Bedlam: A Glimpse<br>of the Future

STILLWATER, Okla.— You can almost picture the future based on the present from Saturday's Bedlam battle at Boone Pickens Stadium. The present was a heart-breaking 38-35 loss to rival Oklahoma. It was a game that seesawed from the Cowboys owning a touchdown lead in the second quarter to a second half that had the Cowboys down on two occasions by two touchdowns.

The message is that Oklahoma State didn't quite match up man for man with a veteran Sooner team that features 14 starters who are seniors. By contrast the Cowboys are much younger with only seven seniors in the starting lineup. What the younger Cowboys did was compete on an even basis with Oklahoma, and came close enough to make Sooner head coach Bob Stoops hold his breath, although he had trouble admitting it in the post game.

Flash ahead to the future when the younger Cowboys grow up a little more and it's easy to picture the verdict going the other way. It won't be nearly as satisfying for the Sooners to come "trick-or-treating" in Stillwater in a couple of years.

Some of the misgivings for Oklahoma State included a first drive that should have resulted in points, an OU scoring drive that had a couple of receivers that were too open, an OU touchdown pass that was bobbled and caused the OSU defense to freeze, a passing attack that struggled in the first half, and two big runs in the second half that could have been held to short gains. The there was the 49-yard field goal attempt by freshman Jason Ricks that missed the mark to the left.

Oklahoma State received the opening kickoff and used a Vernand Morency 27-yard run to break into OU territory. On third-and-eight at the Oklahoma 41, Donovan Woods' pass was rushed by OU pressure and was almost intercepted by Brodney Pool.

That was a problem in the first half as the passing game never was in sync. Woods was just 2-of-8 for 13 yards. The lack of a passing attack also made it tough on Woods, Morency, Seymore Shaw and Shawn Willis in trying to run with the football.

Oklahoma's first scoring drive included a key pass from Jason White to Mark Bradley that covered 29 yards. White had plenty of time and Bradley had too much room on the play. Later White hit Bradley for a four-yard touchdown.

After the Oklahoma special teams spotted the Cowboys a scoring set up and a fumble for a touchdown, White hit Bradley again. This time Cowboy safety Jamie Thompson got a hand on the pass and Bradley bobbled the ball causing Daniel McLemore and the rest of the Cowboy defenders to freeze. That was all it took as Bradley gathered in the ball and outraced the orange clad defenders for a 72-yard touchdown.

"In the first half Jason White threw on us and put points on the board for them," said safety Jon Holland. "In the second half we made adjustments that we learned at practice throughout the week."

You have to credit Oklahoma's youngest starter, freshman tailback Adrian Peterson, with the two long second half runs that kept Oklahoma ahead on the scoreboard. The first was an 80-yard touchdown that came right after OSU had cut the lead to 28-21. Peterson went left and spun out of tackle attempts by freshman defensive tackle Walter Thomas and sophomore defensive end Victor DeGrate before going the distance. A 57-yard run by Peterson, again after missed tackle attempts, yielded the final margin, a Trey DiCarlo field goal.

"At times our defense was stingy," said Cowboy head coach Les Miles. "At other times we missed some tackles. You do not miss tackles in this game."

"He is a good back, and had two good runs against us that ended in scores," said Holland. "He is one of the best backs in the nation."

It is impossible to blame Jason Ricks, the Cowboys' 18-year-old kicker, for the loss. But just a week after kicking a game winner at Missouri, he missed left on a 49-yard field goal attempt that could have sent the game into overtime. It was unfortunate but obvious that Ricks was blaming himself for the outcome.

"He is a good kicker, and I love him," said OSU special teams coordinator Joe DeForest. "I just hope he understands that this wasn't his fault. We asked him to make a game-winning kick, or in this case actually a game-tying kick, two weeks in a row. That's asking a lot out of a freshman kicker. I hope he can rebound from this."

"We felt good there," said Miles of sending Ricks out for the kick. "He has a strong leg, and he can hit from that distance. He kicked the game winner on the road (Missouri). He came in this stadium and lined up to kick a long field goal. He didn't hit it today. He will hit it tomorrow."

The Cowboys are young and their tomorrow is bright, both in Bedlam and in every other contest they play. Oklahoma State proved against second-ranked Oklahoma that they are in their league, and that is their present. Their future is to be better.

"I am awfully proud of my football team," said Miles in summation. "I will take my football team and play anyone in this country. I like the fight in this ball club, I like the resolve. We are going to get better. We are going to keep coming. We look forward to the future. We expect it to be very bright."

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