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Oklahoma State football notebook: Mike Gundy always started new year with Cotton Bowl

OSU will play Tuesday in a traditional time slot — the Cotton Bowl on the morning of New Year's Day. Like many college football fans, that's how Cowboy coach Mike Gundy usually started his new year while he was growing up.
by Berry Tramel Published: December 30, 2012

Did he even consider going sleeveless?

“Absolutely not,” he said with a laugh. “That has not even crossed my mind ever. (The offensive linemen are) a little bit tougher than I am, I guess.” 

NICKEL AND DIMING

A challenge of defending OSU's offense is the balanced attack it runs out of the spread system.

To match up against the Cowboys' receivers, Purdue will need to play a fair amount of nickel and dime coverage, with five or six defensive backs. But it will also need to try to stop All-Big 12 running back Joseph Randle, who rushed for more than 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.

“Your defensive line has to play an integral part in that,” Boilermakers interim coach Patrick Higgins said. “If you can get your defensive line to dominate their offensive line, and to create havoc, then you're gonna be OK.

“We have to win the battles up front. That's how the game is won. You win it on the offensive line and defensive line.”

Purdue does have one crucial piece on the defensive line in All-American tackle Kawann Short. He tallied 42 tackles (14.5 for loss), six sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries this season.

EVAN EPSTEIN'S GRAND ADVENTURE

With so many players on OSU's roster from the Dallas area, getting to the bowl site after Christmas was an easy trip.

Certainly much simpler than the one Evan Epstein and former Cowboy Justin Blackmon endured last year while traveling to Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl.

Because of an overbooked flight in Dallas, Epstein and Blackmon were put on a plane to North Carolina, then flown all the way back to Phoenix.

What should have been about a two-hour flight turned into an all-day adventure, complete with full walking tours of the Dallas-Fort Worth and Raleigh airports to kill time.

“We literally walked in like five minutes before practice started,” Epstein said. “… It was just one of those things. You can't get mad about traveling. That's the way it is these days, I guess.”

GEOGRAPHY CHALLENGED

Purdue safety Landon Feichter said he's enjoying the bowl experience.

“This is the second time I've played in Dallas,” Feichter said. “Last time we played wasn't a good outcome in Dallas, when we played Rice last season. We're hoping to change that.”

Uh, Feichter had the right result — Rice beat Purdue 24-22 — but the wrong city. That game was played in Houston.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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