HOUSTON --The tens of thousands of Oklahoma State fans knew as the clock dwindled down at the Houston Bowl, it was their turn to talk.
They waited impatiently as the post-game handshakes were completed, the alma mater had been sung and the orange-clad victors gathered at mid-field awaiting their trophy.
Then, as if they were fifth-graders in the school play waiting to be shoved onto the stage -- they took their cue.
As Rashaun Woods waved to his family on the front row, pumping his fists in the air emphatically, the chanting began.
"One more year, one more year, one more year," the crowd pleaded.
Even though Cowboy fans had experienced their first bowl victory for the first time in 14 years, they paused the long-awaited celebration for a moment. They stopped short of throwing streamers, because reality was looking them in the eye.
Panning through the crowd, Woods waved to the Cowboy supporters -- and they nervously waved back.
Hoping and praying that it wasn't a wave goodbye.
Perhaps the greatest wide receiver to ever don the OSU colors has the opportunity to set sail for the NFL waters -- a year earlier than fans would like.
And still, amid the hugs and smiles and happy tears -- they begged of him to run the length of Lewis Field for one more season.
"One more year, one more year, one more year," they yelled -- louder and louder than before.
Worried that he has nothing left to prove in the college ranks, the fans kept driving their hopes into his head.
As a junior, Woods has broken records that have stood nearly 15 years, replacing Hart Lee Dykes' name in many of OSU's receiving categories.
After the Houston Bowl statistics were tallied, Woods added 164 more yards to his career receiving totals, along with 2002 Houston Bowl MVP and Offensive Player of the Game honors. He is now the second player in OSU history to obtain over 3,000 receiving yards. He has already broken records in regular season catches, yards and he scored 17 times in 2002.
He is now the Big 12 Conference single-season leader in receptions, having snatched 107 passes this year. He is first-team All-Big 12, a Walter Camp All-American and was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist.
That isn't even the half of it. The numbers go on and on, multiplying in every game he plays.
No defender could contain him. Not even the 2002 Thorpe Award winner Terrence Newman.
He mystifies defenses in the toughest conference in the land. He, along with his teammates, give Cowboy fans hope of another Christmas excursion to a warm climate.
And, even though his numbers may give off the impression there is nothing left for him to accomplish in the NCAA -- Woods' offered a rebuttal that should make Cowboy fans smile for awhile.
"Somebody said to me earlier, ‘You don't have anything else to prove,'" Woods said following the bowl win over Southern Mississippi. "And to me, I really don't think it's about proving things in this game. It is about the game that you love to play and you play to love -- that's it.
"It's not about proving anything -- it is about having fun and playing the game that you love."
Maybe those with orange allegiance will get their Christmas wish after all.
One more year.
But -- just when folks think they have Woods figured out, he throws another curve ball.
Can't you still play the game you love in the NFL?
"Uh, yeah -- you can," he said with no emotion, giving nothing away. He simply stated the obvious.
Until Jan. 15, know one will know for sure. Maybe even Woods doesn't know what his plans will be.
The money is enticing, but as he has stated before, "I liked it in high school when no one cared about what I did."
That could be Cowboy fans' saving grace.
Let him alone, let him decide. He has heard your pleas of mercy.
"I'll answer questions about (the NFL draft) when the time comes," Woods said.
Rashaun also has to remember that Mama Woods is the official voice of her Millwood High School trio.
If her eldest stays at OSU for another bout, she has the opportunity to watch three of her sons on the same turf, working together to chase a Big 12 Championship.
Ah, and we know a good boy never forsakes his mama.
Woods is being touted as a 2003 preseason Heisman candidate.
And we also know what mama thinks about that particular trophy.
"I do have high standards," Juana Woods joked. "I told them, between the three of you, I should have at least one Heisman trophy on my fireplace."
Cowboy fans want to see a dynasty begin. Mama wants some hardware on her mantle.
One more year could do it.