HOUSTON -- Oklahoma State's defense showed up big against Southern Miss in the Houston Bowl through the inspired play of several standouts.
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams was the most dominant OSU defender. He finished with seven tackles and three sacks and took home the hardware for the 2002 Houston Bowl Defensive Player of the Game.
"K-dub (Williams) -- he's been consistent with this football team from start to finish," said Cowboy coach Les Miles. "His leadership has been quiet, his play has been spectacular. He is a very strong part of the accomplishments of this football team."
As a senior making his final appearance in college football, Williams said he was satisfied with his performance.
"I couldn't be any prouder of myself," Williams said. "Coach wanted me to step my game up second half, and I tried to do that --help my team out and my other players up front to make plays."
Williams had four tackles for losses in the game, and his teammates said his performance was typical of him.
"K-dub is great," said Greg Richmond, OSU defensive lineman. "He's gonna go down as one of the best D-lineman to ever play at Oklahoma State University. He has my vote.
"When the opportunity came for him to make plays, he just made ‘em. I mean you can't fault a guy for being himself and playing his game. I am glad he finished his senior year with a bowl game victory, and he went home with the MVP trophy for the defense."
Williams not only plays well, but is also the defensive leader for the team.
"He's the leader on the field by the way he plays," said OSU defensive back Chris Massey. "He's soft spoken and real quiet, but when we get onto that field, you can tell who the leader on the field is."
Williams said he's not big on running his mouth and telling somebody else what to do.
"Hopefully, they'll take it upon themselves to see if I'm going to play hard enough to do stuff that I'm supposed to do, then they'll take on to that," Williams said.
Williams tied for the lead in sacks this season with seven and was first team All Big 12.
"He's the man up front, I mean, he showcased it today as the defensive player of the game," Massey said. "My roommate and my road dog, we gonna' stick together forever. That's my boy."
Other defensive players that stepped up in the bowl game included Richmond, Massey and cornerback Darrent Williams.
Richmond had six tackles and one sack in the game, and wants to make himself and the defense better for next year.
"I am gonna' sit down and focus this spring and focus on what I have to do to get better," Richmond said. "If i improve, this defense improves. I'm just gonna go out and just work hard and do what it takes to get to get my team to another bowl game."
Massey led the team with nine tackles in his final game, and Darrent Williams had the only turnover for the Cowboys, an interception midway through the first quarter.