Oklahoma State football: The night it all changed for the OSU Cowboys

OKLAHOMA STATE — It's the night it all began for the Oklahoma State football program you see today. But Brandon Weeden thought Nov. 24, 2001, was the last night of his football career. A look back at what that night and 16-13 mean today to both.
by John Helsley Published: November 30, 2011

Weeden actually recalls the excitement emanating from outside the stadium as news of 16-13 began to spread through Stillwater.

“Maybe third or fourth quarter,” he said, “I remember it sounded like people were on top of these buildings out here. It was loud and people were screaming. We were inside the stadium playing a game.

“Obviously, it's 10 years later and I still remember it. It was pretty crazy.”

That game, despite a 4-7 finish, created momentum for OSU and Les Miles and Mike Gundy, then the offensive coordinator. And it got Boone Pickens' attention, playing a part in his later decision to go deep-pockets as a donor.

The program likely doesn't get here without that chain of events started by 16-13.

“I've said many times, I thought that was a great lift for our team going into offseason, because we had only won three games,” Gundy said. “It's very difficult to go into offseason when you have a poor year. It's tough to motivate them to get them going, so that gave them a lift.

“I'm sure it instigated some season-ticket sales and kind of got us going in certain areas. So I think that was a good win for us, I don't think there's any question.”

The program may not be here without Weeden, either.

For all the key cogs in advancing OSU's brand, including other talented quarterbacks, it's Weeden who directed the first 11-win season in school history a year ago and now has the Cowboys positioned for another, not to mention the program's first Big 12 championship and BCS bowl berth.

“We're getting there as a program,” Weeden said. “We've become a little more relevant and people realize what we bring to the table. We're very blessed to be in the position we're in, without a doubt.”

Considering fate, the Cowboys are blessed to have had Weeden.

“You look back at Weeden, and you would like to be in a situation where you can keep a guy like that forever, because our team's kind of just grabbed onto him,” Gundy said. “We've had other guys lead, but obviously, he's been very good.

“He's going to go down as one of the best to ever play here.”

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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