OSU-Baylor: Seniors Get the Gift of Victory

STILLWATER — There were 16 Cowboys that charged out on Boone Pickens Stadium for the final time on Saturday. The number of seniors was listed at 17 but Seymore Shaw, one of the Cowboys who did the most charging on the day, is due to get his degree in May and be awarded another season to play by the NCAA.

Among the 16 that won't be back were right guard Sam Mayes, center Chris Akin, tight end Billy Bajema, tailback Greg Jones, defensive tackles Clay Coe and Efe Mowarin, safety Jon Holland and punter/kickoff specialist Cole Farden.

Those eight all played an instrumental role in helping build this program into a consistent winner. They all contributed with a great deal of determination in the game because – along with the other seniors – they wanted the final time to be a winning time, but they couldn't do it alone. The rest of the squad chipped in and bought the seniors a going away present, a 49-21 win over Baylor.

Rashaun Woods was a senior last season, but he left behind two younger brothers and quarterback Donovan Woods pitched in big with two touchdown passes – one early to his older brother D'Juan and another late to freshman Prentiss Elliott. In between he scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the season, a really deceptive 13-yard bootleg that faked out most of the crowd, television cameras and the entire Baylor defense, including blitzing safety Willie Andrews.

"The coaches did a great job of pointing that out on film, and it was something we looked at all week," said Woods. "We were just waiting for the right time to call it, and the time came for us to call it and we executed it. It was a lot to do with the fake. I gave Seymore a good fake and the line carried out their job."

"I was laughing when those guys were tackling me," said Shaw. "It was such a good fake, I almost thought I had the ball."

Elliott caught that late touchdown pass from Woods to put the exclamation point on the senior's day. He may have given the seniors the biggest highlight in their final home game a few minutes earlier when he bobbled a Baylor punt, gathered himself, put on a Houdini act with a couple of moves, and then cut back to the right and went in for a 74-yard touchdown.

"I bobbled the ball to begin with, but you know sitting back and watching Darrent (Williams) you learn from one of the best returners in college football," said Elliott, paying homage to the injured senior cornerback and punt return specialist. "I take notes and he worked with me and everything worked out okay today."

Shaw had senior status for the day, but as mentioned earlier he will be back. It's a good thing because with Vernand Morency needing a break, Shaw carried 30 times for 172 yards. It was a dominating performance.

"The offensive line did their job, and I just wanted to do it for the seniors and myself and the team," said Shaw of his motivation in carrying tacklers all afternoon. "Coach Porter tells us you don't have to be in a rush. Let the offensive linemen set up those blocks and then you do the rest. I take my hat off to the offensive line because they did their job today."

The seniors themselves stepped up to deliver a badly needed win after back to back losses to Oklahoma and Texas.

Coe had a pair of important tackles and Bajema had two receptions, including a 32-yard catch and run that set up Woods' touchdown run. It was important to leave Boone Pickens the final time as a winner.

"It was fun to get a little catch and run in the last game at home, but it was important to get the win," said Bajema. "It was a great day and a great way to end the senior season at home."

Coe was part of the cluster of defenders that stopped Baylor quarterback Terrance Parks on a key fourth down-and-inches late in the first half at the OSU 7-yard line.

"I was upset that they got down there," said Coe. "We came up and we stopped them and it felt good to get off the field. OSU and Stillwater are very special to me and this will always be my home."

No need for a team Christmas party. At least for the seniors, the most important gift to them was delivered a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving.

"It is fortunate to have a tremendous group of seniors leave the field at their last home game with a victory," said Cowboy head coach Les Miles. "Ultimately, that might be the most important part other than the victory. The gift to those guys who will no longer walk onto Boone Pickens Field and play. Those guys have meant a whole lot to this football program. They have been through some tremendous wins and have been instrumental in the good fortune this football program has experienced in the past several years."

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