LUBBOCK, Texas – Mike Gundy walked behind the OSU bench, looking for his wife and boys. They had motored down from Stillwater, and Mike had a message. Get on home, it's a long drive.
Then Gundy stopped and signed an autograph for a giddy Cowboy fan leaning over the front row.
There were three minutes left in the game.
Strange Saturday at Jones Stadium. The site of so many frustrating OSU meltdowns went the other way, in a big-time way. The second-ranked Cowboys blasted Texas Tech 66-6, and this one became a party very quickly: 21-0 after the first quarter, 35-0 27 seconds into the second quarter, 49-0 at halftime.
Merriment ruled the Cowboy sideline. Stress, which can hover over a team in Big Bowl contention, was scattered to the west Texas wind. Gray pants for the Cowboys, but no gray hairs, not on this day.
This was so one-sided, Boone Pickens declared victory at halftime. Boone might be a wildcatter on the oil field and in the boardroom, but he's a cautious superfan.
“Two more to go,” Pickens said. “I'm putting this one in the stack. I don't do that often.”
Two more indeed. Iowa State on Friday night, then Bedlam on Dec. 3. Play like this, and the Cowboys are New Orleans-bound.
“We've got something special going on,” said quarterback Brandon Weeden.
OSU dominated every phase against a Tech team that has gone splat since pulling that epic upset of the Sooners in Norman three weeks ago. That defeat is looking worse and worse for OU. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are looking more and more like a team incapable of laying a clunker.
Offense, defense, kicking game. The Cowboys were pristine against Tech, minus Joseph Randle's two fumbles.
“I think we made a big statement,” said flanker Josh Cooper. “We thought coming into this game it was going to be a shootout. Expected to play four quarters. Got out here, started fast, everything was clicking.”
Until last season, OSU hadn't won in Lubbock since World War II. The wind picked up Saturday, but neither sandstorm nor Tech threatened the Cowboys.
By late third quarter, OSU starters cheered on reserves. The gameplan had been tossed to the wind. Gundy chatted with ESPN sideline reporter Shelly Smith. No Cowboy was spotted eating a hot dog, but after the way the Tech crowd cleared Jones Stadium by mid-second quarter, it would have been no surprise to see customer-craving concessionaires trolling the OSU bench.
“It's never been like this, to be that far ahead that early,” Gundy said. “At a certain point, you start doing the math.”
It's never been like this, period, for the Cowboys: 10-0, national-championship hopes, and sprinting, not gasping, toward the finish line.
“It's like raising a child,” Gundy said. “Hold your breath, hope they do the right thing. Make the right decision. These guys have done that.
“We have a good team. No doubt about that. They're very mature mentally. They continue to practice well.”
Gundy is wrong. He doesn't have a good team. He has a great team. Great teams do what the Cowboys did. Smash all hope from a teetering opponent early.
That's what Brandon Weeden and Co. did offensively, scoring on six of seven first-half drives. That's what OSU's maligned defense did, pitching a first-half shutout (and the only Tech score came via a defensive touchdown).
“A blast,” State defensive tackle Cooper Bassett called it. “Really takes the stress out of it. Games like today, you can really keep gray hairs out of your head.”
Games like this do more than act like Grecian Formula. They put smiles on faces and head coaches off duty and the nation on alert that there is no limit for these something-special Cowboys.
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.