Friday was obviously a rough day for Oklahoma State, learning early in the day that Cowgirls basketball coaches Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna had been lost in a plane crash.
That they didn't deny.
“For me to say it wasn't a strange day would be kind of leading everybody astray,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. “It was a surreal day.”
Still, Gundy and his coaches and players refused to use the day's events as a factor in their 37-31 double-overtime loss at Iowa State.
“This team has handled a lot of different situations,” Gundy said. “We just didn't play well.”
Said OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young: “We didn't lose the ball game because of that. We lose the ball game because they played better than we did and they coached better than we did.
“I mean, it's a huge tragedy, don't get me wrong. I'm not being unsympathetic for that.”
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken: “Had nothing to do with that. We didn't play well enough. The short week. The plane crash. Had nothing to do with that. Had nothing to do with us making poor calls, throwing interceptions, fumbling the football. Had nothing to do with that.”
WEEDEN MOVES TO NO. 1
Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden entered Friday night's game needing 150 yards to become the school's all-time passing leader.
He got there in the midway through the second quarter, on a 10-yard pass to Josh Cooper, then distanced himself from Zac Robinson's old mark by throwing for 476 in the game.
Weeden now has 9,244 yards in 25 games and the better part of two seasons. Robinson's total of 8,317 was accomplished in 45 games, although at one point Friday night, they had attempted the same number of passes: 999.
MORE WEEDEN NOTABLES
Weeden fired three touchdown passes against the Cyclones, giving him two or more TD tosses in 21 of his 24 career starts.
He's now thrown a touchdown pass in 24 straight games.
The Cowboys have created a defensive identity as a takeaway team, leading the nation in forced turnovers and turnover margin.
With three more against ISU, the Pokes now have 37 for the season.
What they didn't have before Friday night was a defensive touchdown. That changed in the first quarter with Shaun Lewis picking off Cyclones quarterback Jared Barnett and romping 70 yards with the interception for a score.
OSU FANS CHEER
Friday was somber for anyone associated with OSU, but the Cowboy fans at Jack Trice Stadium cheered.
“We're obviously going to cheer ‘em on,” said Jon Espenscheid, a 1990 OSU graduate, who now lives in Marshalltown, Iowa, and calls OSU the “biggest family I've ever had in my life.”
Espenscheid called the deaths of Budke and Serna “sad … it hit me hard this morning. I grieve for the family. But we're going to move on, just like we did 10 years ago.”
OSU grad Adam Miller of Kansas City, Mo., said he worked at the University of Houston when Serna played there. But he wasn't going to sit on his hands.
“You gotta cheer,” Miller said. “This is going to be a good game. Hopefully it will help people lift their spirits.”
ROUGH NIGHT FOR NICO
OSU freshman linebacker Nico Ornelas suffered a dubious night on punt returns.
Early in the second quarter, Ornelas was called for a block in the back, negating Josh Cooper's 26-yard punt return. Later in the period, Cooper returned a punt and found running room but collided with Ornelas, who was peeling back to block, and went down after a five-yard return.
OSU fullback David Paulsen is from Marietta, Ga., but his dad's family is all from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And a contingent of 20 or so, most wearing “Paulsen 30” apparel, sat with the Cowboy crowd.
ISU FEELS THE PAIN
Iowa State staged a moment of silence for the OSU basketball coaches killed in a plane crash Thursday.
The Cyclones know the feeling. In 1985, an Iowa State plane returning from the NCAA Cross-Country Championships crashed in Des Moines.
Three runners, two coaches, a trainer and a pilot died.
“Worst thing we ever went through,” said ISU associate athletic director Tom Kroeschell. “I can't imagine going through it twice.”