When Tatum Bell was benched early in the Cowboys non conference win over Louisiana-Lafayette he stepped into the tailback role and rushed for 189-yards and two touchdowns. This time Morency had to know with the top two tailbacks on the depth chart out with injuries he was going to get another shot.
Morency started the game
and in an incredible third quarter finsihed the Jayhawks with 170-yards rushing
in that quarter alone. Morency finished the day with 269-yards on 25 carries and
three touchdowns as the Cowboys rolled 44-21 over
It was the ninth best day
for a tailback in school history, and the biggest since Gerald Hudson ran for
"He's a very capable ball carrier," said head coach Les Miles. "He jump
starts pretty well and he likes to show people that he can do that. He had a
nice day, ran hard. We needed him. We lose Tatum
Morency started with a five-yard touchdown run in the second quarter,
just blasting through the middle of the line with a big hole. That score broke a
3-3 tie to put
"I was just going out there and having fun," said Morency. "I've been playing up tight, and I just wanted to have fun. The offensive line did a great job, and I tip my hat to the linemen and to the coaches for having a great plan today."
Morency came back with a 19-yard touchdown run in that unbelievable third quarter. On that drive that put OSU up 23-13 Morency had 48 of the 71-yards.
Gabe Lindsay's second big punt return of the game set up the next score and Morency covered 23 of the 30-yards with fullback Shawn Willis scoring from four-yards out.
Now Morency was really getting it in gear as he made a move on a 45-yard
run that was a stop and start that froze three Jayhawk defenders. Dare I say, it
looked like Barry Sanders back in
He covered 75-yards of an 82-yard drive that he finished with a six-yard touchdown run to put the Cowboys up 37-13.
"Early on in the season I felt kind of tense, not running like I normally run," said the former Colorado Rockies minor leaguer. "Today I was relaxed and zoned in and just ran the way I wanted to."
It was an unforgettable day for Morency that left OSU fans wondering
which current tailback is the best, and giving them comfort for the future as
There were other heroes. Lindsay's two punt returns, Greg Richmond's two sacks to give him 12 1/2 for the season, and freshman corner Ricky Coxeff with an acrobatic interception that set up the Cowboys final touchdown.
"We had a two man coverage, like a zone coverage, and I came back and saw him throwing it," said Coxeff of his maiden interception as a Cowboy. "I made a play on it because I knew I needed to make a play so we could get away with this one."
The pick by the frosh led to a final Boone Pickens Stadium memory for All
American Rashaun Woods as he pulled in a Fields pass on the fade for his 40th
There was yet another hero worth documenting. In the first half vagabond Cowboy Chay Nease had three big receptions for 64-yards, with two of those setting up scores. His third and final reception was a 31-yarder that set up Luke Phillips' second field goal of the game.
"It's one of those deals where the opportunity presented itself, and you
have to take hold and make it happen," said Nease of his final catch, a 31-yard
grab over the middle at the
What makes the junior from Thomas contributions even more gallant was the fact that he made his biggest catch and a huge block on Lindsay's 44-yard punt return with a shoulder injury that would send him to the sidelines for the rest of the day.
"Yes, I actually played a little while with it," said Nease of the shoulder injury. "Terry (Head Athletic Trainer Terry Noonan) and the training staff asked me if I was all right. It's one of those deals during a game that you have some success and you don't want to come out because you don't know what the next play could bring. I hurt it on the second catch I made when the guy hit me and I landed on it. Then I came back and made that other catch and the block on that punt return. After that I couldn't hardly lift it up and they told me that was that."
Nease came to
"It's just one of those deals where yu have to know what your role is on the team," said Nease of his trials and tribulations in finding a niche. "If you can focus a hundred percent toward that role then you can go out there and not have any regrets because you can go out there and lay it all on the line. If you don't expect too much then you won't get that down. You just give 100 percent at the job or task that is right there in front of you."
Nease knows his role, and fortunately, for the Cowboys Morency is a potential All American at his. It's nice to have some pretty good understudys waiting in the wings.
QUESTIONS FOLLOWING COWBOYS 44-21 WIN OVER
1. How were
the Cowboys able to dominate
You have to give credit to special teams coordinator Joe DeForest, who
may very well be the best at his job in college football. DeForest spent the
time necessary in the film room this week and found weaknesses in the
"I just caught it and Vernon Grant made a good block," said Lindsay. "I could not even see where the gunner was, so I just ran up the sideline. I do not really want to talk about the rest. I should have made the punter miss. It makes me a little disgusted that I did not."
All of the other special teams performed well, and
2. Which tailback is better Tatum Bell or Vernand Morency?
You can get in trouble with this one. All
"He has the attributes that all great backs have in that he sees where he won't be tackled," said O-State head coach Les Miles. "You see that in the way that he runs, guys that are unblocked, he knows when he has to make a move on them and not, and he sees the area where his greatest potential of gain is."
No doubt, fans will ponder this argument all week and maybe the rest of
the season. The truth is they are different kinds of backs with
"He may consider himself to be the best tailback on the team," said Miles. "We have second and third team players that are behind other talented players and he is an example of a guy that has taken advantage of the situation and made the most of it."
You have to give Morency this, he knew how to react to his success, in a
very humble manner that even honored his teammate in
"I do not consider myself a star," said Morency. "I just play day by day. I just want to help my team out in any which way. I just wish I could have transfered my yards over to Tatum today. He is my worst critic. We go at it. When I do something wrong, he is the first one on me and vice versa> I just wish he could have got those yards today to help him in the Heisman race."
I'm just glad that it is up to Miles and the Cowboy offensive staff as to who to play and when the rest of the season.
3. Greg Richmond started the game with two sacks why wasn't he able to get anymore?
"We just wanted to come out and make a statement," said
Back to the question, why did
4. What happened with some of the badly missed connections in the passing game?
Fields came out and hit 10-of-12 passes to start the game, but then on
the second possession of the second quarter Fields overthrew an open Rashaun
Woods in the endzone on third and goal from the
"We take for granted some things," said Miles. "We take for granted that (Josh) Fields and Rashaun (Woods) are on the same page. They misfired once today (actually twice) and that's us as coaches. We have to make sure we set up that scenario time and time again. I think our confidence is in tact and a part of this football team. I think they understand that they are a good football team."
The confidence may be in place, and should be, but it's there more because of a great rushing effort by Vernand Morency, special team highlights like Gabe Londsay's two punt returns, and solid defense including two spectacular interceptions by Ricky Coxeff and Thomas Wright. The passing game needs some polishing before going to Baylor.
5. What bowl is Oklahoma State up for, is it the Cotton Bowl?
Here's the way we project the Big 12 bowls right now. Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl, Texas in the Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl, Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl, Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl, Missouri in the Houston Bowl, Texas Tech in the Independence Bowl, Kansas in the Fort Worth Bowl, and Colorado, if they beat Nebraska, in the Tangerine Bowl.
O-STATE TRAINING ROOM LOOKS LIKE M*A*S*H*
To start with defensive end Antonio Smith (broken leg), Seymore Shaw
(quad injury), and offensive tackle Corey Hilliard (sprained knee) are out at
least until the bowl game. Before the
Now during the game Head Athletic Trainer Terry Noonan and his staff attended to shoulder injuries to receivers D'Juan Woods and Chay Nease. Tailback Greg Jones had a bruised knee. Vernon Grant had a stinger. Center Ben Buie had a lower leg injury that required x-rays, and cornerback Robert Jones had a strained lower back. It has been a busy last two games for the medical staff.
"Injury is a part of this game, you turn to the next guy and tell him this is what we need from this position on this day, and they are capable and they rise to the challenge and the team continues," said head coach Les Miles. "The good news, I'm told, is that some of these injuries are just nicks and they will be back, if not for Baylor, surely for the bowl game."
LIGHT DAY FOR PROSPECTS
There weren't a large number of serious prospects on hand for the