LUBBOCK, Texas — Pistol Pete went without his six-shooter Saturday.
Told by the Texas Rangers that he couldn't have his gun on the field at Texas Tech, he packed up his holster and his firearm before the game even started. Never mind that it shoots blanks. Never mind that this is the most Wild West of hamlets in the Big 12.
“I felt naked out there,” he said afterward.
No pistol for Pistol Pete.
But make no mistake, there was still a big-time gunslinger on the field.
On an afternoon Oklahoma State rolled Texas Tech 66-6, Brandon Weeden took dead aim at the Red Raiders. He completed 83.8 percent of his attempts. He threw for 423 yards and five touchdowns.
And here's the most amazing thing about the Cowboy quarterback's day — he made no obvious mistakes.
Weeden just keeps getting better.
“He kind of blows my mind,” Cowboy receiver Josh Cooper said. “That's just Brandon, man. He seems to surprise every time.”
Just when you think you've seen everything out of Weeden, he does something else that raises eyebrows and wows haters.
A week ago, it was the way he didn't blink when the Cowboys faced their toughest test of the season. On their last two possessions against Kansas State, he led an offense that needed only six plays to score two touchdowns.
This week, it was a surgical dissection of Texas Tech.
Now, the Red Raider defense isn't going to be confused with the Iron Curtain defense or anything, but these guys did cause fits at Oklahoma a few weeks ago. The Sooners had six three-and-outs in that game.
Weeden had only six incompletions against that same Texas Tech defense on Saturday.
And remember, it was a windy day on the plains of West Texas. The breeze was steadily blowing around 25 miles per hour, but it was gusting near 40.
Weeden was unaffected. Didn't matter if he had the wind at his back or in his face.
“The wind was definitely swirling,” Weeden said. “But for the most part, I think I threw the ball pretty well.”
Hard to argue with that.
“He can really spin it, and he can really cut the wind,” Cowboy offensive coordinator Todd Monken said, “so it doesn't affect him like a lot of other guys.”
Seems that very little affects Weeden. Wind. Defenses. Pressure. Mistakes. Success. He has a great ability to put all of it to the side and just go to work every week.
He gets better every week because he learns from every experience.
Take, for example, what Monken considered Weeden's best decision Saturday. Late in the second quarter, the call came for a deep pump play to Justin Blackmon, but Weeden recognized a blitz and checked into an outside run.
The play went for minus-2 yards, but last week, a similar situation met with much more disastrous results.
Remember that pick-six against K-State?
OSU had the similar pass play called, but with a blitz coming, Weeden went ahead and threw it right to a Wildcat defender.
“This time instead of getting pressure and throwing a pick, he checked us away from it,” Monken said. “Even though we didn't gain anything, he kept us away from a bad play.”
It's just one more sign of Weeden's continued improvement.
Apparently, the old dog can be taught new tricks.
“His biggest thing is certain things mentally,” Monken said, “because when it comes to just throwing it, setting his feet, he's special.”
No doubt about that.
Slowly but surely, the college football world is becoming aware of that. Weeden popped into a couple of the Heisman Trophy straw polls after his 502-yard performance last week. Then during Saturday's broadcast, one of the announcers said Weeden would be in the running for the little bronze statue should Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck struggle.
Even the Sooner-loving Skip Bayless threw his support behind Weeden via Twitter.
“Maybe I'll tweet him and tell him to keep talking about it,” Weeden said.
“No, but the Heisman has turned into a team award. The guys that are up there and go to New York, they are usually on teams that win a lot of games. If I were to get a trip up there, I'd be stoked ... but that really just means we're winning games here and we're doing something special as a team.”
The undefeated and unflappable Cowboys are definitely doing something special. It takes a posse to ride like this.
But Weeden continues to lead the charge.
“Man, he's just so amazing,” Cowboy running back Joe Randle said. “He leads us, and we follow.”
Best to follow after a guy who has a bunch of bullets in his six-shooter.