September 9, 2007

Sweet home cookin'

STILLWATER - It took only 14 seconds for the maligned Oklahoma State defense to make waves in the second game of the 2007 season.

Cowboy Andre Sexton picked off Florida Atlantic's Sean Clayton and returned it 14 yards to give OSU an early 7-0 lead, before pulling away to defeat the Owls 42-6 in front of 38,176 fans inside Boone Pickens Stadium.

That score turned out to be an early blessing for the Cowboy offense, which got off to a sputtering start against the Owls in the first quarter, posting only 48 yards of total offense. But 13 of those came off a nice run by Bobby Reid to FAU's 11-yard-line. That led to a five-yard Keith Toston touchdown, but the drive hurt the Cowboys even after the lead jumped to 14-3, because Reid was injured and ended up not returning to the game. His injury was not known Saturday night.

Enter Zac Robinson, who ended up throwing a nice relief effort in place of Reid. After that sluggish offensive start for OSU (1-1), the Pokes took off with Robinson under center, who ended up with 250 yards and three touchdowns and one interception on 14-of-20 passing. Whatever the reason, the offense started to put things together after Robinson's entrance, and the Pokes separated from the Owls (1-1) as the game went on.

Did the tempo improve because of the change in QBs?

"We upped tempo a little bit, but we never got anything going prior to that with Bobby in there, I don't think, to get our tempo going," head coach Mike Gundy said. "We never really got things moving to where we could get our tempo going. Last week I said every time we started to get something going we had a penalty or we busted a protection or something, so we never got to move fast. But we played a little better tonight, so we had a chance to move fast."

He only played in the first quarter, but Gundy said Reid looked off while he was in there.

"It didn't look like he played very steady before he got hurt," he said. "He did run better."

Reid's numbers for the night were small. He had five yards on two-of-five passing and four rushes for 32 yards.

As for Robinson, offensive coordinator Larry Fedora was pleased with his effort and ability to come into a game off the bench.

"Zac did a nice job," Fedora said. "He did just like he did like he did coming into the A&M game. He managed the team well. He threw the ball well. He made one mistake that I know of, that I remember."

That mistake Fedora was talking about was the interception he threw at the start of the fourth quarter. But even with that INT, he had plenty of nice passes, including two touchdowns to Adarius Bowman, both of which were interesting in their own ways. The first was a lob pass to the corner of the end zone which Bowman caught, made a few steps and then was stripped by the Owl defense. The play ended up being reviewed, and after quite some time, it was overturned and the score stood. The other TD pass went down the middle of the field, with Bowman catching it, breaking two tackles and jumping out of a near-shoestring tackle for a 77 yard score. In all, Bowman had six receptions for 135 yards and the two scores.

Robinson was especially surprised by the last score, as he thought the play was over a couple of times.

"That was unbelievable," Robinson said. "I threw it and I kind of squeezed it in there a little bit. He made a great catch. He was going and I saw him break the first two tackles. Then I thought that last guy definitely had him down, so I was looking toward the sideline for the next play, and he busted out of it. I was just fired up because he made a great play."

As far as defensive numbers, the Cowboys only allowed 203 yards. The defense came out the sharpest at the start of the game and played well throughout, keeping the Owls to only two field goals.

"We did things really great tonight against a team that's really improved," Sexton said. "We came out there and focused on little things like tackling and effort, and those things that we can control. The great thing about it is when we were up and our backups came in, they followed in our footsteps also. They came out there with the same enthusiasm; they didn't give up any big plays and that's what we wanted to see."

Next up for the Cowboys is a Friday night nationally-televised contest on the road against Troy.

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