AUSTIN, Texas â€” To soothe the souls tortured by a disastrous season and a six-point deficit, Longhorn officials played some Willie Nelson during a break with 11:25 left in the second quarter.
â€œThere's nothing quite like Texas on a Saturday night,â€ Willie crooned over the Royal-Memorial Stadium loudspeakers.
Two plays later, Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden lofted a deep ball, Cowboy superstar Justin Blackmon outmuscled stud cornerback Aaron Williams for the catch and jogged into the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown.
And the Cowboys to a man had to agree with ol' Willie. When you end 13 years or 66 years or ever how many years you want to count, when you send half the crowd home by halftime, when you beat the Longhorns 33-16, there really is nothing quite like Texas on a Saturday night.
â€œIt was fun,â€ said cornerback Andrew McGee. â€œA lot of fun. It's good to say you beat Texas.â€
This is a night OSU players and fans will remember forever. And should.
Texas is down and mostly out. Out of ideas. Out of hope. Out of maybe bowl prospects soon, with a 4-6 record. These Cowboys should whack these Longhorns.
But when you haven't beaten Texas since 1997, and not in Austin since 1944, you never know.
You knew after Blackmon's touchdown, which gave the Cowboys a 16-3 lead and set the rout in motion. It was 26-3 at halftime, and the second half was played for grins, mostly on the faces of long-suffering Cowboy fans whose decades of dreaming are finally paying off.
Mike Gundy knew of the apprehension. The Texas domination of the series. The ridiculous comebacks. Gundy received a lot of text messages during the week, and he would respond, â€œYou sound nervous.â€ Friends would reply, â€œShould I be?â€
No. We all knew â€” or should have known â€” this was coming. But until you see it, there's always that doubt.
â€œThis was really special for Oklahoma State,â€ Gundy said. â€œI'm really happy for our fans. We want the Oklahoma State followers to wave their flag, stand tall and say they're from Oklahoma State. I think tonight will help them do that.â€
No one smiled more broadly than OSU's No. 1 fan. No, not Boone Pickens (though he was happy, too). Athletic director Mike Holder, who years ago declared it was time State became a football school, knew the import of this victory.
â€œI think we came to the fork in the road and went a different direction,â€ Holder said.
Texas' lone chance in this game â€” its still-stout defense standing up to Weeden's high-flying offense â€” withered quickly.
The coach-in-waiting was swamped by the genius-in-waiting. UT defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, anointed Mack Brown's successor back in the good old days of 2009 though all bets are off now, was no match for State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen.
The Dana-mite attack moved up and down Bevo's grass. Weeden threw for 409 yards, OSU tailback Kendall Hunter ran for 116 and the Cowboys totaled 532 yards, virtually double what Texas had been allowing in conference play.
This kind of performance did more than re-stamp the Big 12 South-leading Cowboys as the team to beat in the division. This kind of performance made you think OSU will be primed for the conference championship game against Nebraska, the only team to beat the 9-1 Cowboys this season.
â€œThis was the best Oklahoma State team by far that we've seen,â€ said beaten Texas coach Mack Brown.
It was still a ballgame when Willie sang and Weeden threw deep. But then Blackmon did what Blackmon does â€” change the game with a stunning play â€” and everything switched, primarily momentum to OSU's side for good.
â€œOne thing Black' can do, no matter how far you throw it down the field, he has the ability to adjust to the ball,â€ Holgorsen said.
The Cowboys rolled from then on. The defense played inspired. The offense rolled. The bright side of orange rejoiced while the burnt side crumbled.
â€œIt was kind of iffy a little bit,â€ Gundy said of the situation. â€œWe hadn't stopped â€˜em like you wanted to. When you have a guy that can make a big play, they change games.
â€œIt was a beautiful throw. Oklahoma State was due to make a few plays against Texas. Texas has had our number for awhile.â€
Not anymore. Not after this thrashing. Willie Nelson was right. There's nothing quite like beating Texas on a Saturday night.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.