Cowboys Get ‘Special' Win In Season Opener

Oklahoma State's special teams haven't been much to talk about in recent seasons. But Dan Bailey, Dez Bryant, Perrish Cox and Ricky Price put the "special" back in the Cowboys' special teams on Saturday as Oklahoma State opened the 2008 football season with a 39-13 victory over Washington State at Qwest Field in Seattle.

Bailey was perfect on all three of his field goal attempts – two of which were set up on long punt returns by Bryant and Price – and Cox went untouched on a 90-yard kickoff return in the third quarter when the Cougars appeared ready to make a game of it. Cox's touchdown return – the third of his Cowboy career – came after Washington State had pulled within 18-6 with less than six minutes to play in the third quarter.

But it wasn't just the special teams who shined for the Cowboys. Quarterback Zac Robinson was 20-of-27 passing for 193 yards, running back Kendall Hunter rushed for 107 yards and a pair of TDs, and wide receiver Dez Bryant caught seven passes for 90 yards (and was so dominant that the Cougar cornerbacks also were called for two pass interference penalties).

The much-maligned OSU defense in recent seasons also put on quite a show, limiting the Cougars to just 52 yards in the first half. Cowboy defensive end Derek Burton and defensive tackle Jeray Chatham teamed up for a safety midway through the second quarter – after yet another special team play when punter Matt Fodge's punt was downed at the 5-yard line.

Burton was not touched and hit Washington State running back Dwight Tardy in the end zone right after he took the handoff from quarterback Gary Rogers, but the Cougar junior bounced off the hit and tried to bounce outside. But Chatham was waiting for him and tackled him a couple of yards in the end zone for the safety to give the Cowboys a 12-0 lead.

Oklahoma State took a lead 3-0 on Bailey's 26-yard field goal on its first possession of the game. The Cowboy defense forced Washington State's Dan Wagner's short punt, which Bryant returned 41 yards to the WSU 26-yard line. Despite having a second-and-goal from the 1-yard line, the Cowboys were forced to settle for Bailey's field goal with 8:48 left in the first quarter.

The Cowboys next score came early in the second quarter when Robinson directed an eight-play, 68-yard drive which culminated with Hunter taking the pitch and scampering 11 yards into the end zone for the TD.

The defense added the two-point safety and the OSU offense used the final 4:29 of the first half, marching from the Cowboy 40 to the Cougar 4-yard line which culminated with Bailey making his second field goal of the day – from 21 yards – as the clock expired in the first half to put the Cowboys up 15-0 at halftime.

OSU's defense forced a three-and-out after the only Cowboy turnover of the day early in the third quarter. Price, the senior from Houston, caught WSU's punt on his own 15-yard line and followed the blocks of his teammates for 67 yards before Washington State's Tali Talakai made a touchdown-saving tackle at the 18. Bailey's 27-yard field goal just a few plays later gave the Cowboys an 18-0 lead.

Cox's 90-yard kickoff return, Robinson's 1-yard quarterback sneak and Hunter's 10-yard run all resulted in second-half touchdowns for the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State now returns to Stillwater for four consecutive home games at Boone Pickens Stadium, and won't return to the road until making the trip to Missouri on Oct. 11. The Cowboys' home opener is next Saturday, Sept. 6, against Houston, and is followed by games against Missouri State (Sept. 13), Troy (Sept. 27) and Texas A&M (Oct. 4).

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