REMEMBER WHEN...Rashaun set the NCAA TD record w/7

JOIN US THIS SUMMER AS WE TAKE A LOOK BACK AT SOME OF THE MOST RECENT MOMENTS IN COWBOY SPORTS HISTORY. THIS WILL BE A WEEKLY FEATURE SHOWCASING SOME OF THE MOST EXCITING TIMES IN OSU ATHLETICS. <BR><BR> DALLAS – Oklahoma State Associate Athletic Director for Sports Information Steve Buzzard got used to diving in and researching the NCAA record book with Barry Sanders. Sanders still holds 34 NCAA marks either by himself or in tandem with several OSU teammates.

Now Buzzard has been sent scrambling through the NCAA record book again, and current Cowboy All-American wide receiver Rashaun Woods is the reason. Woods opened the game with SMU with a touchdown catch like so many we've seen before. Josh Fields threw the ball to the right corner and Woods went up and took the ball away from the Mustang defender. The "fade-and-take" by Woods was his 30th career touchdown catch, moving him ahead of Hart Lee Dykes and securing every major O-State receiving record. Little did anyone know at the time that Woods and Fields, for that matter, were just warming up. Before it was over, Woods would make the ESPN SportsCenter opening and a prime spot inside the show.

Sanders had plenty of SportsCenter moments, but in the record book his most impressive mark is probably the 2,628 rushing yards in a season and that doesn't even include the 1988 Holiday Bowl. Sanders averaged 3.36 rushing touchdowns per game during the 1988 season, but Sanders never came close to what Woods did against the Mustangs.

Later in the first quarter, Woods was pushed and he pushed back SMU cornerback Jonas Rutledge before catching the pass in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. The WAC officials ruled defensive pass interference and the touchdown stood. "I got into a personal battle with Woods early and got away from our defensive schemes," said Rutledge, who will no doubt have nightmares featuring Woods for a long time. "The defensive pass interference calls got into my head. It bothered me because you're thinking you are playing sound defense and it gets called."

In the second quarter, after OSU benefitted from a punt catch interference penalty Fields hit Woods, who was leaned on by the cornerback all the way down the field, for a 34-yard touchdown. The next possession, again on the first play, Woods was wide open behind three SMU defenders for an easy 32-yard touchdown pass from Fields. The Cowboy combo wasn't finished for the first half as Fields hit Woods for a 25-yard touchdown that put O-State up 38-0.

On the way back to the bench after the fifth touchdown reception of the day Woods had a message for fans and media alike that have been blistering the airwaves and the print with criticism and doubts about the Cowboys passing game. "Tell everybody we're back," Woods said as he trotted back to the bench area.

When Woods, Fields and the rest of the Oklahoma State offense returned for the second half it was like they had never left. On their first possession, Fields hit Woods with a 31-yard pass to the SMU four. During halftime, research was done and it was learned that Woods was one touchdown reception away from tying the NCAA mark. Miles told the offense he was going to give them two series and then would be looking to get the backups some playing time.

The Fields-to-Woods combination continued to be unstoppable as they followed up the long gainer with a four-yard comeback route after missing on a fade route on first down. It was at this point that Woods was tied for the NCAA record of six touchdown catches with San Diego State's Tim Delaney, who did it against New Mexico State in 1969.

The catch that set up the record breaker was the most amazing catch of the day for Woods. Woods ran deep down the middle of the field and split the defenders, going up to take away the ball from the Ponies. The connection went for 49 yards and set up history.

"Actually, we had run that play earlier," said Woods. "It was just a little bit too short and the guy was able to knock it down. Josh and I got together over on the sidelines and said just throw it a little deeper and it will be there. He did and it was. He did exactly what he said he would do and it worked."

It makes all the sense in the world that the record breaker was a fade route. Like he has done so many times before, Woods went up to take the ball away as Fields watched the historic and record-breaking seventh touchdown catch. One of hardest NCAA records out there now belongs to Rashaun Woods.

As Fields, who broke his own OSU record for most touchdown passes in a game (six) set last season at Kansas, and Woods walked back over to the bench it was Miles who was first to greet them and advise them of what they were now a part of.

"It's a record that the team will share," said Miles. "The truth is a Rashaun Woods comes by very rarely in a college coach's tenure. How nice it will be for years that Josh Fields to be a part of that and remember it over the years. Our offense, defense and special teams all clicked and they share in that record. Rashaun is the guy that has the talent to make those plays."

"He's a load," said SMU head coach Phil Bennett. "He made several catches in zone and double coverage. He's just a great receiver. If the ball is in his vicinity, he's going to catch it." Woods readily admits that the record is really not an individual mark, but a team record. It's not an easy record to achieve. "Not at all," said Woods in the lockerroom. "You depend so much on the quarterback, the offensive line and the running backs to block."

Just a week ago Oklahoma State fans were wondering what had happened to their beloved passing offense. Sure, Tatum Bell and Seymore Shaw both topped 100 yards rushing and Bell had four touchdowns, but it's not the same as seeing Fields throw and Woods go up and take the ball away. Both ends of the connection say there was never any panic. They knew it would come around.

"I learned a lot because the first three games did not go the way a receiver would want them to go," said Woods. "I learned that when the offensive line is blocking as well as they were today and Josh is on the money that I have those opportunities, but only when they are doing a great job will I have those opportunities. When everybody is clickin' like that I'm just the end product."

"We wanted to have a game like this to prove not only to the fans but to ourselves that we could pass against anyone," said Fields, who connected on 17 of 27 passes for 265 yards. "Whenever our receivers make catches like they did tonight and the line protects the way they did then you're going to make big plays in the passing game."

So just as they were counted down and out, and Woods was being deleted from Heisman Trophy watch lists, and talk was it might be tough for Woods to even make All-Big 12, the senior from Oklahoma City Millwood does something none of us would have imagined – seven touchdown catches.

However, Woods may not be finished. His 13 receptions for 232 yards put him back on track toward becoming the NCAA's all-time leading pass catcher. Now Woods has a chance to catch former Louisville receiver Arnold Jackson, who has the NCAA record with 300 receptions. Woods currently has 246 receptions and is 13th on the list.

It's possible for Woods to catch 55 more passes this season. He now has 3,549 career receiving yards, which moves him into 16th in that category. In the SMU game he moved past Tulsa's Howard Twilley, North Carolina State's Torry Holt and Peter Warrick of Florida State.

What a night and what a catch – all seven of them. So what would Woods consider better – seven touchdown catches for an NCAA record or catching a 10-pound bass?

"It depends," said Woods. "If I landed a 10-pound bass in the BassMasters Classic, something like that ... if I land a 15-pounder and say win a millions of dollars then that would be OK."

The answer is a little easier for Cowboy fans, who enjoy the treat of watching another of college football's greatest offensive players. The fans will take the boat load of receptions over the boat load of bass.

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