STILLWATER — Not much went right the last time Oklahoma State played Troy.
They lost 41-23. They lost for the second time in just three games. And the lost the stick.
But this season, sitting at 3-0, the Cowboys have some swagger — along with The Big Stick — back.
You may have seen The Big Stick carried in by an OSU defensive player as the team roared out of the tunnel the past three weeks. It's hard to miss, a four-foot orange paddle with "BIG STICK” on one side and "POKES” on the other.
It's a a tradition defensive coordinator Tim Beckman brought with him to Stillwater. The Big Stick is awarded weekly to the Cowboy who makes the biggest hit of the game, and that player leads the team onto the field the next week, stick in hand.
"It's a pride issue,” Quinton Moore said. "You're labeled for the other team to watch out for. Like, ‘I did something last week to be known on this defense. I made my presence felt.'”
Beckman made the original, with assists from his wife and offensive line coach Joe Wickline.
"Wick helped me whittle the handle and Kim painted it,” Beckman said of the four foot long 4x4.
But last season, just the second time it made an appearance, the Big Stick was lost. Call it a metaphor; OSU's defense finished the season ranked 101st of the 119 Division I teams. Coaches continued to nominate and vote on big hits the rest of the season, but there was no physical award, nobody playing the role of Braveheart and leading his team onto the field for battle each week. It was left behind in Troy, Ala.
This season the Cowboys have a new and improved Big Stick, and they're hopeful that's a metaphor, too. It's early to tell just how much better OSU's defense is, but the 3-0 Cowboys say they have a different attitude on defense.
"We've gotten some kids that brought that absence of physical play to the team's attention, and it has built from them,” said early in the season.