It's Bedlam Week

The night ended late with the charter flight carrying the Oklahoma State Cowboys home from the 45-14 vitory over Baylor arriving around 1 a.m. Sunday. By 8 a.m. the computers throughout the OSU football offices were all involved in complete review and grading of the win over Baylor, and before noon most of those computers were being used to look at OU game video. It is officially Bedlam week.

Oklahoma State visits Oklahoma on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in a nationally televised game on Fox Sports Net.

"I think Perrish Cox said it best with what I read in the newspaper (this morning)," said associate head coach Joe DeForest pinch hitting for head coach Mike Gundy on the Sunday teleconference with the Cowboy beat reporters.

"Everybody has been holding their breath. Our players, even with a lead, have been playing tense at times. Perrish said everybody can sigh and breath now. By getting the sixth win I think our players can play more loose and aggressive. They can just go out there and cut it loose this week in the game with OU."

It is a thinner group of Cowboys as the regular season winds down. Missing from the travel squad to Waco for the win over Baylor were backup linebacker Marcus Brown, third-team tight end Paschal Smith, backup cornerback Calvin Mickens, and one-time starting wide receiver Jeremy Broadway. Nothing has been confirmed or announced but Brown and Smith have been rumored to be off the team. Broadway and Mickens were suspended for one game (Kansas) because of a violation of team rules.

DeForest said he had no information on the situation involving those players and that only Gundy could comment on that.

DeForest, who handles cornerbacks and coordinates special teams, was just as proud of the defensive effort at Baylor, in which the Cowboys shut out the Bears in the second half. Overall, the defense had six three-and-out defensive stints, sacked Baylor five times, and came up with two interceptions, one that set up an easy OSU touchdown and the other that kept Baylor out of the end zone.

"I thought we played really good on defense," said DeForest. "We made Baylor throw the ball in front of us and then broke well on the ball, and made tackles. We showed real improvement on defense."

Since allowing Texas Tech a record 716 yards in the conference opener the OSU defense has climbed back to improve is some conference defensive stats as they currently are eighth in rushing defense (158.6 yards per game), 10th in total defense (482.4 yard per game) and seventh in scoring defense (31 points per game). Those numbers are by no means satisfactory, but they have improved some.

"I thought last night showed real improvement," added DeForest. "Our kids are confident. Our kids will be up to play this next opponent and whether it is for the 12th win of the season or the seventh. They'll play hard no matter what."

There is no question about that as the Cowboys were celebratory in the locker room in Waco following the game. The sixth win and bowl eligibility is important, and playing hard, despite any disruptions or obstacles is very important to some of the key leaders on this football team like senior offensive guard David Koenig and senior defensive end Nate Peterson, who tied career highs against Baylor with three sacks and five tackles for loss.

"I've had that conversation with Dave (Koenig) before that this is our last year and we want to make the best we possibly can," said Peterson, who lamented that he had shots at two more sacks and didn't convert. "Becoming bowl eligible with one more game left in the (regular) season is good for us. From here on all we want to do is better our bowl situation next week."

"I think (the effort) comes with the upperclassmen and some of our leaders and those guys coming together and having the others follow," said Koenig of this team's resiliency and perseverance. "This (getting bowl eligible) was important for the older guys and, more importantly, for the younger guys to see them off with a bowl."

DeForest and Gundy are the only coaches and there are no players that were part of Bedlam wins in 2001 and 2002. DeForest added that this could be a major win for the program next Saturday.

"It means a lot," said DeForest. "No matter what bowl game we go to, but just that we win this next game. Winning in Norman and finishing with one more win than we had going to a bowl game the previous year shows improvement for the program."

DeForest remembers the 16-13 victory in Norman at the end of his first year on the coaching staff and what an emotional lift that was for everybody.

"It was a great experienced, very emotional win for me in my first Bedlam experience," DeForest added.

There is no doubt that it would be emotional this time around as well, especially for departing seniors like Koenig, Peterson, Donovan Woods, Jeremy Nethon, Marque Fountain, Dantrell Savage, Martel Van Zant, Rod Johnson, Mo Cummings, all of the Oklahoma State players, coaches, and fans too.

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