STILLWATER — Midway through the fourth quarter of Oklahoma State’s 36-31 win over Texas A&M on Saturday, Cowboys receiver Hubert Anyiam looked around, and upon seeing no Dez Bryant or Kendall Hunter, he realized he had an opportunity.
It was third-and-9 with the football at the Texas A&M 48-yard line, and OSU, holding a slim 29-25 lead, was in the midst of moving the ball down the field. That’s normally the situation where Bryant, the Pokes’ All-American receiver who has been ruled ineligible, is the target for quarterback Zac Robinson. But on this occasion, it was Anyiam.
"I knew someone had to make a play,” said Anyiam, who started in place of Bryant against the Aggies. "It was third down, and we needed to (continue to) move the ball.”
Seeing Anyiam one-on-one against a defender, Robinson checked to a play to get Bryant’s replacement the ball. The duo connected on an 18-yard pass, and OSU finished the drive with a 1-yard Beau Johnson touchdown. That gave Oklahoma State a 36-31 lead, which would hold up the Cowboys’ Big 12 opener.
"We talked about it when the (Dez) situation arose,” OSU co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer said of Anyiam contributing. "This was his time to shine and (either) do it or not do it. And he proved he is capable of doing it. He came up big, with that catch he made.”
When Bryant was ruled ineligible last Wednesday for violating an NCAA rule, Anyiam understood a lot of eyes would be on him and the rest of the OSU receiving corps.
"The whole time my mindset was to step up,” Anyiam said. "To make the big play and help the team out any way I can, and not (affect the team) negatively with penalties and stuff like that.”
As Bryant’s backup, Anyiam saw limited action before Saturday.