This truly is foreign territory for the Oklahoma State football team, which crushed Texas 38-26 last Saturday afternoon as 100,101 watched from Darrell Royal Memorial Stadium.
For the first time in school history, the Cowboys opened with consecutive 6-0 records.
Oklahoma State, ranked No. 4 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings, hope to climb the ladder and play in the title game.
Louisiana State is No. 1 in the BCS rankings, followed by Alabama and Oklahoma. The first two are in the Southeastern Conference, and will see each other early next month, while the Sooners and Cowboys reside in the Big 12, and have a date December 3 in Stillwater.
Of course, the victors in these matchups will have an upper hand in deciding which two will play for all the marbles.
“I don’t know if I’d go so far to say Oklahoma State controls its own destiny, but Oklahoma does,’’ said Jerry Palm, a BCS analyst for cbssports.com.
That’s because, even though the Cowboys are top-ranked with regard to the computer standings, there are teams that will improve based on their strength of schedule.
Oklahoma State is the nation’s most-prolific offense, was slighty out of sync, but still managed to tally five touchdowns. The 38 points were the most scored by a Cowboys’ squad in Austin.
Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden recently turned 28, played minor league baseball, threw one touchdown without an interception. Weeden completed 23 of 41 attempts for 218 yards.
Weeden’s 15-yard throw to wide receiver Justin Blackmon with 8:34 left in the second quarter capped a 72-yard, eight-play march and gave the Cowboys a 14-7 lead.
Blackmon (seven catches for 74 yards) is regarded by NFL scouts as a first-round pick.
Texas is coming off a 5-7 season and was undefeated after four games. Then came a 55-17 thrashing by Oklahoma, and now a 12-point drubbing by the Cowboys.
The Longhorns (4-2 and 1-2 in conference) are on the right path even with true freshman quarterback David Ash at the controls.
In his initial start, Ash performed decently, finishing with 139 passing yards, while hitting 22 of 40 passes. Ash was picked off twice and failed to throw a touchdown.
Ash’s first miscue set up Joseph Randle’s one-yard surge with 8:32 left in the opening quarter that gave the Cowboys (3-0 in conference) a 7-0 lead, but Texas tied it at 7-7 when Malcolm Brown (135 yards on 19 carries) punched it in from 15 yards out early in the second quarter.
Ash’s Statue of Liberty play resulted in Brown’s 24-yard dash with 10:43 left in the third quarter and cut Oklahoma State’s lead to 28-24.
The Cowboys responded with a 10-point rally as Quinn Sharp clubbed a 22-yard field goal with 6:53 left in the third quarter, and Jeremy Smith (140 yards on seven rushes) bolted for a 74-yard touchdown as 4:14 remained in the same quarter. Smith’s 30-yard run just before the half made it 21-10.
Justin Gilbert returned the second half kickoff for the Cowboys 100 yards that expanded the lead to 28-10, only to see Fozzy Whittaker return the favor with a 100-yard effort that made it an 11-point deficit.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.