Brandon Weeden recalls the celebration scene, one that Oklahoma State insiders still proclaim as the richest of the Mike Gundy era.
“I remember celebrating with Boone (Pickens) in the locker room afterward,” Weeden said. “It was unbelievable. I think he got pretty fired up about it.”
Details? A Gundy-esque dance strut?
“A lot of Gatorade being thrown everywhere,” Weeden said, not giving away too much. “Boone was excited about it. He was right in the middle of everything.”
That was Columbia, Missouri 2008 – a significant fork in the road leading to the Cowboys' current stout status at No. 4 in the BCS Standings. OSU hadn't yet won any landmark games, especially on the road, yet shocked the No. 3 Tigers 28-23 that night on national TV to punctuate a 6-0 season start and elevate its football brand.
In retrospect, that breakthrough signaled OSU's rise as much as any as a signature win delivering believability not only across the country, but inside the Cowboys locker room. Fast forwarding back to today, the Pokes' spurs are well-earned and shiny, polished on victories claimed at once-dreaded locales like Austin and College Station and Lubbock; victories built on a tough win at Mizzou, where they pulled off clutch plays on offense and defense.
“Yeah, I think it was the starting point for us,” said Weeden, a deep reserve on that team. “It just gradually went from there.”
Now it's back to Columbia, that stepping out point, which in 2011 stands as perhaps the final major hurdle in the can't-get-here-quick-enough charge to Bedlam Bonanza.
The Tigers have been somewhat of an enigma, at 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the Big 12. They blitzed Iowa State 52-17 Saturday and played tough in a loss at Oklahoma, but also not so tough in losses to Kansas State and Arizona State.
Still, Mizzou remains dangerous and stands unbeaten at home.
Of course, the Cowboys are unbeaten on the road, not just this year but last and more, a span of eight games. And they're 13-3 on the road dating back to that 2008 trip to Missouri.
“I remember that game well,” Weeden said. “It was a good environment, they were No. 3 in the country, were No. 17. I mean, we went up there and played unbelievable.
“Damian Davis catching that ball that wasn't even thrown to him… I remember it like it was yesterday.”
And those memories should come in handy – again – when the Cowboys bid to extend one of the nation's best road winning streaks at Mizzou.
Lingering all the way back to the offseason, one hesitation in labeling OSU a national title contender has been the potential travel traps. But already, trips to Tulsa, A&M and Texas have been cleared.
Now, if the Cowboys can finish this back-to-back, Austin-to-Columbia double dip, a promising end comes into view.
“Everybody pointed to these two games as kind of the crucial games,” Weeden said of Texas and Missouri. “A&M was huge, but these two games, back-to-back, on the road, everybody kind of pointed to these.”
While most of us crave what Bedlam could bring, Cowboys coaches resist all thoughts to skip ahead. And that is wise, with work to be done at Missouri and beyond.
“Everybody talks about a playoff, here it is,” said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “Keep winning. We don't want to eliminate the process.
“Just keep winning games. Just keep playing well the next week. Then you have a chance.”