Cowboys Give Gundy Victory No. 1

STILLWATER – Mike Gundy says he wants to coach at Oklahoma State long enough to become the school's winningest football coach. The 38-year-old Gundy only needs 62 more victories to pass Pat Jones following Saturday night's season-opening 15-10 win over Montana State at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Victory No. 1 of the Gundy era was much tougher than anticipated against the Division I-AA Bobcats, but the Cowboys will take it – thanks to some big plays by the defense in the second half and Donovan Woods' throwing and running.

Woods, who started but split time at quarterback with Bobby Reid, directed the Cowboys to the game's lone second half touchdown in the opening four minutes of the second half. Woods drove the Cowboys 80 yards in just seven plays – completing 5-of-5 passes for 64 yards – as OSU scored to take the lead after trailing 10-8 at halftime.

Woods found his older brother D'Juan Woods on the 23-yard scoring pass to give the Cowboys at 15-10 lead with just 3:17 off the clock in the second half. That's the way it stayed as the OSU defense contained Montana State and quarterback Travis Lulay.

The Bobcats only had four possessions in the second half – after OSU had gone ahead -- and the Cowboy defense came up with big plays to stop two of those drives. In the fourth quarter, Lelay hit five consecutive passes as the Bobcats drove from their own 10 to the Cowboy 28. But on third-and-10 from 33, Lelay rolled to his right and threw back his left to running back Justin Domineck on a screen pass. But Cowboy defensive end Darnell Smith was there to level Domineck as he made the catch for a six-yard loss.

The Bobcats were forced to punt and never got the ball back as Reid directed the Cowboys from their own 20 to the Montana State 26 before time ran out giving Gundy his first career victory.

"We would have liked to have run up 35 or 40 points and held them to 10 but that's not what happened tonight," Gundy said. "I was proud of the way our guys finished. It was good to get a win."

Gundy promised in the weeks leading up to the season opener that the Cowboys would have both Donovan Woods and Reid on the field at the same time. He's a man of his word. On the Cowboys' first play of the game Woods threw to Reid, who had lined up as a slot receiver, for an 11-yard gain. It was the first play of a nine-play drive which resulted in the Cowboys' first touchdown – a Woods 11-yard keeper up the middle in which he bulled over two Bobcat defensive backs at the 2-yard line and into the end zone. OSU went up 8-0 when Julius Crosslin scored on a two-point conversion run after Woods' TD scamper.

Woods spent most of the night at quarterback with Reid lining up in the slot on numerous occasions. Reid also had three series – two in the first half and the final drive of the game – as quarterback.

Woods was 10-of-20 passing for 117 yards with no interceptions. Reid was only 1-of-2 passing for 17 yards. Reid had a game-high 82 rushing yards on just six carries, while Woods ran for 61 yards on nine attempts.

"I thought Bobby and Donovan handled themselves very well," Gundy said. "With the system that we run, I thought they handled it very well. Both of them ran the ball very well. We will continue to work with both quarterbacks in the throwing game."

Gundy said that the Cowboys also have offensive packages in which Donovan Woods will line up in the slot or as a running back when Reid is the quarterback. But they did not use any of those Saturday night.

"We've got to have those guys in the game as much as possible," Gundy said. "Our offensive staff understands that we have to get the ball in the hands of the guys who can make plays."

Montana State's only points came in the first half on a 35-yard field goal by Jeff Hastings and a 3-yard touchdown run by Michael Bass. Hastings field goal came after Lulay was sacked for an 8-yard loss by Cowboy safety Jamie Thompson and defensive tackle Xavier Lawson-Kennedy.

The Bobcats eventually took the lead in the second quarter thanks to some trickery. Montana State 73 yards in just six plays to take a 10-8 lead thanks to a fake punt in which Lulay – who is the Bobcats punter – completed a 37-yard pass to Ryan Force down to the Cowboy 33. Three plays later Bass scored their own TD.

"Defensively, in the first half I thought we were OK and then in the second half I thought we were really good," Gundy said. "In the second half we were in a lot of crucial plays and the defense made some big plays."

Thompson, from his safety position, was credited with a team-high 11 tackles, including two quarterback sacks. Linebacker Lawrence Pinson had nine tackles, including a QB sack. Defensive end Nathan Peterson (1 sack) and Lawson-Kennedy (1/2 sack) also got credit for QB sacks.

The Cowboys have little time to learn from their opening game mistakes, though, as they travel to Florida Atlantic for a Thursday night game at Dolphin Stadium in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.

Montana State ..... 3 7 0 0 - 10
Oklahoma State ....... 8 0 7 0 - 15
OSU – Donovan Woods 11-yard run (Julius Crosslin run)
MSU – Jeff Hastings 35-yard field goal
MSU – Michael Bass 3-yard run (Hastings kick)
OSU – D'Juan Woods 23-yard pass from Donovan Woods (Bruce "Sunshine" Redden kick)

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