after the game from the Oklahoma State dressing room. "A lot of kickers look at short field goals and think it's easy, but the crowd really gets into the long field goals. I think something I've tried to do in my career here is to thank the crowd because when they come out on Saturday they are the ones that give us reason to play. It was an exciting time to see how excited they got over those long field goals."
Phillips realizes that it helps when he's kicking extra points instead of field goals. He got his opportunity at an extra point following the Cowboys best drive of the night with a 16 play, 76-yard drive that was ploished off with a 10-yard touchdown toss from Josh Fields to a wide open Rashaun Woods.
Little did Phillips now that his extra point giving the Cowboys a 16-14 halftime advantage would be the last point scored by the Cowboys on the night.
The Longhorns came out in the second half and went with what had worked best in the first half. Texas gave the ball to Cedric Benson. Benson had struggled against Oklahoma State last season, but this was a different night. The Texas star had 27 carries for 180-yards and a touchdown. They mixed it up a little with an accassional pass or a Vincent Young scamble. It was so good that Texas had 240-yards of offense in the first half and then came back to notch 262-yards the second half for a grand total of 502-yards to the Cowboys 309.
"In the first half, I was really thinking I could be the factor in winning the game in the end," said Phillips again recounting his favorite vision. "You know, it kind of slipped away, a few unlucky breaks and it kind of fell from there"
It didn't matter, more Benson and the self destruction of the Cowboy offense with Fields throwing an interception made Phillips dream an impossibility. The Texas side of the scoreboard looked like a pinball machine as long drives eaten up in big chunks of Benson runs combined with the OSU miscues like Greg Gold's funble near midfield that was retuened for a touchdown by Longhorn backup Matt Melton made the score ((41-16) out of reach by the end of the third quarter. Texas went on to a 55-16 win, the second kick in the gut in as many weeks for the Cowboys, who at 7-3 with Kansas and Baylor left could still finish 9-3 with a possible Cotton Bowl birth. The most important task now is to get this team turned back in the right direction. The final home game with Kansas will be a good bye to a strong senior class that includes Phillips. One vision Phillips has for sure is seeing these seniors part Boone Pickens Stadium with a win. There story can't end with a loss in their final appearance at home.
"We've got great players that have come through here, and I think , honestly, I believe this is one of the best teams we've ever assembled at Oklahoma State. This senior class turned things around, and I honostly think that the 16-13 win over Oklahoma may have started it all."
There is no doubt this class started the lasted run, and after these last two weeks, it's time for them to start another. Phillips is giving in. He'd rather kick extra points against the Jayhawlks than record setting long field goals.
FIVE QUESTIONS FOLLOWING THE COWBOYS LOSS TO TEXAS
1. Why did Texas have so much more offensive success the second half?
In the first half the Longhorns mixed it up with almost equal doses of tailback Cedric Benson, quarterbacks runs by new sensation Vincent Young, and a healthier dose of passing from Young. Heck, when you score on the prettiestof 67-yards bombs. The Texas offense was balanced in the first half, but at halftime Mack Brown and his staff must have analyzed what workd best. It was Benson, who at the hafl had 56-yards on just eight carries.
The second half Texas pounded the ball with Benson, using the change up plays a little less often. Benson responded with 19 carries for 124-yards. Add to that an interception that Michael Huff returned for a touchdown and Matt Melton returned a Greg Gold fumble for a 48-yard score. Texas discovered a mismatch between their offensive line and O-State's inside defensive line and they exploited it. The Cowboys just simply need to grow up at defensive tackle. Their is talent there, but those players have got to get after it.
2. What has happened to the Oklahoma State offense?
It's pretty simple. First, the Cowboys are really struggling with pass protection. Left tackles Matt Hardison and Doug Koenig are good guys, but they have had trouble holding off opposing pass rushers, and as a result backs and tight ends have had to be held in to help on protection. Fields has been blasted some the last two weeks. Against Texas, the Longhorns were stacking the box, oh and by the way losing Tatem Bell was a big blow, Outside early the Horns were in man and that's why it is so frustrating. With man press coverage, you have to run routes downfield to get open. That takes time, and right now the Cowboy offensive line is having trouble buying much of that.
That's it in a nutshell, but it would be really nice if some of the other receivers like Kenneth Williams and Tommy Devereaux at wide receiver that could come along in their development to give the offense wome more weapons.
3. Why has Rashaun Woods slipped into being a nonfactor in games?
See above or check out Miles quote. Right
now, Woods can get open, but the protection breaks down before Fields can launch
the pass in the All American's direction. It is obvious that it is frustrating
for Woods, but he keeps it to himelf and continues to be an excellent team
player even getting some key blocks in the game last Saturday. You can be sure
the offensive staff will constantly try to loosen him uo.
4. What is the current bowl scenario for the Cowboys?
It's pretty simple, and for Cowboy fans no
easy chore. Oklahoma State fans need to root for Oklahoma to go to the title
game, the Sugar Bowl. It would also help if Texas Tech would win out and go to
the Fiesta Bowl. Let's say that happens. The Coton Bowl picks first and they
would have to be looking at Oklahoma State, Nebraska, and Kansas State . The
word is that the Coton folks want OSU in Dallas. That would be great, but if
Texas loses it could gum up the works. Now Texas might end up in Cotton.
Nebraska is still likely for San Diego and the Holiday. That would leave
the Alamo if we get upset.
5. How will the injuries from the Texas game impact the rest of the season?
It depends, but let's start at offensive
right tackle. Kellen Davis jumps in for the injured Corey Hilliard. Hilliard had
been playing very well, but the aprained MCL will likely keep him out 2-4 weeks.
Tatun Bell looks to be okay, and should be back. Seymore Shaw could be back and
that will help there as well.
The worst of the injuries nay be to defensive end and senior Antonio Smith. Smith has been a defensive tackle and defensive end and has been right up there with Craig on leading this defense. He need's to be back, but he won't be for Kansas. He may not be ready to play at all. The way Antonio Smith has been playing that makes losing him very unfortunate.
HORNS BEAT COWBOYS AND BEAT THEM UP
The loss to Texas was more damaging than just
loss column, like a rodeo with world class stock the Longhorns inflicted some
physical pain and damage on the Cowboys. Tailback Tatum Bell went out midway
through the first quarter when he was high-lowed by a pair of Texas defenders at
the end of a 15-yard run. The right ankle injury was very painful and kept Bell
out for the rest of the game. His availability for the Kansas game was in
question after the ballgame. Starting freshman offensive right tackle Corey
Hilliard suffered a sparined medial collateral ligament in his left knee and he
could miss the rest of the regular season, but will be re-evaluated during the
In the second half standout senior defensive end Antonio Smith left with a lower left leg injury and was x-rayed. There was discussion of a possible break, but nothing was confirmed. Finally, backup tailback Seymore Shaw was injured when Texas cornerback Cedric Griffin leaped him from behind on a 28-yard run. Shaw pulled a quad muscle in his right leg and his availability is in question for the Kansas game.
WOODS AND FIELDS STILL NOTCH CAREER MARKS
Rashaun Woods only caught four passes for 43-yards in the contest against Texas, but on his first reception, a 16-yarder, he went over the 4,000-yards mark in career receiving yards. Woods ran his streak of games with two receptions or more to 41 in a row, and his 10-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter was his 12th scoring reception of the season.
That same touchdown play marked the 51st touchdown pass of quarterback Josh Field's career leaving him three short of his offensive coordinator Mike Gundy on the Oklahoma State all-time touchdown pass list.
PERFECT HOME MARK STOPPED
The loss to Texas was the first for the
Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium this season, and it ended the Pokes home
winning streak at 10 games. The last loss on the home turf prior to the Texas
game was UCLA back on Sept. 14, of last season.
RECRUITING PROSPECTS FLOCKED TO OSU-TEXAS GAME
By our count there were 41 recruiting
prospects that were on hand for the Texas game including three prospects that
were there on official visits. An official visit is one in which the school pays
your travel expenses and all of your food and lodging.
The players there on official visits were defensive end Anthony Strauder of Natchez, Miss.; defensive end Charles Alexander of Breaux Bridge, La.; and defensive end Tyson Jackson of West St. John High School in Edgard, La. Strauder is out for the rest of the season with a broken leg, but is a dynamite prospect that is 6-4, 260. Oklahoma State is his first visit, but he is considering a number of schools including Florida, Florida State, and Miss. State. Alexander is 6-4, 265 pounds and runs a 4.9 in the forty. He is also looking at a number of schools including LSU. Jackson is a 6-7, 275 pounder that is rated among the best in the nation. He had previously committed verbally to LSU, but decided to take the vist to OSU.
There were four players who have already committed to the Cowboys on hand for the game including one of the nation's top quarterbacks in Bobby Reid of Galena Park Nort Shore. The 6-4, 220 pound Reid, who on Friday guided the Mustangs to a win over Pasadena Dobie in finishing out an unbeaten regular season was joined by teammate and fellow Cowboy commitment Stephen James. The 5-11, 185 pound James has three interceptions this season from his safety position. Galena Park North Shore linebacker Ty Hatcherson came along with Reid and James for the unofficial visit. Ponca City tight end and defensive end Justin Waller and Tulsa Union defensive end Nathan Peterson were on hand as well.
Top Oklahoma high school standouts that were there included TSST record setting running back Prentiss Elliot, Lawton MacArthur linebacker Michael Pooschke, Lawton Ike wide receiver Marcus Henry, Lawton Ike's huge (6-4, 290) offensive tackle Jeremy Gray, and Lawton Ike strong safety Raymond Woods, Tulsa Washington defensive end Michael Tate, and Washington teammate Virgil Jackson.
From Texas the list included Garland Rowlett offensive lineman Cody Baker (6-4, 260), North Mesquite tight end Michael Barone (6-4, 240, 4.8), Sherman offensive lineman Josh Aleman (6-3, 275), Carrollton Turner running back Marcus Robinson (6-0, 208), Arlington Bowie Offensive tackle Tyler Dool (6-5, 285). and a pair of kickers in Coppell's Kyle Thomas and Austin Westwood's Jason Ricks.
Other out of staters included Russellville, Ark., linebacker Matt Williams; Baxter Springs, Kan., linebacker J.C. Dawes; and St. Joseph (Central), Mo., offensive tackle Nick Lamb.
LES MILES VERBATIM
On the game:
"We played well until a point. The defense came out and did good things to start. They got the early pick and it gave them seven points and we were in a heck of a game until the half. In the second half, our inability to protect our passer, and some guys got injured and left the field kind of tells the tale for this game. It didn't allow us to compete and we are very disappointed. We would have loved to finish the game the way we started it. Texas is a tremendously talented team, they played awfully well and did the things they needed to do. We are looking forward to getting back on track next week against Kansas."
On not being able to duplicate the performance and production of the first half:
"They are very talented and tremendosuly capable football team, and we, to a point, played them well and had every opportunity to win. Their talent stretched us and we couldn't protect the passer. They have a great defense and we are trying to make plays. The thing got out of hand."
On the inability to get the ball to Rashaun Woods:
"They have some outstanding defensive line guys that were getting up the field on us and making it difficult for us to maintain the ball. Rashaun Woods is going to get open, and we are going to have some throws, but when the quarterback is under duress, it's something we couldn't get done."
On losing Tatum Bell to injury early in the game:
"(Bell's injury) certainly changed a part of the game plan, for us and for them. Certain things that we wanted to do with Tatum, we didn't feel comfortable doing with him not in the game. It's a reality of the game and how it transpired.It stretched us, and we couldn't put the same caliber of guys out on the field in the second half that we did in the first half. Not to take anything away from Texas, this could have been a tremendously competitive game late into the game and who knows how it would have turned out, but Texas played a strong football game and surely deserved to win."
On Texas wide receiver Roy Williams and his impact in the game:
"Roy Williams' long touchdown catch gets them a quick score and allows them to stay in the game and it was a definite big play in this game. He is a tremendous talent, and anyone would have trouble covering him. To me, Young is just so athletic and dangerous and can move and can duck and dodge, he was just as we suspected. I thought Cedric Censon played extremely well against us. When they got a couple of scores on us, their opportunity to drive the ball and maintain the ball was a hand-off to Cedric Benson."
On trying to come from behind:
"When you throw a pick for a touchdown, you start pressing to make plays instead of working the ball down the field in a gradual and methodical way. When you get behind a team that is as talented as they are and have corners that can make big plays, you are working some throws because the run is slowing downwith two tailbakcs out. It becomes a very tough position to be in."
On re-evaluating the goals for this season:
"The opportunity to still be in the Cotton Bowl or the Holiday Bowl. To do somethings that are available to this football team, win 10 games we need to go beat Kansas. They are a good football team. They didn't fare real well against Nebraska. They are a very talented team and they can move the football. We are somewhat less than we've been becuase of the nicks that occurred tonight. We have to pull together and win and not look forward to anything else but Kansas."
On the last home game for the seniors next week against Kansas:
"First of all, we are saying good bye to seniors that have been leaders in this football program, and we are playing a very important game and we need the homefield advantage. I understand that we did not play this football game the way we wanted to. We are going to have to regroup. We're going to have to access the guys we've got on this football team that are healthy. We're going to have to plug in guys, and we're going to have to play very aggressively to win. We need our friends and family there because we need to beat Kansas. We need to win that game."