Any Doubts This Team Is Still Playing Hard?

STILLWATER -- At the end of three quarters Oklahoma State led 13th-ranked Texas Tech 17-3. The Cowboys had held the potent Red Raiders offense out of the end zone. That's the same Texas Tech offense that averaged 47 points and 540 yards a game. The Cowboys defense had done a terrific job, but three quarters of good work came unraveled in a matter of 19 seconds,

First, Texas Tech went for it on fourth-and-goal at the 4-yard line and came up big when quarterback Cody Hodges hit a sliding Jarrett Hicks for the touchdown. After the kickoff, on first down Oklahoma State quarterback Bobby Reid scrambled trying to make a play and lost control of the football which Tech's Chris Hudler recovered in the end zone to tie the score 17-17. Doubters had to be thinking here we go again. The Cowboys were going to blow a solid effort only to lose it in the fourth quarter.

Not this team and not on this afternoon. These Cowboys had grown up and they took on the added adversity and handled it. In the end the defense kept Texas Tech from scoring any more and the offense used a 13-play, 80-yard drive in which it dominated the Tech defense in earning the upset win. In the end this team may have gained more from the added adversity than if it had come easier.

"It's always easy to win the ones going away, but when you have to rally late and execute under pressure, you have to get a snap count and run and block and the defense has to defend everything in pressure situation then it should benefit you in the long run," said Gundy.

There were plenty of players that stepped up on both sides of the ball starting on offense. Julius Crosslin came in when Mike Hamilton went out with a four-inch gash on his right bicep. It was Crosslin and his fresh legs that accounted for 46 yards on the final 80-yard, game-winning drive.

"At first I was a little bit nervous because I've never been in the game at that point running the ball a lot, but after awhile I got into a groove and it was working out and the offensive line did a great job all day," said Crosslin. "I just tried to run through the holes they were making."

Al Pena came in at quarterback after Bobby Reid fumbled to give Texas Tech the tying touchdown. Pena threw an interception that killed an OSU scoring opportunity but came back to engineer the game-winning drive, adding a key scramble and a 12-yard completion to tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a first down on that drive.

"I had some experience coming in and I had to stay focused the entire game because I came into the game thinking I was going to get a chance to play," said Pena. "My focus played a big role in me being able to come in and handle the situation."

On defense there were players like freshman Jacob Lacey, who started at nickel back, linebacker Rodrick Johnson, cornerback Martel Van Zant – young players that combined to give the Cowboy seniors a much wanted and well deserved gift in their final home game.

"Those guys, everybody you named, they have a bright future," said senior safety Jamie Thompson. "They play physical and they are fast. They have the system under their belt now and the sky is the limit for those guys. I told Jacob Lacey after the game that the game ball goes to you because you started the game at nickel back and did a great job of playing the short routes, and I am just excited that all those young guys played their hearts out for us today."

The real moral of the OSU win is that if you refuse to quit and give in, good things will happen and this collection of Cowboy players have really impressed their head coach.

"I was really proud of our players and I've been doing this for 15 years now and I've watched a lot of football and seen a lot of practices and I've never been around a group of guys that can go through a five-game losing streak and go out and play as hard as they played," said Gundy. "It's just a tribute to who they are as men, to our coaching staff, and where they are in their lives."

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