Can Pena Step Up If Called Upon?

If Mike Gundy knows who is going to start at quarterback for the Oklahoma State Cowboys when they travel to College Station, Texas, for Saturday's game against Texas A&M he sure wasn't letting on during his Monday media gathering in Stillwater. It will be Bobby Reid if the redshirt freshman has recovered from the foot injury he received in last week's loss to Missouri. It may be sophomore Al Pena, who replaced Reid and directed the Cowboys on a 70-yard scoring drive.

Or maybe it'll be Donovan Woods, who was moved to safety four weeks ago. Or maybe ... you get the idea, no one knows. And Gundy wouldn't say even if he did.

Everyone will probably find out when the Cowboys run out on the field for their first offensive possession of the game Saturday afternoon at Kyle Field. That's the way Gundy wants it, and you can't blame him. He wants Texas A&M to spend time this week working to play against Reid, Pena, Woods, true freshman Zac Robinson and anyone else capable of taking the snap for the Cowboys.

Pena completed 4 of 7 passes, including a 5-yard touchdown toss to D'Juan Woods to pull the Cowboys within 38-31, in the final nine minutes against Missouri. Then, with less than two minutes on the clock, he was hoping to drive his team the length of the field for a chance to tie, or win with a two-point conversion. But his attempt to throw the ball away was picked off by Missouri's David Overstreet with 55 seconds left on the clock.

"Al played pretty good. Obviously, on the last play of the game he made a big mistake. Before that he played pretty well," Gundy said.

Pena spent much of fall practice as the third-string quarterback as Reid and Donovan Woods battled it out for the starting position. He received only a handful of snaps each practice throughout August. When Woods switched to defense, Pena moved up to second team and began receiving a few more reps. But Gundy and the offensive staff were committed to Reid and felt the best way for him to get better was by taking almost all of the snaps in practice. But now, despite now getting much work in practice, Pena may be called upon to lead the Cowboys against the Aggies.

"Third-team quarterbacks don't get reps," Gundy said. "And you know the quarterback controversy that we had, so those two (Reid and Woods) split everything. Al would get ... I'll bet you Al didn't get five live reps a day.

"It's the hardest job there is because when you get in there everybody says you're supposed to know what you're doing and do the job. But it's hard when you don't practice," Gundy continued. "He did a good job. The interception he threw, we turned a guy loose in protection or he wouldn't have to be where he was at."

Pena, who threw for more than 3,200 yards in high school while playing for his dad Jorge at Leander and Rio Grande City high schools, isn't lacking for confidence, Gundy said.

"Al's a funny kid. He always thinks that he can do it. He does," Gundy said. "He had a lot of success in high school, and his dad's a head coach, so he's practiced with a guy who's been a head coach all his life, he's been around it, so he's pretty confident in his ability to make a play. I think he has some qualities that give him a chance to be successful. Now, if Bobby can't play, and he plays then we'll find out if he can do that."

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