STILLWATER — Nebraska gobbled yardage like the Cornhuskers of old, and Oklahoma State languished in a 16-0 hole that seemed capable of blooming as big as the canyon beyond the west goal post; and Boone Pickens Stadium, not to mention this Cowboy football season, seemed doornail dead. Then Bobby Reid turned the corner. Scrambled away from a pass rush, darted to the sideline and raced to a 56-yard gain that ignited the Cowboys like Ben Franklin's kite. Reid turned the corner and turned the momentum and turned not just a game, but a season and maybe more. The Cowboys beat Nebraska 41-29 with a stunning domination of the final 40 minutes, and suddenly, the Mike Gundy era takes on a whole new look. Suddenly, these Cowboys seem capable of doing what they did under Les Miles and maybe even more, since Mr. Turn the Corner is only a sophomore. "Now we've proven ourselves to everybody in the Big 12," said tailback hero Dantrell Savage. Whoa, there, big boy. Texas and Oklahoma still await. But another Cowboy of some relevance, Pickens himself, told ABC at halftime that "the rest of the Big 12, they know we're coming." The Big 12 certainly knows more about Reid and the Cowboys now, especially since OSU finally found itself on a network you could find without the Hubble telescope. But this wasn't about proving anything to other schools. This was about the Cowboys proving something to themselves. Beating the Cornhuskers, even these not-great Huskers, was OSU's biggest win since Bedlam 2002. It should mean at least a bowl game for the 5-3 Cowboys. Should mean a big boost of confidence for a team that squandered games against Kansas State and Texas A&M. Should mean that all those sermons Gundy has been preaching won't fall on deaf ears, be it players or fans or pressbox skeptics. "It's huge," said OSU flanker D'Juan Woods, who four years ago was a redshirting freshman on the only other OSU team that since 1961 has beaten Nebraska. "One of those games that's going to help get us rolling. "Not too many teams that come through Oklahoma State can say they beat Nebraska. If you beat 'em, it's big. It's like Bedlam." Beating Nebraska seemed a silly dream early in the second quarter. The Huskers led 16-0 and tailback Brandon Jackson, rarely confused with Mike Rozier, had 122 yards rushing. Then Reid, hoping to throw long left, found no Nebraska defenders biting on his pump fake. Turns out, the bark is worse than the bite. Defensive end Victor DeGrate says he tells Reid all the time, "Tuck that thing and run it, dog." That's exactly what Reid did, darting away from pass rushers to reach the sideline and sprinting those long strides to give OSU reason to hope. "He changed the game," Gundy said. Three plays later, Reid showed more than just his Vince Young-like skills, calmly tossing into no-man's land a soft pass over a sellout Nebraska blitz. Tailback Keith Toston ran under the pass for a touchdown, and hello, shootout. The OSU defense grew biceps, the Cowboy running game got stronger and Reid hit both Woods and Adarius Bowman with long home runs. Even the low-key Reid admitted the magnitude of his play. "That was the turning point," Reid said. "Guys were waiting for me to bust one, and I finally did." Everyone who follows OSU football was waiting for the Cowboys to bust one, and they finally did. That's why the post-game celebration was something a little out of the ordinary. No goal posts came down, but a team in desperate need of a big win got exactly that. Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, a malcontent on the Kansas road trip, took hugs from fellow staff members. Stoic safety Donovan Woods pumped his fist. Bowman flexed his muscles and slapped hands with Cowboy fans leaning over the wall. Gundy, after an extended midfield interview with ABC, hugged his parents. And the Cowboys en masse stood in front of the student body, singing the alma mater, while an OSU fan held up a sign that read "We Believe in Our Team." Go ahead, OSU fans. Now it's OK to believe in these Cowboys. And believe in the Big 12's best quarterback, the man who turned the corner.
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