HOUSTON – Finally, Saturday, after Oklahoma State's rugged handling of Mississippi State, a few players allowed themselves to cop to some SEC satisfaction.
“We looked like we were the SEC team today,” said Cowboys running back Desmond Roland.
No, it wasn't Bama or Florida or LSU or Georgia or even South Carolina. But it was a 2012 bowl team with plenty of players returning and more optimism for the future.
And Saturday inside Reliant Stadium, the Cowboys popped the Bulldogs SEC-style, dominating along both lines and prevailing as the more physical bunch after arriving with its Big 12 finesse reputation.
“As a player, when you hear stuff like that, and they put another conference as better than your conference, it just pumps you up,” said OSU receiver Josh Stewart. “It's like, ‘We're good over here, too.'
“And when you show up and play physical on both sides – we played physical with them – that's exciting to show the world that we can ball, too.
“We did pretty well, I think.”
The Bulldogs entered with a massive offensive line that featured as many as three potential NFL big bodies led by All-SEC guard Gabe Jackson and overall presented a contrast far from what the Cowboys are used to seeing.
“It was a big challenge,” said OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “We talked about it the last couple weeks, about the SEC and their big offensive line.”
The Bulldogs failed to score a touchdown.
And after the Cowboys made their initial adjustments in response to Mississippi State's early offensive success, the Bulldogs barely moved on offense.
“Good football team,” said Mississippi State offensive coordinator Les Koenning. “They did a nice job. We stayed close early and couldn't stay with them late.