Ricks Gives Cowboys The Win

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State's football team lost four games on the final play of the 2006 season. But they are learning how to win the close games. The Cowboys drove for the game-winning points in the game's final 1:10 Saturday night against 25th-ranked Kansas State as Jason Ricks kicked a 26-yard field goal with two seconds remaining to give OSU a 41-39 victory.

The victory – the Cowboys' third in the last four games since beginning 1-2 – kept them in a tie for first place in the Big 12 Conference's South Division with a 3-1 league record. Mike Gundy's team improved to 5-3 overall.

The game-winning kick by Ricks was similar to OSU's victory over Alabama in the Independence Bowl last December, when the Cowboy kicker won the game with a last-second field goal.

The Cowboys trailed 39-38 after K-State scored what appeared to be a game-tying touchdown with 1:10 left to play. But Wildcat head coach Ron Prince decided to go for a two-point conversion, and a possible win. Quarterback Josh Freeman's two-point conversion pass to Jordy Nelson was good as the Wildcats took the one-point lead.

But after Tommy Devereaux's 29-yard kickoff return gave them the ball at their own 42-yard line, the Cowboys drove the length of the field for Ricks' winning kick with two seconds left on the clock. Quarterback Zac Robinson had a 14-yard scramble on the first play, and then moments later connected with running back Dantrell Savage on the biggest play of the game.

Savage made a great catch over K-State linebacker John Houlik for a 24-yard gain to the KSU 18-yard line. Two running plays later the Cowboys lined up for the game-winning field goal from the 9. But Prince called three consecutive timeouts in an attempt to ice Ricks, and OSU snapper Zach Allen and holder Cole Reynolds.

It didn't work as Allen, Reynolds and Ricks performed just as they practice each and every day without 41,725 fans like there were Saturday night in the stands of Boone Pickens Stadium.

"Obviously the kicker (did a great job) but you've got a snapper and a holder sitting there too. Zach Allen has been super and Cole Reynolds, who is our holder, was awesome," Gundy said. "But even with Ricks, when they call that many timeouts it can wear on you. But that's something that we practice every day, and the reason we do it is because when you get in a situation like that you have to perform and you have to make the play."

The Cowboy playmakers were sensational all night long. Robinson struggled throwing the ball, completing just 11 of 25 passes for 181 yards, but he made the big plays on the game's winning drive.

"That's the most important thing for a quarterback – to find a way to win at the end," Gundy said of Robinson who finished with 109 rushing yards.

But the OSU quarterback wasn't the only one making big plays Saturday night.

Savage surpassed the 100-yard mark in rushing for the fourth consecutive game (124 yards on 28 carries), and had the huge 24-yard reception to set up the game-winning field goal.

Brandon Pettigrew had just one catch but it was a huge one. He made a sensational 39-yard catch and run for a touchdown to put the Cowboys up 38-31 with 4:09 remaining.

Freshman receiver Dez Bryant may have only caught three passes, but two of them went for touchdowns, including an outstanding 10-yard catch and run to give the Cowboys a 31-28 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore Perrish Cox was burnt by K-State receiver Jordy Nelson for a 46-yard touchdown early in the second quarter but returned the next kickoff 98 yards for a TD to erase a 14-point deficit.

"You want the guy that has the chance to make a play to touch the ball, and fortunately we've three or four of them – Pettigrew can do it, Bowman can do it, Dez is learning how to do it, and 22 (Savage) can do it, and 11 (Robinson) can do it. They've all been able to make plays," Gundy said.

"It's a tribute to our players to come back with 1:10 (left in the game)," Gundy said. "It was a great call by Coach Prince; a gutsy call on his part, and very well planned to go for two.

"We've come a long way as a football team, and I'm proud of them for that. The seniors are great leaders, and the players that step up and make plays like that at the end of the game are real players. When you have guys like that you've got a chance every time you go on the field."

The Cowboys have a week off before returning to Boone Pickens Stadium to face Texas on Nov. 3.

GoPokes Top Stories