Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cowboys boast balance

Rushing, passing totals match exactly


— To get through 11 games and have exactly the same yardage totals in rushing and passing took quite the coincidence for Oklahoma State - or maybe some meticulous planning.

"In the Baylor game in the fourth quarter, I heard one of the (graduate assistants) on the headphones," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. "He says, 'We need to run a hitch and get 6 yards so we can keep it balanced."'

While Gundy was joking, the Cowboys were actually in need of exactly 6 yards at the end of their 45-14 win against Baylor last week to get their rushing and passing totals to 2,755 yards. On a fourth-and-2, Julius Crosslin ran for 6 yards on the final play of the game to pull the totals even.

"I don't know how that's happened," Gundy said. "That's a pretty amazing thing. I have no idea how that's happened."

Offensive coordinator Larry Fedora also got in on the action, playfully describing how Oklahoma State has achieved such perfect balance.

"We have a guy in the press box who has a calculator and he tells me how many yards we need on which play, and that's the way we work it," Fedora said.

"It's totally by chance. We always preach being balanced, but we've never said that balance means that we're going to run it 35 and throw it 35. It just means we're going to take what the defense gives us, and we want to be able to do both things when necessary. That's what we feel is important."

¢Backing up Bowman: The absence of one of the Cowboys' top playmakers didn't slow the offense down much last week.

With receiver Adarius Bowman out with a right knee injury, Oklahoma State still amassed 545 yards of total offense. While the Cowboys' 202 passing yards were their second fewest in a game this season, they made up for it with their second-best rushing performance of the season - 343 yards.

The passing game was enough of a threat to keep Baylor from stifling Oklahoma State's running game, with senior Tommy Devereaux and junior Seth Newton each catching their second career touchdown pass.

"A lot of them are getting their first opportunities to do something," Fedora said. "With A.D. not in there, we spread it around a little bit more than we have in the past. Guys are getting some opportunities to make some plays, and they either make them or they don't."

Six receivers caught passes, and no one had more than four receptions. It was the first time all season that Oklahoma State didn't have a receiver with at least six receptions. Freshman Dez Bryant - who was expected to pick up the slack with Bowman out - had only two receptions for 12 yards.

Bowman is also out for this Saturday's game at No. 10 Oklahoma, and Fedora said he will be missed.

"I wouldn't trade a great playmaker just so you can spread the wealth around. I'll take that playmaker any time," Fedora said. "We miss A.D., there's no doubt about it, but it was good to see other guys step up."

¢Perfect roommates: Gundy considered tailbacks Dantrell Savage and Kendall Hunter to be ideal roommates because neither one of them is much of a talker. But another perfect match exists in the secondary, where talkative cornerback Perrish Cox rooms with Martel Van Zant, who is deaf, when the Cowboys travel.

"We put Perrish Cox and Martel Van Zant in the same room," Gundy said. "You know why? Because nobody wants to listen to Perrish for a day and a half when we travel on the road."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.