STILLWATER — The film room was an unhappy place at special teams meeting time last week, after Oklahoma State's woeful performance against Kansas State in multiple phases of the kicking game.
But Sunday's review session should be a little more pleasing for everyone after the performance against West Virginia.
Not only did Justin Gilbert return a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown to pass Perrish Cox for the OSU career record with five TDs, the Cowboys contained dangerous return man Tavon Austin with good punt and kickoff coverage.
OSU also took advantage of some West Virginia mistakes, a mishandled kickoff and a mishandled punt, which the Cowboys turned into 10 points.
Coach Mike Gundy said the staff put together a gameplan to help the unit, particularly in coverage.
“We changed where we lined the ball up. We changed our coverage units a little bit,” Gundy said. “Our guys made some plays, and Quinn (Sharp) punted the ball really well. He was good on squib kicks into the wind. We changed up our kickoff return, and obviously it worked out well for us.
“Other than (getting a punt blocked), I thought special teams were the difference.”
Added Gilbert: “I think we're getting back to where we were last year on special teams, putting in more work and having that mindset of wanting to make plays, not just waiting on the next guy to make a play.”
ALL THREE QUARTERBACKS WERE AVAILABLE
OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken said the team's top three quarterbacks were physically cleared to play Saturday.
But the coaches had been preparing Clint Chelf to start all week, prior to Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh getting cleared, so they stuck with Chelf because he had gotten the most work in practice.
Lunt's status was unknown after suffering an apparent concussion last week, and Walsh's availability was the big surprise, recovering from a fractured knee.
“They were all able to play today,” Monken said. “(Walsh) got off his crutches at the end of last week. They said that it's really kind of filled it, the crack that he had, and that he was available today if we needed him.
“The problem was, Wes wasn't really ready at the start of the week. There's only so many reps in the week. Moving forward, we'll assess the game and what Texas Tech does, and who gives us the best chance to win.”
After Chelf's performance Saturday, the Cowboys are confident in all three quarterbacks.
“There will come a point where we won't have a fourth,” Monken said with a smile. “Let's not try that out. I love (fourth-string QB Jase Chilcoat) but it ends at three.”
PENALTY CONCERNS — SORT OF
OSU piled up 11 penalties for 108 yards Saturday, bringing back an issue that bothered the team early in the season.
Yet Gundy wasn't incredibly bothered by the fouls, especially personal foul calls on Calvin Barnett and Ashton Lampkin.
Barnett was called for a blow to the head of the quarterback, but Gundy said he was “giving effort and his arm got swung around and hit (the quarterback) in the head. I can't fault Calvin for that. He's fighting to try to get to the quarterback.”
Lampkin was flagged for a late hit out of bounds in which he appeared to make contact in play and ride the player out of bounds.
Gundy said he looked forward to reviewing the fouls, but added “I'm not disputing the calls.”
Gundy stopped on his way to the locker room at halftime to speak with officials.
“I was just telling them they looked nice in their uniforms,” he cracked.
Oklahoma State finds itself in a unique situation through nine games this season. Every player who has scored a touchdown this season is eligible to return next year.
That's 14 players and 48 touchdowns.
Two players listed as seniors — Kye Staley and Tracy Moore — have scored touchdowns this season. Staley was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA this week, and it has been revealed by OSU that Moore will be out for the season and qualifies for a redshirt for medical reasons.
* Gundy on the defense's performance, allowing 479 yards and 34 points, both below West Virginia's season averages: “The concern when you play West Virginia is they have the talent at any time to put up 40 or 50 points... For the most part, I thought our defense played good, because you're playing against talented guys on the perimeter. They're very explosive.”
CONNECTING THE PAST
The last time OSU and West Virginia met was the 1987 Sun Bowl, and that game had a strong presence in the stadium Saturday.
Gundy was OSU's quarterback that day, leading the Cowboys to victory.
In addition, Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen coached West Virginia in that game. His grandson, Ryan Nehlen, had four catches for 26 yards and a touchdown Saturday.
Dan Nehlen, Ryan's father, is the Mountaineers' equipment manager, and Ryan is the nephew of former West Virginia and NFL quarterback Jeff Hostetler.
Late in the first half, three former Cowboys appeared on the field to a rousing applause — Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper, who led OSU to last year's historic season.
Weeden and Cooper, who both play for the Cleveland Browns, were able to attend because the Browns are off this week. Blackmon's Jacksonville Jaguars played the Thursday night game against Indianapolis.
Gilbert's five career kickoff return TDs ties the Big 12 Conference record held by Kansas State's Brandon Banks... With 74 yards Saturday, running back Joseph Randle surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year, giving OSU a 1,000-yard back in six straight seasons. He is also the sixth OSU back to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons... Redshirt freshman Jeremy Seaton, a walk-on fullback/tight end from Cashion, served as one of OSU's four captains Saturday and had one reception for three yards, the first of his career... Offensive lineman Brandon Webb from Owasso made his first career start Saturday... Kicker Quinn Sharp moved into the top 10 on OSU's all-time scoring chart, tied for ninth with 252 points after scoring 13 Saturday... Junior receiver Charlie Moore has scored a touchdown in five straight games... Saturday's attendance of 57,799 was the sixth-largest crowd in Boone Pickens Stadium history.