STILLWATER — K.C. Andrews and his buddies kept receiving cheers and applause and cries of approval for their t-shirts Saturday night.
On the front: “Allegedly.”
On the back: “SI Sucks.”
Consider it the sentiment of the week around Stillwater and wherever Oklahoma State fans love their Cowboys, in the wake of Sports Illustrated's ongoing five-part unflattering exposé of the program.
The game, OSU's first at home this season, was over early and offered no drama in a 59-3 rout.
Still, it was cathartic for the fans, who filed in to form the largest crowd in Boone Pickens Stadium history at 59,061.
The t-shirts were cathartic, too.
As much as Jeremy Smith or Blake Jackson or any number of Cowboys on the defense Saturday night, Andrews may have been Mr. Popularity. The owner of the Cowboy Travel Plaza at the intersection of I-35 and Highway 51, Andrews hatched an idea earlier in the week to produce some t-shirts reflecting the thoughts of most OSU supporters.
He had 30 printed, which were handed out to everyone at his tailgate.
And they became the talk of the night wherever he and his pals strode.
“Oh my gosh, I can't even explain it,” Andrews said. “There's so many positive comments coming from people. All day long, we were getting comments. There were people coming up, ‘Man, let me get a picture of that shirt, it's awesome.'
“We took group pictures with the shirts. Even walking down the stands coming out, I heard three or four people making comments, ‘Hey, I love your shirt!' A lot of positive feedback.”
Said Danny Stunkard, who was also sporting one of the shirts: “I've had 150 comments on the shirts. We've been taking pictures. It's been a pretty good scene.”
And it was quite a scene before, during and after the game.
Mike Gundy said it started with The Walk, where a massive gathering swelled to escort the Cowboys into Boone Pickens Stadium.
“It would be as competitive and as good a walk as we've ever had,” Gundy said. “There was just a lot of people. I think they have a lot of pride and they wanted to come out and show that pride.
“The feeling you got on campus, six, eight, 10 hours before kickoff. And then tonight.”
Pat Innis and her husband arrived early from Tulsa to show their support.
“We still bleed orange,” she said. “And we believe in these boys. And we believe in these coaches. You can't talk about something that happened 10 years ago.
“We came up here early just to watch them walk in and give them our support.”
The support started earlier in the week with former players speaking out against what SI had been writing. Saturday offered OSU's fans their first real opportunity to publicly voice their support.
“It's been a little bit disappointing,” Edmond's Ken Lake said of the week that was. “But it's also been kind of rewarding, because the stuff I hear and read I know is based on half-truths, innuendos and disgruntled football players. The people I know in the program, I respect, and I feel like they're running a pretty good program.
“You could see, it was a pretty good crowd here tonight. Lamar, you probably wouldn't see that big of a crowd. So it was different. And I was proud to show up, wearing my orange for the university.”
Andrews wore his own shirt.
“When the articles first came out, they had the words ‘allegedly' written all over them,” he said. “I don't know, the word just kind of stuck in my head. And I thought it'd be cool to have some shirts printed up.
“If I would have had a hundred, I could have sold 100 of them.”