Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle saw coach Mike Gundy having fun calling plays for the Cowboy offense in Tuesday's 58-14 win over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl at Cotton Bowl Stadium.
“He misses it, I think,” Randle said. “He was having fun. I could tell.”
Gundy said he was getting input from multiple offensive coaches on the headset, and credited the players, primarily quarterback Clint Chelf, for getting the team into the right calls after the team lined up.
“The players make decisions on which plays we run,” Gundy said. “We give them a variety of plays. Over 50 percent of them based on run-pass can be checked at the line.
“It worked out really well for us. We tried to stay balanced, being able to rush for over 200 (yards) and throw for 300.”
Gundy hadn't been the primary play-caller for the offense since the 2008 season, with Dana Holgorsen and recently departed Todd Monken, now the Southern Miss head coach, handling the calls since then.
RANDLE'S NFL FUTURE STILL ON HOLD
On Monday, Randle told the media to ask him after the game if he'd return for his senior season.
“I meant, like, later later,” Randle said with a laugh. “I've still got a long process to go through and stuff like that. I'll figure that out later.”
Randle, rated by ESPN's Mel Kiper as the No. 4 junior running back eligible for the NFL Draft in April, has two weeks to announce his decision.
JOSH THE RETURN MAN
The last two years, Josh Cooper solidified the punt returner role, but it had been a carousel position this season.
However, it might be another Josh who takes over the role. Josh Stewart saw his first action at punt returner, taking his first opportunity back 64 yards to set up OSU's first touchdown of the day.
It was OSU's longest since Cooper returned one 66 yards for a touchdown against Troy in 2010.
The longest punt return of the season was a 27-yarder by Charlie Moore, who accounted for 20 of OSU's 34 returns coming into the game. David Glidden, Caleb Muncrief and Ashton Lampkin also returned punts this season.
Why hadn't Stewart been used in that role before?
“We were resting him,” said Gundy in an apparently serious answer that still drew laughs from the crowd. “I don't know for sure, but he's had over 90 catches, close to 100... In practice he gets a lot of work. So we felt like we needed to save him and not put him in those situations.”
Stewart had worked at the position in spring and struggled to catch the ball. But Gundy said Stewart asked the coaches for the opportunity in the bowl game and was solid in practice.
Only a sophomore, it could be a role Stewart flourishes in for the next two years. As a receiver, Stewart has 1,501 yards for his career, 10th on OSU's all-time list.
SEATON REWARDED WITH TD
Jeremy Seaton has played a part in several OSU touchdowns this season, but Tuesday was a little different. A reliable blocker at fullback/tight end, Seaton scored his first career touchdown on a 16-yard pass from J.W. Walsh on fourth-and-one in the second quarter.
Seaton, a former Cashion High School quarterback, walked on in 2011 and played in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman this season. Prior to Tuesday, he had one reception for three yards and a 17-yard kickoff return.
HIGGINS: ‘WHOLE SITUATION HAS BEEN AWKWARD'
Danny Hope, who coached Purdue all season and was recently let go, was in attendance at Tuesday's game. So was newly hired coach Darrell Hazell.
And Patrick Higgins, interim coach for the bowl game, admitted it left him in a strange situation.
“This whole situation has been awkward, you know. There's nothing normal about where the head coach gets let go, the new coach is there,” Higgins said. “Coach Hope came in the locker room today. Again, this was his team that he coached the whole year. It was good for him to be in there with them.
“I have not seen coach Hazell today, but hopefully he knows he's getting a bunch of quality kids to coach.”
ALUMNI IN ACTION
Dallas Cowboys teammates Dez Bryant and Kyle Orton were on hand Tuesday to support their former teams.
Orton, the former Purdue quarterback and current backup to Tony Romo, was said to be in the press box.
Bryant, suffering from back spasms, was on the sideline using crutches. He spent Sunday night in a hospital after injuring his back in the loss to Washington.
Another former Purdue QB, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, was also on the sideline for the game.
RACE TO A MILLION
The Heart of Dallas and Gator bowls were going head-to-head on Tuesday, not just in the 11 a.m. time slot.
The Heart of Dallas Bowl media officials announced prior to kickoff that if the game was to draw 42,385 or more fans and “finishes or announces its attendance before the Gator Bowl today,” the Heart of Dallas Bowl could claim the 1,000,000th fan of the 2012-13 bowl season.
With the attendance of 48,313 announced during the second quarter, it is believed the Heart of Dallas Bowl can claim the honor.
A little bit of bowl game superstition showed itself in the Cowboys' all-black uniform combination — identical to the uniforms they wore in the Fiesta Bowl win over Stanford season.
OSU wore all black once earlier this season, but that combination included a Pistol Pete helmet logo, rather than the orange OSU logo worn in the bowl games.
OSU kicker Quinn Sharp closed an impressive career on Tuesday, adding three field goals and six extra points to reach 301 career points, fourth-most in school history. For his career, he was 50-of-58 on field goals and 151-of-152 on extra points... The season average of 547 yards per game for OSU this season is the highest in school history... Daytawion Lowe's fumble return touchdown in the third quarter was the Cowboys' first defensive touchdown of the season... OSU is now 15-8 in bowl games and 5-2 under Gundy... The 44-point victory was the second-largest margin of victory in a bowl game by a Big 12 Conference team all-time, behind Nebraska's 66-17 win over Northwestern in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.