STILLWATER – Kye Staley confidently carried on earlier in the week that Baylor hadn't yet faced the kind of physical confrontation it was in for with Oklahoma State.
Then Staley punctuated the point.
The big sixth-year fullback, providing a critical twist to the offensive game plan, suddenly was en vogue in the running game, banging away for two touchdowns — as many TDs as the Bears' high-powered and high-scoring attack could muster all game.
Staley's contribution typified the Cowboys' 49-17 rout in what became a beatdown at Boone Pickens Stadium.
OSU played the bully in a power play, shoving the Bears around on a bitter cold night.
“If you watch film, watch some of the past games, I didn't feel like any teams had been physical with them,” Staley said. “They were just running free, not being hit.
“Our defense did an excellent job pressuring Bryce Petty. Our offense did an excellent job blocking and running tough. We executed what we wanted to do.”
The Cowboys were physical in every way. The offensive line blocked in the run game and protected Clint Chelf in the pocket. The defense delivered hits all over the field, to the point that Baylor's usually reliable receivers seemed wary of venturing through the OSU secondary.
“That's one thing coach (Mike) Gundy preached on,” said Cowboys safety Daytawion Lowe, “playing physical in all three phases: defense, offense, special teams. Making them really feel it.
“We just kept on being aggressive and hitting hard and just playing the way we play. Physical football.”
For Staley, who has endured so much as a Cowboy, it was night to remember.
Not only has he had to maneuver around constant detours during his career, his final senior season was slow to start, again due to injury.
Again healthy, he's been getting more and more exposure in recent weeks.
And Saturday night, with the physical aspect in play, Staley became a feature, and not just a complementary part as a bruising blocker.
Before Baylor, he'd totaled one career carry. But when needed near the goal line, Staley was called on repeatedly, bashing his way in for scores of 2 and 1 yards. And he finished with seven carries for 25 yards.
“It felt like high school,” said Staley, once a touted recruit out of Guthrie High. “To be able to run the ball and make plays for my team, other than blocking, I'm just happy to be able to do what my team needs me to do.
“It was a great feeling, being on the national stage with everybody watching, it was a great feeling to get into the end zone and be the one to celebrate, instead of going and celebrating with the running back or whoever (scored) instead.”