STILLWATER - Ninety minutes before Saturday night’s season-opening kick, Boone Pickens was spotted in a men’s restroom of the ever-expanding stadium that bears his name. Oklahoma State’s phavorite philanthropist was wiping up excess water around some sinks. “Um, Sir. Aren’t you a bit overqualified to be doing that kind of work?” Pickens was asked. “Naw, I just hate messes,” said the smiling gabillionaire, finishing the chore. Pickens’ favorite football team promptly went out and cleaned up the mess it left last September. OSU freshman Perrish Cox went 96 yards for a touchdown on the season-opening kickoff. From there, the Cowboys did what any respectable Division I-A team would do against a mediocre I-AA opponent. They were completely disrespectful, beating the Bad News Bears 52-10 before a crowd of 41,393. This one was over the instant Cox caught the opening kickoff, so it’s hard to tell what, if anything, the lopsided triumph proved. Cox also returned two punts for 31 yards, which I guess answers the question as to whether he’ll have much of an impact on special teams this year. Other curiosities also were satisfied:
Freshman linebacker Chris Collins sniffs out ball carriers like a hound, is as aggressive as a Doberman, and hits like a boxer. He also blocks punts (third quarter).
It’s time people learned to pronounce the last name of freshman running back Keith Toston (TOAST-en), seeing how he scored two touchdowns on his first three touches.
Sophomore quarterback Bobby Reid knows how to throw, completing 8 of 17 passes for 165 yards and four touchdowns. But apparently some of his receivers forgot how to catch. There were at least five dropped passes, including 2½ by the normally flawless D’Juan Woods, who still had to chutzpa to outleap a defender and sprint in a for a 72-yard touchdown with :08 remaining in the first half.
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, junior wide receiver Adarius Bowman - three catches for 47 yards and a touchdown - certainly knows how to mistreat cornerbacks.
Sophomore running back Mike Hamilton had 155 yards on 16 carries in the first half. Had he taken proper advantage of the monstrous hole on his first carry, Hamilton might have had 200-plus.
OSU has two big feet in kicker Jason Ricks (53-yard field goal) and kickoff man Bruce Redden (five kickoffs for touchbacks).
Redshirt freshman safety Andre Sexton showed he was worthy of wearing the late Vernon Grant’s No. 20 jersey, burying his facemask in the opposing quarterback’s chest, which led to a Cox interception.
It’s a scary sight for a defensive back when Cowboys sophomore tight end Brandon Pettigrew (6-5, 265) splits out wide, which he often does.
If you’re looking for an unknown OSU stud currently limited as a backup, keep an eye on third-string freshman defensive lineman Derek Burton, who lived in the Bears’ backfield much of the second half.
Saturday’s romp could have been much uglier. Up 45-0 with 13:20 left in the third quarter, OSU coach Mike Gundy called off the dogs and ordered subs.
Exactly how bad are the Bears? Somewhere between terrible and horrible. They were the preseason pick to finish seventh in the eight-team Gateway Conference.
But it appears this year’s OSU team at least knows how to locate their opponent’s jugular, which last year’s team most certainly did not.
Whenever the 2005 Cowboys knocked down an opponent, they picked them up and brushed them off rather than shoving their face in the dirt.
The 2006 Cowboys seem much meaner, much more competent, much better.
Again, it’s tough to tell given the quality of competition.
But if we criticized OSU for not finishing off inferior foes last September, we must credit the Cowboys for doing as they were told Saturday night.
So far, so good.
Same time next Saturday against Arkansas State.
John Rohde: 475-3314, email@example.com; John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on WWLS-FM 104.9 and WWLS-AM 640, and on KYAL-AM 1550 in Tulsa.
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