SAN ANTONIO â€” A pair of meaty hands extended above the Oklahoma State players gathered on the Alamodome turf.
Then, the thumbs came together and the pistols were something else entirely.
A makeshift No. 11.
On the night that OSU reveled in an Alamo Bowl beat down of Arizona, the Cowboys also celebrated the program's most significant bowl victory in decades. This was a game to enjoy for so many reasons.
OSU 36, Arizona 10.
What a grand night.
â€œIt means a lot to the program and also to the seniors,â€ Cowboy running back Kendall Hunter said as the postgame celebration swirled around him. â€œThere isn't a better way to end it.â€
Cheered on by a massive throng of orange-clad fans, the Cowboys put an exclamation mark on a historic season. They made sure there was no doubt in notching win No. 11.
No other OSU team has ever been able to say it has won that many games. Not the Thurman Thomas teams. Not the Barry Sanders and Hart Lee Dykes squads.
There have been some amazingly talented squads that have worn the Cowboy orange before this bunch, but none won this many games. That this team, a group that had to replace so many seniors and so many standouts, was able to be the first to the 11-win plateau deserves to be celebrated.
Add the way these Cowboys won No. 11, and it's even sweeter.
There was no doubt about the outcome as the Cowboys built a double-digit victory early and never relinquished it. They moved the ball on offense. They came up with turnovers on defense. Even Dan Bailey, filling in for absent Quinn Sharp, made sure the special teams were solid.
â€œI said, â€˜You know what? I'm just going to have fun with it, and whatever happens happens,'â€ Bailey said of taking over Sharp's punting and kickoff duties.
â€œIt's kind of funny because I messed up on the one thing I've been doing all season,â€ Bailey said of his missed extra point.
That wide kick might've been the only blemish on this night.
The last couple times OSU ventured to the Alamo Bowl, things didn't go so well. While a double-digit loss to Purdue in 1997 was tough, it paled in comparison to the 2004 fiasco. Rumors swirled about LSU wanting to hire then Cowboy coach Les Miles. He denied that there was any truth to them. But not long after a 33-7 debacle against Ohio State, it became obvious that LSU was interested and Miles had been listening.
But you know what? These Cowboys exorcised those Alamo Bowl ghosts by the way they played on Wednesday night.
They didn't squeak by the Wildcats.
â€œWe were young this year and a lot of people doubted us,â€ Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden said, â€œbut in that locker room, it's the closest group of guys I've ever been around. That's why we had success this year. They're more concerned about winning as a team.â€
Most of these Cowboys hadn't tasted bowl victory until Wednesday night. Not since 2007 has OSU won a bowl, and this is a team heavy on youngsters who weren't regulars on that Insight Bowl squad.
Instead, they remember bowls gone bad.
They went to San Diego two years ago and got physically dominated by Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. They went to the Metroplex last year and endured a mistake-plagued afternoon against Mississippi at the Cotton Bowl.
Remember, too, that Arizona had similar motivation going into this game. It was not only shut out but also blown out a year ago. Nebraska shellacked it in the Holiday Bowl.
The Wildcats talked about making amends for that.
The Cowboys actually did.
â€œIt's a statement,â€ Cowboy defensive back Brodrick Brown said. â€œWe're a force to be reckoned with next season. We're just going to try to continue to build on what we did this year and try to get 12 wins next season.â€