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.