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Cowboys clamp down on Huskers behind big plays, second-half defense

By Mike Baldwin Published: October 29, 2006
STILLWATER — Whether Oklahoma State is the best offense in the Big 12 Conference is still up in the air.

What's not up for debate is that Cowboys have the league's most explosive offense.

OSU spotted Nebraska a 16-point lead but roared back for a 41-29 win over the No. 20 Cornhuskers on Saturday afternoon at Boone Pickens Stadium.

OSU's dangerous offense once again provided momentum-changing plays. Combined with a solid second-half effort by the defense the Cowboys posted the biggest win in the Mike Gundy era in front of 40,018 fans, the smallest home crowd this season.

"Chunk plays were the difference in this game," Gundy said. "Coach (Larry) Fedora and the offensive staff understood that going into the game. The chances of us just lining up and pounding these guys to score enough points weren't very good.

"Our approach was, ‘We're going to chunk it down the field a bunch. Then if we can get them off of us we'll go back inside and run the ball.' "

That game plan worked to perfection. The Cowboys compiled 496 total yards, the most OSU has ever gained against Nebraska.

"When you have receivers like D'Juan Woods, Adarius Bowman and Brandon Pettigrew, the backs we have and Bobby Reid we feel we can make a big play at any time," Fedora said. "Every play we want our players to expect to go the distance."

The Cowboys have produced 42 offensive plays of 20 yards or longer this season, and against Nebraska, big plays turned the momentum.

"The chemistry on this unit is tremendous," Fedora said. "These guys believe in each other. They've never doubted themselves. They believe no matter how good a defense is that we can score."

A week after suffering a concussion, Reid threw for 229 yards. But it was his 56-yard run off a broken play that got the Cowboys rolling. Two turnovers and Nebraska's ability to pound on OSU's defense put the Pokes in a 16-0 hole.

"It was supposed to be a pass play to the left," Reid said. "I was working the two receivers off the safety (coverage). But when they didn't give us (the look) we had worked on in practice, I saw a hole and just tried to go make a play."

Three plays later Keith Toston scored the Cowboys' first touchdown on a 16-yard run with 8:12 left in the first half.

OSU would score two more touchdowns before halftime.

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Box score
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Savage's running gives OSU spark
Game balls: OSU's top performances
Stock report: Lightening up on Vance Bedford
OSU football notebook
OSU defense: Closing the door
Behind enemy lines
Injury report
Schedule breakdown
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Half of Cowboys' offense comes on ‘chunk plays'
Almost half of Oklahoma State's offense this season has come on plays of 20 yards or more. Big plays like those were difference-makers Saturday in the Cowboys' 41-29 victory against Nebraska.

Here's a look at the Cowboys' big plays by the numbers:

3,448 Total yards of offense this season.

1,544 Yards of offense coming on plays of 20 yards or more.

44.8 Percentage of total offense coming on such plays.

36.8 Average yards on those plays.

5 Number of plays that went for 20 yards or more Saturday.

39.6 Average yards on those plays.

2 Number that resulted in touchdowns.

638 Yards this season by wide receiver Adarius Bowman on plays of 20-plus yards, the team leader in such plays.

39.9 Average yards he has on those plays.

Compiled by Mike Baldwin and Jenni Carlson


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