When he walked into the postgame press conference, Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle was asked if he was sore.
Randle casually answered that he was feeling fine after an ice bath, but he seemed oblivious to the motive of the question.
Randle had just finished carrying the ball a career high 32 times, to go with five receptions, finishing with 126 rushing yards and another 37 receiving. But he had no idea how many touches he had in OSU's 36-14 win over TCU.
“Not when you're so involved in the game. Normally, you just lose yourself, like Eminem,” Randle said, referring to the rapper's song “Lose Yourself,” from the movie 8 Mile. “I got some people on my team that love that song. I just lost myself in the game. You don't really notice it, then after the game, you're like, ‘Dang.'
“If you're worrying about stats during the game, you're doing the wrong thing.”
TCU hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher all season, and was giving up an average of 92 rushing yards per game. Randle provided a steady force in an offense that was inconsistent at times in quarterback Wes Lunt's return.
Randle's rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter moved him into sole possession of fifth place on OSU's career rushing touchdown list with 35, one ahead of Tatum Bell.
Veteran OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young is respected for his ability to make in-game adjustments, and that quality has shown through the last two games.
Last week, Iowa State scored 10 points in the first quarter and the Cowboys shut out the Cyclones over the final three quarters.
On Saturday, TCU scored 14 in the first quarter — though only one offensive touchdown — and like Iowa State, was shut out the rest of the way.
Young said the players were tuned into what was working for the defense after giving up an early touchdown.
“The young guys were coming over and telling us, ‘This thing will work because they're doing this with the center,'” he said. “You really like to hear that as a coach, because it means they're tuned in.”
OSU forced TCU into to seven three-and-out possessions and the Cowboys haven't given up more than 14 in any of the last three games, a feat they haven't accomplished against conference opponents since the final three games of 1986.
OSU also forced a season-high three turnovers.
Quinn Sharp tied the school record for field goals in a game with five, helping the offense cash in when it couldn't produce touchdowns in the red zone.
Coach Mike Gundy said he was getting tired of kicking field goals, part of the reason he went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the third quarter.
“I'll take as many as I can get,” Sharp said with a smile. “Of course you want to get the touchdown every time, but when it's my job to go out there, I'll do my best to get points on the board.”
Sharp was pleased with the performance a week after missing two of the three field goals he attempted against Iowa State.
“I bounced back with this game and it was very helpful for me,” he said. “I needed that.”
While the OSU offense was sputtering early in the game, offensive coordinator Todd Monken mixed in some trick plays, possibly to provide a spark to what Gundy termed a “flat” offense.
“We carry more of those plays than we traditionally have,” Gundy said of the trick plays. “We have more of those plays that we work; we just haven't run them. In the situation you're at, at times, you have to find a way to get big plays.”
One such play would have gone for a touchdown except for a holding call. Lunt threw laterally to Randle, who passed downfield to Blake Jackson in the end zone.
“Wes was struggling a little bit early,” Gundy said. “We had to find ways to get big plays that are not normal for our offense.”
For the second time this year, a former Millwood Falcon appeared at Boone Pickens Stadium for the visiting team. Defensive back Josh Turner played for Texas last month, and defensive tackle Davion Pierson saw the field for TCU Saturday.
Pierson, a 6-foot-2, 305-pound redshirt freshman, is in the Horned Frogs' primary rotation at nose guard. He was in on two tackles, including one for a 3-yard loss.
ROBINSON IN TOWN
Former Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson returned to Stillwater Saturday, while his current team, the Cincinnati Bengals, had the week off.
Robinson, who played for the Cowboys from 2006-09, is now on the Bengals practice squad. He had considered bringing Bengals starter Andy Dalton — a former TCU QB — on the trip, but Dalton had another obligation.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden used Twitter to weigh in on the action Saturday afternoon, sticking up for Randle, Weeden's backfield mate last season at OSU:
“I'm getting sick of (Randle) running his tail off and no one helping him up off the ground.”
Sophomore receiver Josh Stewart is quickly moving up OSU's single-season reception chart. With a team-high six catches for 120 yards, he has 48 catches on the year, putting him 17th on the list... Jeremy Smith's 1-yard TD run on fourth down in the third quarter was his first rushing touchdown since last year's Bedlam game... Receiver Charlie Moore has a touchdown reception in three straight games, all over 20 yards... Randle and Sharp are in a tight battle for the program's active scoring lead. Randle has 228 career points, while Sharp has 227. They rank 12th and 13th, respectively, on the all-time list... The all-black uniform combination was worn for the first time since last season's Fiesta Bowl win, though Saturday's helmets had a Pistol Pete head logo instead of the common OSU emblem... Saturday's attendance was 57,183.