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OSU can still enjoy the moment as Big 12 football champion

by Jenni Carlson Published: December 4, 2011
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/articleid/3629364/1/pictures/1580230">Photo - Oklahoma State's Jamie Blatnick (50) celebrates with fans following the Bedlam college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. OSU won 44-10. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State's Jamie Blatnick (50) celebrates with fans following the Bedlam college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011. OSU won 44-10. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

“And this was a hundred times better,” he said. “The mix of young and old (Saturday) night was amazing.”

It's true — there were students and adults alike on the field. I spied a thirty-something running around like a human airplane, arms out wide. I watched a pair of twenty-somethings in the end zone making snow angels, never mind that there was no snow.

It was an amazing scene.

Jill Bowman was a part of it. Said she felt like she'd just won the lottery.

“The O-State family has been dealt some pretty bad cards over the years and even more so these past few months,” said Bowman, a 2010 graduate. “I felt that we needed that win. We are a strong family, but without some reinforcement, even the strongest struggle.”

The Cowboy Nation has endured more than its share of tragedy and turmoil in the past decade. The men's basketball plane crash. The Eddie Sutton saga. The power struggle that followed. The women's basketball plane crash.

Along the way, OSU football was growing into the contender that it's become, with a massive overhaul of facilities and a dramatic improvement of talent, but there were lots of fits and starts along the way. A blown 28-point, first-half lead at Texas in 2004. A Friday night loss at Troy in 2007. An early season home loss to Houston in 2009. A near-miss in Bedlam last season.

A breakthrough always seemed so close, but Cowboy fans, you know there was always that lingering doubt.

Will it really happen?

Saturday night, it did.

Robyn Matthews, an OSU senior, started crying as she watched her fellow students rush the field at the end of the game.

“I've been a fan since I was a baby,” she said, “but it's all different when you're a student. And for my senior year to be the year that OSU beats OU, we win our first Big 12 championship, we're going to a BCS game ... I have never had so much pride in my school.”

Not getting into the national championship game stinks. No two ways around that.

But none of that changes what Cowboy fans experienced the other night. The euphoria. The excitement. The exhilaration. Those feelings will remain forever.

The disappointment of Sunday night did nothing to diminish the delirium of Saturday night.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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