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The Goal - See 'em all!
Cowboys gun down Red Raiders in a Wild west shoot-out, 49-45;
Oklahoma State becomes CFF Team #117!
Stillwater, OK - Two offenses totaled 94 points and 1,328 total yards as the Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-2, 1-0)) defeated the Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-1, 0-1) in the Big 12 opener of 2007 before a predominately "Orange" crowd of 37,850 football fans who stayed until the final seconds of the game. The defenses decided to show up and play a little in the second half after both thwarted only one drive each during the first thirty minutes. The game wasn't holstered until a fourth and ten pass glanced off the shoulder pad of Tech's WR Mike Crabtree (14 catches, 237 yards, 3 TDs) in the end zone for a potential final six points for the Raiders with only 19 seconds left! The win sent Evan Chase Stewart and all the other die-hard OSU Cowboy fans home happily from T. Boone Pickens Stadium. For Collegefootballfan.com, it was the type of game we initially anticipated when we booked the game to see State participate as our 117th team to reach The Goal, but the Cowboy loss to Troy State the previous week and the loss of starting QB Bobby Reid replaced by second time starter Zac Robinson combined with a lackluster defense made us wonder if we were coming all the way to Stillwater to regretfully watch a blow-out! But the Soph QB went yard for yard through the air and on the ground with Texas Tech's Graham Harrell who came in leading the nation in passing yards with 1,317, while Tech averaged 51 points of offense per game. Robinson aptly replaced the injured Bobby Reid in his second start completing 16 of 32 for 211 yards and 2 TDs via the air and gaining 116 yards and 2TDs over the turf. Harrell performed better than expected too, finishing with 46 completions of 67 for 646 yards and 5 TDs. The yardage amounted to the fourth highest ever in Bowl Division game history! However, his defense lacked luster just like OSU's.
The first half turned out to be an offensive free-for-all as the two teams combined for nine touchdowns for a 35-28 Red Raider lead at the ]half. OSU's defense forced one punt and TTU intercepted a pass for the only two defensive "highlights" during the first half. To summarize, the first half went like this:
-Tech, 9-yard pass to Crabtree, Trlica kick: it was the fourth time in four games that the Raiders scored a TD on their opening drive.
-State, 4-yard TD run by Dantrell Savage (13 carries, 116 yards, 2 TDs), Ricks kick: Bullet's first gallop around the field!
-Tech, 6-yard TD run by Shannon Woods (kick): immediately following a 75-yard pass from Harrell to Crabtree on a third and ten to the OSU six.
-State, 5-yard high-arching spot pass to WR Dez Bryant (kick): followed a 15-yard interference call to move the ball from the fifteen to the five ten seconds into the second period. What ever happened to half the distance? Is it different with interference? We have to look this up.
-State, defensive highlight! Tech punts from their 44 after gaining only 16 yards.
-State, 46-yard TD run by Kendall Hunter (kick): Frosh RB slips tackles and gets good downfield blocking.
-Tech, 3-yard TD pass to Crabtree (kick): slant-out pass completes a 74-yard drive.
-State, 48-yard run by Robinson (kick): called a QB draw on third and eleven.
-Tech, 12-yard TD pass to Eric Morris (kick): this scoring stuff is getting old!
-Tech, defensive highlight! DB Jamar Walls makes a leaping, twisting diving INT to halt State's next drive at his own 14-yard line.
-Tech, 2-yard TD pass to Crabtree: on the out pattern, Harrell fakes a spike first. The drive goes 86 yards in 15 seconds leaving only :13 on the board.
Halftime - Tech leads State, 35-28.
Call it dirty, call it unnecessary, call it dastardly, but I attended a game where Hall of Famer Dan Marino did the same fake, spike move in a Miami Dolphin victory over the New York Jets for a game-winner at the Meadowlands. The OSU Cowboy band stripped off orange tunics in the broiling, hot sun, and played big band favorites by Sinatra, Ellington, and Goodman. Now back to second half action when two defenses decided to participate a little more.
Tech stopped State on a fourth and one at their own 39 when Head Coach Mike Gundy made a questionable call to go for broke by throwing a long pas over the middle that fell incomplete. In similar situations before and after that errant call, the Cowboys successfully converted on third and short every time as they would break the huddle quickly, overload the backfield to the left side or the right, and on a quick count, the tailback would follow his two lead blockers through the designated side behind the tackle to the strong side for an OSU first down. Can't figure why he didn't do the same thing here to get another four downs. Tech took over from there and fared no better though as they lost a fumble to the Cowboys down at the OSU 30. The game was getting out of hand now. State drove back to the 26 where PK Jason Ricks, who doubles as a team tri-captain, attempted a 42-yard FG that caromed back off the left upright to leave the score at 35-28. Tech followed suit in the still scoreless third quarter gaining a first down on a third and ten with an 18-yard pass to Crabtree to get to State's 37, but on fourth and three at the 30, the Cowboy defense actually set Tech back two yards! After combining for 63 points in the first half, it looked as if neither would score in the third until the Cowboys broke the sudden stalemate as the Cowboys overloaded the backfield to the left, Robinson faked a hand-off to the tailback, reverse-rolled to the right, and finished a 68-yard scoring drive with an 11-yard TD run to tie the score, 35-35, with 1:15 left in the period. The PA announcer informed the crowd that both teams had already combined for over 1,000 yards before the final period began, but the two scoring machines were only priming for a grand finale!
Tech attempted to score to start the period with Trlica's 51-yard FG attempt, but it was no good. OSU netted one yard on the following drive and punted. Tech took over at their own 37 before fumbling the ball away at their own 38. Would these two offenses stall for the balance of the game only to be forced to settle their score in OT? The Cowboys could wait no longer. Robinson pitched to WR Seth Newton on and end around option play where Newton fired the ball 33 yards to streaking WR Jeremy Broadway down the right sideline for an OSU TD and a tenuous 42-35 lead. An unsportsmanlike call against All-America WR Adarius Bowman (only 1catch for 4 yards) set the Cowboys ensuing kickoff back to the 15-yard line and the Raiders took advantage returning the ball out to the 45. From there, it didn't take the long for the Red Raiders to retaliate as Graham hooked up with WR Danny Amendola (14 catches for 23 yards) for a 41-yard TD pass as the wide-out leapt in for the tying score from about the five-yard line. OSU next drove to the Tech 40 where a questionable spot from my angle, four rows from the top of the stadium at the five-yard line on the south side, halted a Cowboy drive to re-take the lead. Tech countered and moved to the Cowboys' three where Trlica converted the first successful FG of the day with a 20-yarder. The Raiders from Lubbock, TX led again, 45-42, but 4:46 still remained. OSU didn't move and punted for only the second time in the game from its own 18. It was an excellent kick by well-rested P Matt Fodge who put the Raiders back on their own 17. The Cowboy defense was playing better now. On third down and seven, CB Jacob Lacey broke up Graham's pass and forced Tech to punt for a second time, and they took over on their own 20. At about this time, a curious Evan Stewart sitting next to me finally questioned my note-taking. When Collegefootballfan.com was explained to him, the young Cowboy fan asked for a plug in this report. The die-hard later clarified that Chase is his middle name. Maybe in ten years he'll be wearing the orange and black of the Cowboys down on the OSU home turf. With 1:37 left in the game, Robinson fired a pass to his 6'6" TE Brandon Pettigrew who snatched the ball from the grasp of a TTU defender and rambled 55 yards for a TD to take another tenuous 49-45 Cowboy lead. Bullet, unbeknownst to us, galloped around the playing surface one final time. Tenuous, you wonder? The Raiders needed only 15 ticks before the first half ended to drive 86 yards for a TD. The Raiders not only had an ample 1:28 remaining with the ball on their own 28, they had two time-outs remaining to (Cowboy?) boot! A 40-yard pass play took them down to the OSU 18 quickly, but the Cowboy defense held the Raiders to a fourth down at the fifteen after two incompletions and a run. Graham sat back in the pocket to fire toward his favorite target Michael Crabtree over the middle where the ball might have slightly been touched by FS Ricky Price, but the ball glanced off the Freshman receiver's shoulder pad to end Tech's final offensive threat! TTU finally used its last two time-outs over the last :19 while OSU took three knees to run out the clock. The shoot-out officially ended! The Cowboys successfully defended their home and a chance to turn around their early season struggles against the well-armed Raiders. For Collegefootballfan.com, the most expensive game ticket we ever purchased at $85 paid off in a thrilling shoot-out down to the last minute of play (although I do have to thank my Rec League boys' basketball team for their gift card at the end of last season which covered most of that cost!).
The Red Raiders return to Lubbock to toy with 0-4 Championship Division Northwestern State before immersing themselves in more Big 12 challenges. Their last two games this season are against Texas and Oklahoma. The Cowboys stay home next week to host Championship division Sam Houston State in their final non-conference game. We go to Cousin Kelly's wedding in Orlando next Friday and will tie in a side trip on Saturday to see 2-1 Central Florida host UL-Lafayette (0-4) in new Bright House Network Stadium on the CFU campus. Evan C. Stewart went home a happy Cowboy fan, but according to Sunday's Tulsa World report, two head coaches were stewing in their own juices after this game!
Extra points: Not only did the costly seat pay dividends with an exciting game, the seat placed me under the shade of the south stands for the duration of the game. Parents sitting next to me received cell phone calls about the agonizingly hot sun from their OSU students across the way. Four rows from the top, we got some comforting breezes up there once in a while, too. Give-away hand fans could be seen flapping vigorously throughout the student section where kids sat in the broiling, 90 °F temperatures.
An OSU pre-game radio show on the way to Stillwater discussed Cowboy fans questioning QB Bobby Reid's fortitude for not playing. After the game, it HC Mike Gundy was fuming over that rumor supposedly started by a particular newspaper reporter and refused to answer media questions. He met with the Tulsa World reporter separately after the game. Gundy purported any such statements were lies. Reid made several appearances during the game as a receiver, but when healthy, OSU should be in good shape with two QBs who can probably run the same diverse offense without skipping a beat!
This was the one and only Big 12 game scheduled this day. Of course, the Cowboys now lead the conference at 1-0 as the Raiders fall to the bottom at 0-1 with everyone else standing at 0-0. With our plan to hit four games in Texas during Bowl Week, three games will feature Big 12 teams. Oklahoma could be destined for a BCS bid and will take a big step in that direction depending on the result of their tussle with Texas. Most likely, we're guaranteed to see at least one of the other three Big 12 teams on our regular season slate this year- K-State, OSU, or Tech- among the competitors for the Texas, Alamo, and Cotton Bowls.
T. Boone Pickens Stadium is still under construction at the west end of the stadium where plans call for expansion up to 60,000. To fill it they'll evidently have to start selling tickets at lower prices. I'll say this though, the seats and aisles offer much more room for comfort than many other college stadiums we've been to where seats are especially narrow when everyone throws on layers of clothing for cold-weather games.
Stopped for beers, shade and score updates before and after the game at the Stonewall Tavern just a stone's throw from T.B.P. Stadium. Seeing all the empty seats on TV at Raymond James Stadium during the South Florida-North Carolina game just has my mind whirling how I can get to the USF-WVU game Friday night as Cousin Kelly's wedding party finishes at 6 pm in Orlando. This is very tempting! Stopped at Shortcake's Diner for dinner on the way out of town - good post game food, but no strawberry shortcakes!
OSU's mascot, Pistol Pete, blasts a shot gun, not a six-shooter, to signal the start of an OSU fight song. Bullet, a beautiful, black Stallion (I guess) carries a rider with the OSU flag as he gallops on the Pro-turf after every Cowboy score. Like real Cowboys, a rodeo chute opens when the Cowboys burst o to the field before the game starts. Cool cheer from alternating sides of T.B.P. Stadium - "Orange!", response, "Power!" They love Orange in Stillwater.
Before the game, OSU introduced its Top 10 Women and Men from the freshman class, but Top 10 in what? SAT Scores? Looks? They're not in school long enough to have GPAs!
Before the game, OSU introduced 1963 Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach before the game,. The former USNA QB and Dallas Cowboy stood on the field in Orange and Black Cowboy gear. "From one Cowboy family to another." the PA announcer chimed, "America's team!" He was referring to the Dallas Cowboys. I was thinking "Navy"! I've seen Roger in Annapolis tossing balls to the Brigade at Homecoming there. Maybe he'll be there again this Oct. 20 to see the Wake Forest game. It turns out that he is a friend and a guest of T. Boone himself.
Speaking of orange and black, call me crazy, but either spontaneous generation takes place after Cowboy scores or some avid fan releases a Monarch Butterfly. I saw this occur several times, but not every time they scored. They flew up from below my seat in section D. Imagine a whole swarm (or is it a flock?) to be released at one time.
Graham Harrell's 646 passing yards was the fourth best ever in Bowl Division history. Can you believe it's only the second best performance ever by a Tech QB? B.J. Symons holds the school record for third overall with 661 in 2003 against Mississippi. We saw Symons throw that same season for 586 yards in a 49-21 loss to NC State and Phil Rivers when we added the Raiders to The Goal!
Three OSU RBS ran 100+ yards in this game. TB Dantrell Savage who seems to cover up before he gets hit had 130. Robinson mixed in 116 yards along with 211 passing, and freshman Kendall Hunter looked good with 113. This bodes the question, who can TTU stop in Big 12 play? We look forward to comparing rushing stats against the rest of TTU's Big 12's opponents!
Like Oklahoma's band, State's band played the song "Oklahoma!" featured in the Broadway play. However, the fans don't finish the song the same with "Oklahoma, OK!", Cowboy fans sing, "Oklahoma, STA-ATE!"