STILLWATER – Josh Stewart heard the chatter. And frankly, he was a bit offended.
Sure, his pals Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson were out with injuries, taking a bite out of the OSU starting wide receiver corps. And yes, they would be missed.
Still, Stewart didn't quite understand the panic spreading among the masses.
“It actually motivates you,” Stewart said. “You've got all these people saying, ‘Oh, what are we going to do without Tracy and Isaiah?'
“So you've got to show that we're still a good team. We've got to step up and show we're good just like they are.
“That's the mindset we take. And it helped us today.”
Apparently, don't offend Josh Stewart.
Or, perhaps, do offend him, by all means Cowboys fans, if Saturday is any indication of what you get.
Stewart struck for a career-high 13 receptions for 89 yards on a day when OSU was committed to the pass. Against an Iowa State defense known for clogging running lanes and with a history of halting the Cowboys a year ago, Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said the goal was to get quarterback J.W. Walsh “to throw it 50 times.”
Who would those throws go to?
Stewart, for sure. And he wasn't alone. Charlie Moore, for the second straight week, provided the game's big play, a 74-yard scoring reception that sent the Cowboys into the lead for the first time at 17-10. Moore finished with eight catches and a career-high 129 yards. Blake Jackson added four catches for 96 yards.
By the time the day was done, OSU threw it and caught it enough for Walsh to post a career-high 415 yards, the ninth-best passing total in program history.
“We knew they'd come out and play well,” Walsh said. “We harped on it all week that, ‘We're going to come out and play fearless, no matter who's played and who hasn't. We're going to come out and play ball.'
“They did that very well.”
The other Moore – Charlie Moore – has reappeared as a big-play option. A spring sensation, he'd been quiet during this regular season, until the injuries hit Anderson and Tracy Moore last week at Kansas.
Immediately, Moore provide the signature highlight in Lawrence, a 72-yard pass and run for a touchdown that stood as OSU's longest play from scrimmage this season – before Saturday.
“Maybe we can get 76 next week,” Moore said with a grin.
Much like at KU, Moore's big play gave the Cowboys – and Cyclones – a jolt Saturday.
On the play, Walsh rolled to his right, buying time for Moore to blow past his defender with a double move. Running clear, all Walsh had to do was deliver, which he did.
“We practice it a lot,” Moore said. “It was a perfect call. With J.W. getting out there, a quarterback who can run, he's going to have space and he's going to give me time to make a double move and get open.
“Just a little pump and go.”
Said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken: “We've had it in for five weeks, about time we got it called.”
Wrong time for Iowa State.
“We came in at halftime and the difference was a big play, the double-move play” said Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads. “It was a well-conceived play.”
For the Cowboys offensively, the difference was the passing game.
“Me and Charlie always talk,” Stewart said. “‘We've got a lot of people out and we've got to go, we've got to really step up.'
“We're just really trying to step up for those guys who were missing.”