Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

2006 Oklahoma State Cowboys

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 30, 2006


2006 Oklahoma State Cowboys Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews



Dec. 28
Independence Bowl
Oklahoma State 34 ... Alabama 31

Oklahoma State's Jason Ricks nailed a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds to play to break a 31-31 tie and prevent a fourth quarter collapse. Down 31-17 with under 11 minutes to play after OSU scored on a ten-yard Adarius Bowman touchdown, Alabama's Javier Arenas took a punt 86 yards for a touchdown. The Tide scored again after recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and using a little trickery with tackle Andre Smith catching for a two-yard touchdown pass. Despite how close the game became, the Cowboys never trailed helped by two second quarter Keith Toston touchdown runs and a one-yard Dantrell Savage dash to open up the scoring. Alabama was outgained 419 yards to 276.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma State RB Dantrell Savage ran 19 times for 112 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 41 yards
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma - Passing: Paul Thompson, 7-11, 77 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Allen Patrick, 23-163, 1 TD  Receiving: Manuel Johnson, 2-19
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 15-29, 212 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Dantrell Savage, 19-112, 1 TD  Receiving: Brandon Pettigrew, 4-65

Notes and Thoughts ...
Oklahoma State showed excellent offensive balance throughout the game, but two big breakdowns in the fourth quarter made the score closer than it should've been. Give the team credit for coming through with the late scoring drive it needed to win the game when many teams would've folded after a major momentum swing. ... And so ends the bizarre, disappointing season of Alabama's Ken Darby, who only gained 15 yards on ten carries. The aggressive OSU defense did a great job of getting into the backfield, and even though there were only two sacks, the consistent pressure made a difference. ... Bama's offense needs more explosion. It has the receivers and John Parker Wilson has the potential to be a more-than-solid passer. The first thing the new coach has to do it find the pop. When offensive tackle Andre Smith is your most dangerous option in the red zone, there's a problem.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 4-8
2006 Record: 7
-6
Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 Missouri State W 52-10
9/9 at Arkansas St W 35-7
9/16 Florida Atlantic W 48-8
9/23 at Houston L 34-25
10/7 at Kansas State L 31-27
10/14 at Kansas W 42-32
10/21 Texas A&M L 34-33 OT
10/28 Nebraska W 41-29
11/4 at Texas L 36-10
11/11 Baylor W 66-24
11/18 at Texas Tech L 30-24
11/25 Oklahoma L 27-21
12/28 Independence Bowl
Alabama W 34-21

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 5-6
2005 Record: 4-7

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 Montana State  W 15-10
9/10 at Fla Atlantic W 23-3
9/17 Arkansas State W 20-10
10/1 Colorado L 34-0
10/6 Missouri L 38-31
10/15 at Texas A&M L 62-23
10/22 at Iowa State L 37-10
10/29 Texas L 47-28
11/12 Texas Tech W 24-17
11/19 at Baylor L 44-34
11/26 at Oklahoma L 42-14

Nov. 25
Oklahoma 27 ... Oklahoma State 21
Oklahoma got two Chris Brown touchdown runs and a breathtaking Allen Patrick 65-yard Allen Patrick scoring dash on the second play of the second half, but had to hold on surviving a goal line stand and a last second 25-yard pass that just went off the hands of OSU WR D'Juan Woods in the back of the end zone. The Cowboys started off the scoring with a five-yard Dantrell Savage touchdown run after a 12-play, 79-yard drive, got a one-yard Bobby Reid scoring run and a two-yard pass to Woods. The key moment, until the final missed pass, was early in the fourth when the Sooners stuffed the Cowboys four times from inside the two finishing off with a fumble on fourth down.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma RB Allen Patrick ran 23 times for 163 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma - Passing: Paul Thompson, 7-11, 77 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Allen Patrick, 23-163, 1 TD  Receiving: Manuel Johnson, 2-19
Oklahoma State - Passing: Zac Robinson, 8-17, 149 yds
Rushing:
Dantrell Savage, 16-49, 1 TD  Receiving: D'Juan Woods, 6-95, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Oklahoma State might have lost to OU, but it sure put up a major battle. The passing attack was stunningly effective when the ground game wasn't humming like the team might have wanted with Zac Robinson and Bobby Reid throwing equally well. The team could've gone into the tank after getting blown by for a long early second half touchdown run and after getting stuffed on a big OU goal line stand. Even at 6-6, the team proved it's more than good enough to be considered among the league's better teams, but it has to build on the momentum of a tight loss with a bowl win.

Nov. 18
Texas Tech 30 ... Oklahoma State 24
Oklahoma State got out to a 17-0 lead on scoring runs from Dantrell Savage and Bobby Reid, but Texas Tech roared back with a 27-point run on two Graham Harrell touchdown passes to Robert Johnson a one-yard Shannon Woods run and two Alex Trlica field goals. The Cowboys got back in it on a 34-yard Adarius Bowman touchdown catch, but the Red Raiders put it away for good on a 23-yard Trilca kick. A Dercel McBath interception stopped one of OSU's final scoring chances, and Reid misfired in the end zone on the game's final pass.
Player of the game ... Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell was 28-of-44 for 353 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 11-31, 145 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Dantrell Savage, 22-120, 1 TD  Receiving: D’Juan Woods, 8-77
Texas Tech - Passing: Graham Harrell, 28-44, 353 yds, 2 TDs
Rushing:
Shannon Woods, 15-84, 1 TD  Receiving: Robert Johnson, 8-108, 2 TDs

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Everything appeared to be set up perfectly for OSU. With its running game, and a 17-0 lead on Texas Tech, the offense should’ve been able to pound the ball and control the clock while keeping the Red Raiders off the field. It didn’t happen. The defensive front didn’t generate enough pressure allowing the secondary to get lit up like a Christmas tree, but the bigger problem was the play of Bobby Reid. Under pressure, he was off throughout the second half and wasn’t able to keep up with Tech’s offensive pace. He needs to be much sharper against Oklahoma next week.

Nov. 11
Oklahoma State 66 ... Baylor 24
Oklahoma State converted five Baylor turnovers into touchdowns and finished with six takeaways in the blowout win. Tied at three in the first quarter, OSU went on a 48-point run with two Keith Toston touchdown runs, two Bobby Reid touchdown passes to Brandon Pettigrew, and in the first four minutes of the second half, a 23-yard Darnell Smith interception return for a touchdown and a 57-yard Donovan Woods fumble recovery for a score. Down 52-3, the Bears got two Blake Szymanski touchdown passes with an eight-yard Paul Mosley scoring run.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma State RBs Dantrell Savage and Keith Toston combined for 208 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries
Stat Leaders: Baylor - Passing: Blake Szymanski, 24-41, 262 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Paul Mosley, 8-62, 1 TD. Receiving: Carl Sims, 7-62
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 9-10, 88 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
Dantrell Savage, 13-116, 1 TD  Receiving: Brandon Pettigrew, 3-33, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Oklahoma State still has work to do with Texas Tech and Oklahoma ahead, but to be bowl eligible is a great step in the Mike Gundy era. The offense continues to show its explosive ability capitalizing on every Baylor mistake to turn the game into an embarrassing blowout in a hurry. Bobby Reid was ultra-efficient, but it was the play of the offensive line opening up hole after hole for the running game that put an end to the game. If the ground attack can be as effective next week, the Cowboys will have a great chance to pull of the win in Lubbock.

Nov. 4
Texas 36 ... Oklahoma State 10
Texas dominated Oklahoma State cranking out 510 yards of total offense with Colt McCoy pitching a nearly perfect game throwing two second quarter touchdowns and answering an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Grant Jones with a 27-yard scoring pass to Jermichael Finley. Jamaal Charles closed it out with a nine-yard scoring run following an Aaron Ross interception of Bobby Reid. OSU was held to 203 yards and turned it over three times.
Player of the game ... Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 23 of 29 passes fro 346 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 23-29, 346 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 21-67, 1 TD. Receiving: Billy Pittman, 7-88, 1 TD
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 11-28, 123 yds, 2 INT
Rushing:
Keith Toston, 7-48  Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 5-66
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Oklahoma State has played well over the last several weeks, but now it knows where it stands compared to a national title caliber team like Texas. This is still a young, young Cowboy team that'll go through some ups and downs, and it's not going to play like it did this week, every week. The aggressive, attacking defense wasn't able to get to Colt McCoy enough to make a big impact, while the corners struggled too much against the UT receivers. Bobby Reid had his worst game of the season and needs to quickly find his groove again against Baylor before facing Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

Oct. 28
Oklahoma State 41 ... Nebraska 29
Nebraska got up 23-13 on two Brandon Jackson touchdown runs and a 22-yard pass play from Zac Taylor to Maurice Purify, and then Oklahoma State kicked it in with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Adarius Bowman with :16 left in the first half as part of a 28-point run with Dantrell Savage scoring his second rushing touchdown of the game, Julius Crosslin pounding it in from one-yard out, and Nathan Peterson putting a cap on things with a 19-yard fumble recovery for a score. Nebraska managed a five-yard touchdown pass to Purify with five seconds to play, but it was way too late.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid completed 13 of 21 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He also ran eight times for 61 yards.
Stat Leaders: Nebraska - Passing: Zac Taylor, 21-39, 241 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Brandon Jackson, 21-182, 2 TD. Receiving: Maurice Purify, 6-66, 2 TD
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 13-21, 229 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Dantrell Savage, 17-117, 2 TD  Receiving: D'Juan Woods, 4-87
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Talk about your dominant performances, the Oklahoma State showed for the third week in a row how explosive the offense can be ripping off 21 points in the fourth quarter against Nebraska. Even though the defense is going to give up big yards all season long, its aggressiveness made up for most of the problems with sack after sack of Zac Taylor and shockingly good play throughout the second half. With a tough finishing kick playing Texas, Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, all the Cowboys need is one more win to go bowling. With the way the offense playing, it wouldn’t be a shock if OSU pulled off at least two more wins.

Oct. 21
Texas A&M 34 ... Oklahoma State 33 OT
Texas A&M's
Stephen McGee threw a two-yard touchdown pass with three seconds to play in regulation, Jorvorskie Lane ran for a one-yard score in overtime, and Red Bryant sealed the win by blocking an extra-point attempt after Oklahoma State scored on a 15-yard Adarius Bowman touchdown. In a wild fourth quarter that started out with a two-yard Lane scoring run, Dantrell Savage gave the Cowboys the lead on a 60-yard run, but McGee led a 65-yard drive in 11 plays culminating in the game-tying score. Zac Robinson, filling in for an injured Bobby Reid, threw three touchdown passes, with two to Bowman, but McGee and the Aggie offense answered time and again in the see-saw game finishing with 423 yards of total offense.
Player of the game ... Texas A&M QB Stephen McGee completed 17 of 26 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns and ran 17 times for 86 yards.
Stat Leaders: Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 17-26, 192 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Stephen McGee, 17-86. Receiving: Chad Schroeder, 6-52
Oklahoma State - Passing: Zac Robinson, 7-16, 94 yds, 3 TD
Rushing:
Dantrell Savage, 13-134, 1 TD  Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 3-48, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... That OSU was able to come within three seconds of beating Texas A&M despite losing Bobby Reid early on shows how improved the team is. Zac Robinson was just good enough to keep the offense moving, while Dantrell Savage and the running game did just enough to keep the Aggies on their heels. A&M controlled too much of the clock in the fourth quarter. Now the tough part really begins with Nebraska and Texas coming up, but if the offense can be balanced and if the defense can stop the run like it did against the Aggies, OSU will have a shot in both games.

Oct. 14
Oklahoma State 42 ... Kansas 32
Oklahoma cranked out 603 yards with 42 second half points in a breathtaking display of offensive firepower. Kansas, thanks to the return of QB Kerry Meier from a shoulder injury, got up 17-0 at halftime on two Meier touchdown passes, but Bobby Reid and Adarius Bowman took over combining for 13 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns with Bowman scoring from 54, 25, 55 and 64 yards out. The big plays didn't stop with Reid running for a 29-yard score and D'Juan Woods catching  25-yard touchdown pass before KU finished off the scoring wtih an eight-yard Dexton Field scoring grab.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid completed 23 of 35 passes for 411 yards and five touchdowns and ran 14 times for 46 yards and a score. WR Adarius Bowman caught 13 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Kansas - Passing: Kerry Meier, 15-27, 187 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
LKerry Meier, 20-70  Receiving: Derek Fine, 4-58, 1 TD
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 23-35, 411, 5 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Mike Hamilton, 11-70  Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 13-300, 4 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Yeeeeeesh! Talk about bombs away, the future of the Oklahoma State offense arrived in Lawrence, Kansas in the second half with Bobby Reid and Adarius Bowman coming up with an unstoppable second half to blow the doors off the Kansas secondary. They were just playing catch out there with an awesome performance that has to get Big 12 South teams quaking about what this team could become. Now the key is to be more consistent and to put together a full sixty minutes. At the very least, the team knows Reid really is a franchise quarterback who'll lead the team to plenty of wins over the next few years.

Oct. 7
Kansas State 31 ... Oklahoma State 27
Kansas State scored twice in the final three minutes with Leon Patton running it in from one-yard out, the defense holding, and Josh Freeman leading a 58-yard drive in three plays finishing with a 21-yard touchdown run. Oklahoma had one last shot getting down to the Wildcat 23, but the final pass of the game was picked off by Marcus Watts. Watts started off the scoring blocking a punt which Daniel Gonzalez took for a touchdown. The Wildcats got a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from Patton, along with 151 rushing yards, but the offense struggled to get going until late. OSU got two touchdown passes from Bobby Reid along with an 11-yard Keith Toston touchdown dash.
Player of the game ... Kansas State DB Marcus Watts made four tackles, picked off a pass and blocked a punt that turned into a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Kansas State - Passing: Josh Freeman, 10-15, 177 yds
Rushing:
Leon Patton, 21-151, 1 TD  Receiving: Jermaine Moreira, 4-95
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 14-22, 138 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Keith Toston, 14-109, 1 TD  Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 5-59
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
A more experienced team closes out the Kansas State game and comes away with the good win. Two big breakdowns by the special teams, the inability to go on a time-consuming late drive, and the problems with the defense to come up with a stop in the final few minutes wouldn't have happened by most veteran squads. Bobby Reid remains efficient, but he has to be a bit more explosive in the passing game. Keith Toston ran well adding yet another weapon to the backfield. Now the Kansas game next week becomes a must-win for a bowl shot.

Sept. 23
Houston 34 ... Oklahoma State 25
The two teams put on an offensive show with 955 yards of total offense, but things slowed down late when a heavy downpour kicked in. The Cougars were able to break open a close game with a seven-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter. OSU had two late drives, but misfired on a fourth down pass and later lost a fumble on the Houston five. Kevin Kolb threw four touchdown passes highlighted by a 42-yard scoring play to Donnie Avery, but Oklahoma State's Bobby Reid was up to the ask throwing a 75-yard scoring pass to Adarius Bowman and two touchdown passes to D'Juan Woods.
Player of the game ... Houston QB Kevin Kolb completed 21 of 28 passes for 313 yards and four touchdowns and ran 11 times for 42 yards.
Stat Leaders: Houston - Passing: Kevin Kolb, 21-28, 313 yd, 4 TD
Rushing: Jackie Battle, 23-108. Receiving: Mark Hafner, 4-58, 1 TD
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 13-22, 28 1yds, 3 TD
Rushing:
Bobby Reid, 7-85. Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 7-166, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
The defense finally faced an offense with a pulse struggling to stop Houston, but there are positives to come out of this going into the Big 12 season. Bobby Reid continues to be fantastic and finally showed off his rushing skills with 85 yards. On the down side, none of the other runners got going since the game quickly turned into a shootout. The offense cranked out big plays, but it only held on to the ball for 23:53.

Sept. 16
Oklahoma State 48 ... Florida Atlantic 8
Oklahoma State blew past the Owls with a 41-0 lead before the run was finally broken with a nine-yard William Rose touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Bobby Reid ran for a nine-yard score and threw a 71-yard touchdown pass to Adarius Bowman to go along with two Mike Hamilton touchdown runs and two Jason Ricks field goals. Dantrell Savage closed out the scoring with a 70-yard dash from Dantrell Savage.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma State RB Mike Hamilton ran 11 times for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Florida Atlantic - Passing: Rusty Smith, 10-15, 110 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Willie Floyd, 7-31. Receiving: Frantz Simeon, 3-30
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 9-16, 188 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Dantrell Savage, 8-96. Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 2-96
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ...
Is this Oklahoma State offense for real? It's been fantastic over the first three weeks against Missouri State, Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic, but it hasn't faced any adversity and hasn't had to make a play under pressure. Bobby Reid continues to be tremendous and Mike Hamilton is running well enough to keep the offense balanced. Now the Cowboys need a fight from Houston next week to be more battle tested for the start of the Big 12 season. With a three-game road trip ahead, the team will get its chances to see how good it really is.

Sept. 9
Oklahoma State 35 ... Arkansas State 7
It took Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid about a quarter to settle down, and then he was outstanding running for a 13-yard touchdown and throwing for two scores on the way to 35 unanswered points. Reid's first touchdown pass of the game went the wrong way as Khyyam Burns returned an interception 51 yards for an ASU touchdown. The Cowboy defense held ASU to 188 yards of total offense.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid completed 11 of 18 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions, and he ran seven times for 45 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Arkansas State - Passing: Travis Hewitt, 4-13, 47 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Reggie Arnold, 18-51. Receiving: Patrick Higgins, 1-15
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 11-18, 167 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing:
Mike Hamilton, 17-73, 1 TD. Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 3-78
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Bobby Reid was strong for the second game in a row, but it took him a little too long to settle down and be effective. That's fine against Arkansas State and Missouri State, and it'll be fine next week against Florida Atlantic, but he has to come out razor-sharp at Houston and when Big 12 play starts. The defense has been outstanding so far, but it hasn't been tested.

Sept. 9
Oklahoma State 35 ... Arkansas State 7
It took Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid about a quarter to settle down, and then he was outstanding running for a 13-yard touchdown and throwing for two scores on the way to 35 unanswered points. Reid's first touchdown pass of the game went the wrong way as Khyyam Burns returned an interception 51 yards for an ASU touchdown. The Cowboy defense held ASU to 188 yards of total offense.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid completed 11 of 18 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions, and he ran seven times for 45 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Arkansas State - Passing: Travis Hewitt, 4-13, 47 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Reggie Arnold, 18-51. Receiving: Patrick Higgins, 1-15
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 11-18, 167 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing:
Mike Hamilton, 17-73, 1 TD. Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 3-78
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Bobby Reid was strong for the second game in a row, but it took him a little too long to settle down and be effective. That's fine against Arkansas State and Missouri State, and it'll be fine next week against Florida Atlantic, but he has to come out razor-sharp at Houston and when Big 12 play starts. The defense has been outstanding so far, but it hasn't been tested.

Sept. 2
Oklahoma State 52 ... Missouri State 10
Oklahoma State started off the season on a great note with Perrish Cox taking the opening kickoff 96 yards for a score sparking a 45-0 lead. MSU finally broke the run late in the third quarter on a 29-yard field goal and only got into the end zone with less than seven minutes to play ona one-yard run from Jonathan Davis. Bobby Reid threw four touchdown passes for the Cowboys in the first half highlighted by a 72-yard pass play to D'Juan Woods.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid completed eight of 17 passes for 165 yards and four touchdowns and ran five times for 15 yards.
Stat Leaders: Missouri State - Passing: Matt Krapfl, 11-19, 126 yds
Rushing: Gerald Davis, 14-45. Receiving: Jeremy Nicholson, 4-94
Oklahoma State - Passing: Bobby Reid, 8-17, 165 yds, 4 TD
Rushing:
Mike Hamilton, 16-155. Receiving: Adarius Bowman, 3-47, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean Basil? ... Missouri State wasn't going to provide much of an obstacle for OSU, but it was still a big plus to have an offensive explosion after the struggles of last year. This had to have been a big confidence boosting performance for Bobby Reid, who finally showed off his arm more than his legs. The offensive line gave Mike Hamilton and the running game plenty of room to run and, for the most part, gave Reid time to work. Everything was working including the punting game; Nathan Stokes had a strong outing averaging 45.8 yards per kick.

2006 Oklahoma State Preview

Oklahoma State Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Former head coach Les Miles was just starting to make things interesting in Stillwater before jumping to LSU. Coming off three straight winning seasons and three bowl appearances, Oklahoma State hired former star quarterback Mike Gundy to take over and keep the momentum going. Instead, Gundy and his staff started from scratch.

Outside of a stunning win over Texas Tech and an even more shocking first half against Texas, the Cowboys appeared to be overmatched and out of sync all season long. There were concerns that the no-huddle spread offense wasn't working when it had problems scoring on Montana State, Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State, and then it looked lost most of the time in Big 12 play.

Combine the offense's issues with a defense that finished 11th in total D and last in scoring defense, and 2005 signaled a crashing thud for the once-surging team. However, it might have been a case of taking a step back to jump three big steps forward.

Gundy needed to get his guys in place as quickly as possible to run his offensive system, and he played so many true freshmen that there wasn't any hope of the team turning in a consistent season. Last year's team was so young that it still needs another year of seasoning before it start to think about challenging for the Big 12 South title and being good enough to hang with the top dogs.

How young is OSU? On the projected two-deep depth chart there are 24 players with sophomore, redshirt freshmen, or freshmen eligibility with new recruits like linebackers Chris Collins and Donnell Williams and guard Jacob Secrest expected to start at some point this year
. Throw into the mix a potentially shaky quarterback situation and this is a year to get everything in place for a big 2007.

One-time superstar quarterback recruit Bobby Reid has all the tools to be a great one, but he has to stay healthy and has to figure out how to throw with some semblance of accuracy while utilizing his running skills as much as possible. If the light turns on for him, the offense should be far better with a decent line, a dangerous 1-2 receiving punch in D'Juan Woods and Adarius Bowman, and a productive backfield tandem of Mike Hamilton and Julius Crosslin.

The defense will need at least another year of seasoning in the back seven, but the time is now up front with five good seniors that should finally make for a solid Cowboy defensive line. This won't be the type of defense that will shut anyone down and it has to force more turnovers, but it should be more aggressive and it has plenty of upside.

It does appear that things are on the right track under Gundy as long as the fan base can be a little patient. The Big 12 South is a nasty place to try to build a power, but Oklahoma State will be in the hunt ... next year.

The Schedule: Few teams have had lighter non-conference schedules in recent year than Oklahoma State, and this season isn't any different starting with Missouri State, Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic before the one decent game against Houston. There's a welcome off-week before the Big 12 run starting off on the road against both Kansas State and Kansas. Playing at Texas, at Texas Tech and Oklahoma in three of the final four weeks means the Cowboys have better have bowl eligibility wrapped up after the Baylor game.

Best Offensive Player: Senior OT Corey Hilliard. Able to play guard or tackle, the 310-pound senior is one of the Big 12's best linemen with the next-level type of talent to be the one the team runs the offense behind. He could stand to be a little bit better in pass protection, but he's good enough.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DT Ryan McBean. McBean came from the JUCO ranks and came up with a tremendous season. If he can continue to progress and can be a bit stronger against the run, he could be the type of All-Big 12 talent who can anchor the entire defense.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Bobby Reid. It'll all be about staying healthy. His raw talent is undeniable, but he needs more time to learn how to be a D-I quarterback; the game has to slow down for him. He's 6-3, 225 pounds, and has the running skills to do far more than the 139 net yards he came up with last year.

The season will be a success if ... the Cowboys come up with a winning season. Considering OSU will likely be the underdog in every Big 12 game except the home date against Baylor some upsets are needed and there can't be any misses in the non-conference schedule.

Key game: Oct. 7 at Kansas State. KSU is one of the few Big 12 teams Oklahoma State has a reasonable shot of beating on the road. A win might be a must before going on the road to face a solid Kansas team and before getting into the start of the of the South slate.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Fourth quarter scoring: Opponents 102 - Oklahoma State 50
- Fourth down conversions: Oklahoma State 10 of 13 (77%) - Opponents 10 of 19 (53%)
- Interceptions: Opponents 17 for 186 yards - Oklahoma State 5 for 57 yards

The Last Time Oklahoma State…
…played in a bowl game…2004 (Alamo Bowl vs. Ohio State)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2001 (Northwestern State)
…was shutout…2005 (Colorado)
…scored 50 points…2004 (SMU)
…went undefeated…1945
…won a conference title…1976 (share, Big Eight)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2002 (Josh Fields)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2004 (Vernand Morency)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (Rashaun Woods)
…had a first-round draft choice…2004 (WR Rashaun Woods)