STILLWATER — Maybe it's the black uniforms.
Maybe it's the Thursday night games.
"I think it's a little bit of both," Dan Bailey said.
The Oklahoma State kicker decided Thursday night's thriller at Boone Pickens Stadium. Why not let him decide this?
His game-winning field goal as time expired lifted OSU to a 38-35 victory against Texas A&M, igniting a wild celebration and capping a magical night.
A maddening night, too.
The Cowboy defense surrendered 409 yards passing but snagged four interceptions. The Cowboy offense managed only seven points in the first half but rolled up 31 in the second half. They committed too many penalties and made too many mistakes, but they came up with big plays when they had to have them.
"It was definitely a roller-coaster game," Bailey said. "Big plays from both teams on both sides of the ball."
No play was bigger than the senior kicker's 40-yard field goal.
After a Shaun Lewis interception, a Josh Cooper catch and a Kendall Hunter run, Bailey trotted onto the field with only 2 seconds remaining.
He lined up for the try.
And Texas A&M called timeout. Bailey expected that it would.
Then, just like he'd pretended as a kid, he lined up for the game-winning kick. And just like he'd done as a kid, he nailed it.
"Dan made a great kick," Cowboy wide receiver Justin Blackmon said. "A great kick under pressure."
The Cowboys spilled onto the field, mobbing Bailey and engulfing him.
Perhaps we should've expected this. The last time the Cowboys played on Thursday night, it was another heart-stopping, gut-wrenching doozy. This is apparently becoming the script for Thursday night games.
First, the Cowboys wear the beloved black uniforms.
Then, the starting quarterback struggles in the first half.
Finally, Brandon Weeden comes in and saves the day in the second half.
There was one major deviation from last season's Thursday night thriller against Colorado — Alex Cate was not in the building.
That guy wearing the No. 3 jersey in the first half was Weeden, not Cate. But he sure struggled like Cate did in the Cowboys' Thursday night game a year ago.
Weeden started the game 6 of 13 for 35 yards and two interceptions. He looked rattled. He looked skittish.
Cate went 0 of 9 in the first half against Colorado last season.
Hmm, maybe the problem in the first half wasn't Cate. Maybe it was the uniforms. Or the day of the week.
Seems feasible now.
Because guess what? Weeden came out of the locker room Thursday night and did exactly what he did when he replaced Cate in that Colorado game. He looked poised. He looked unbeatable.
After that horrible start, Weeden completed 22 of his last 29 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. He looked like the Weeden of old, the Weeden of the first three games of the season, the Weeden of the second half of that Colorado game last season.
Most important was the touchdown drive that Weeden directed on the first possession of the second half. After Texas A&M scored right before halftime and took back some of the momentum that OSU started to build, the Cowboys needed to make a statement.
And they did.
The Cowboys marched 73 yards in less than four minutes. They were methodical. They were tough.
The offensive line gave Weeden time to throw and Kendall Hunter room to run. Tracy Moore and Josh Cooper and Bo Bowling and Hubert Anyiam and Blackmon made big catches. Hunter made tough runs.
Not even a personal foul that pushed the Cowboys out of the red zone derailed them. They just came back and kept pushing.
"It was very important," Blackmon said of that touchdown drive. "We kind of pushed the tempo and pressured them. It just set the tone for the whole second half."
The Cowboys weren't perfect down the stretch. They let a two-touchdown lead slip away. They allowed the Aggies back in the game.
But in the end, they gutted out another Thursday night thriller.
And when Bailey's kick hugged inside the left upright, no one sprinted across the Pickens Stadium turf faster than Weeden.
"I'm too old for this," he said later, smiling. "Geez."
"Games like that are fun for the fans, and they're fun for us. Don't get me wrong."
He shook his head.
"But golly, we'd rather win by seven or 14 points. Give us a little bit of a cushion."
Not in the black uniforms.
Not on Thursday night.