STILLWATER — Glenn Spencer had never offered up this type of advice in his life. Until Saturday night.
With the Oklahoma State offensive coaches weighing whether to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line early in the second quarter against Texas Tech, Spencer got in the huddle and tapped Mike Gundy on the shoulder.
“I said, ‘Punch it in,'” the Cowboy defensive coordinator recalled. “With much resolve on my face I said, ‘We'll get 'em stopped.'”
“I'm glad they did, because I'd have had to pony up to my end of the bargain if they wouldn't have.”
OSU's upset in Lubbock featured some gutsy calls. A third-and-9 quarterback draw that Clint Chelf broke for a 67-yard score. A fade to Tracy Moore for a touchdown near the goal-line, when a lasting image of that play for Cowboy fans is the one that failed against West Virginia. A few all-out blitzes the defense sent toward Tech quarterback Davis Webb.
But perhaps none were gutsier than the pair of fourth-down decisions near the goal line — and the subsequent play calls — that resulted in touchdowns.
“It's just a gut feeling based on the game,” Gundy said. “You can't ever really predict. … I just don't know that I felt like kicking field goals on the road — which could be some sort of a success for them, stopping us that close to the goal line — was the best thing.”
With Tech rallying to cut the Cowboys' lead to 21-10 early in the second quarter, OSU faced fourth-and-goal from the 1. Chelf took the snap from under center, faked the handoff, rolled to his right and hit Jeremy Seaton in the end zone.
Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said the Cowboys have practiced that play since fall camp and that the quarterback has the option to keep the ball himself if both receivers are covered.
And Chelf is first supposed to look to throw to Kye Staley, not Seaton. But the way Tech lined up before the snap suddenly made Seaton think he could get open.
“The main thought that was going through my head was don't mess up,” Seaton said. “Get off coverage, don't fall, make the catch.”
Later, with the Cowboys clinging to a 28-24 lead early in the third quarter, they went for it again. On fourth-and-2 at the 3, Desmond Roland took the handoff and pounded it into the end zone.
“Get ready, it's your time to shine,” center Jake Jenkins said of his mindset on those types of calls. “We know that it's going to be put on the offensive line and we know that we need to go. Everybody just kind of (put) up or shut up and got with it.”
After that, OSU pulled away, primarily thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns from Chelf. But that shouldn't diminish the significance of those fourth-down calls at the time.
“You're on the road and you're playing against a good offense,” Yurcich said. “You've got to do whatever you've got to do to come away with a ‘W,' and going for it in those situations were very important for us.”
And the Cowboys enjoy playing with that no-fear mentality.
“It kind of keeps it to where we're unpredictable,” Seaton said. “Defenses don't really know what we're doing. It's a great thing to have on your side.”