Cowboys Roll Over Florida Atlantic

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State has scored 135 or more points with three season-opening wins only three times in the past 90 years. The 2006 edition of the Cowboys are one of those three teams, racking up 135 points en route to opening the season 3-0 with Saturday night's 48-8 victory over Florida Atlantic at Boone Pickens Stadium.

The only other years that OSU has scored more points while starting with three consecutive victories was in 1988 (160 points) and in 1973 (154 point). But, as expected, the Cowboys whipped an overmatched Howard Schnellenberger-coached Owl squad to improve to 3-0 for the third year in a row.

"It was a good win for us," said Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy. "Obviously, the defense played very well, (and) had a fast start, and put a lot of pressure on them. (They) slowed the running game down, put pressure on the quarterback and forced turnovers. (Our) offense started out slow and picked it up quicker than they did last week."

The Cowboys were 28-point favorites over the Owls after defeating Division I-AA Missouri State (52-10) and Arkansas State (35-7) the first two weeks of the season. Gundy was questioned early in the week about the Cowboys possibly overlooking the Owls with a dangerous trip to Houston looming in another seven days.

"I had a lot of questions last week about our group being overconfident and I don't see them being that way. I think they understand the task that is upcoming, and what we've had in the last few weeks," Gundy said. "The good news is we wouldn't have beat those teams by more than 10 or 12 points a year ago, so that is good. But we understand what's going on as a staff, and we have to play much better … when we go down and play this team in Houston."

OSU, now 3-0 for the third year in a row, dominated Florida Atlantic from midway through the first quarter. Freshman Perrish Cox's 25-yard punt return set up a short 19-yard drive that ended with Mike Hamilton scoring on a 6-yard run.

A few minutes later the Cowboy defense came up with a big play. From his own 5-yard line Florida Atlantic quarterback Sean Clayton dropped back to pass. OSU defensive end Marque Fountain and cornerback Martel Van Zant hit him in the end zone forcing a fumble, which linebacker Chris Collins picked up and ran three yards for a touchdown.

The Cowboys added 13 more points in the second quarter – a 69-yard catch and run by Adarius Bowman for a touchdown and field goals of 30 and 41 yards by Jason Ricks – to take a commanding 27-0 halftime lead.

OSU scored on its first two possessions of the second half – Hamilton scored on an impressive 10-yard run in which he bounced off several Owl defenders to get into the end zone and quarterback Bobby Reid waltzed into the end zone on a 9-yard run – before Gundy pulled his first-string offense.

The Cowboys added a touchdown in the fourth quarter when running back Dantrell Savage, playing for the first time this season after missing the first two game while nursing an injury, went 70 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

The first-team defense was exceptional for the third game in a row – and has yet to allow either a field goal or touchdown to be scored this season (Florida Atlantic's touchdown early in the fourth quarter came against the Cowboys' second-team defense).

"We knew after the spring we were going to have a good defensive line," said defensive end Marque Fountain, who had two quarterback sacks, four stops behind the line and forced the fumble which led to Collins' touchdown. "We know if everybody plays up to their ability our defensive line can be successful every game."

The Cowboys had five quarterback sacks, 11 tackles for losses, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Florida Atlantic finished with 215 yards of total offense (but most of the came after the game was out of reach), and averaged just 3.4 yards per play.

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