A Golden Day for a Pair Sometimes Maligned

BOULDER, Colo.— Oklahoma State fans love their players, but they have from time to time expressed concerns. Two players that Cowboy fans have often expressed reservations are linebacker Paul Duren and redshirt freshman quarterback Donovan Woods.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard a fan say, "I know Paul Duren makes a lot of tackles, but most of them he makes downfield." Or the times I've heard since this summer, "I'm not sure Donovan Woods throws the ball well enough to win in the Big 12."

Yes, it's true that Duren makes tackles downfield, but a great number of his tackles have been made around and behind the line of scrimmage. However, he had never intercepted a pass. That could have been a fair criticism, except Duren had two in the 42-14 win over the Colorado Buffaloes. Duren made a great read in the third quarter to get in front of the receiver and steal a rocket of a toss from Buffs backup quarterback James Cox. It wasn't an easy catch.

"The thing is, I messed up on the play before that when the fullback went deep and I thought, boy I better make a play and make up for it or coach Clay was going to rip me over on the sidelines," explained Duren. "The tight end ran a little centers route and the quarterback threw it and I got down low and picked it up."

Then Duren, who some fans feel isn't nearly as fast as Paul Duren the former option quarterback at Del City, polished off the win with his second interception as a Cowboy and then weaved his way through the Colorado offense for a 34-yard return for a touchdown. It brought back memories of watching that younger Paul Duren dash threw high school defenses.

"I've been telling you guys in practice that I've got the moves, just get me the rock."

Duren also had five tackles including an impressive stop of Daniel Jolly for a one-yard loss. This is a guy that is so smart, he knows what every player on the defense has to do. He makes all the defensive adjustments up front. He is invaluable. He has led the team in tackles for two years in a row, and now Cowboy fans know he is athletic.

There was never any question with Oklahoma State faithful that Donovan Woods was athletic, but could he throw the ball well enough to win in the Big 12. The Cowboys could have won the game with Colorado just running the ball, but it would have been more than a little scary.

This is the same Woods who threw for twice as many yards in high school as he rushed for. Going into the Colorado game Woods had hit just 18-of-41 passes but he had five touchdown passes and just one interception. Colorado veteran quarterback Joel Klatt had hit 69-of -110 passes, but had just three touchdown passes and five interceptions.

O-State fans can cool the criticism because at Colorado Woods was 8-of-11 for 193 yards with one interception and three spectacular touchdown passes.

"He makes plays and he certainly knows where to put the ball," said Miles. "He's coach and he understands what it is to get ready for an opponent."

"What a lot of people don't understand with us rushing the ball like we do is that we've got some talented guys out there," said Donovan. "We recruited than to make plays , and they definitely did tonight."

Cowboy offensive guard Sam Mayes said it best, "I wonder if any fans will have anything to say about Donovan's passing now. I think he proved he can throw well enough to win in the Big 12 or against anybody else in college football."

I'm not sure you want to question Donovan's passing, at least around Mayes. The big guy's 6-foot-3, 325-pound presence usually keeps people around him agreeing with him.

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