November 20, 2009

Black Thursday: OSU survives scare from Buffs

STILLWATER - When Perrish Cox took a punt return 67 yards for a score early in the first quarter, it was looking like Oklahoma State would annihilate Colorado.

That couldn't have been further from the truth.

In fact, that return proved to be the only real exciting part of this game for the Cowboys, who managed to hold off a CU squad which played tenaciously, making the evening much more difficult than expected. After a lot of struggling, OSU managed to get ahead of the Buffaloes to grab a win out of the jaws of defeat, 31-28.

A crowd of 50,080 at Boone Pickens Stadium sat stunned for most of the game, as the No. 12 Pokes (9-2 overall, 6-2 Big 12) stumbled early and often. Alex Cate, starting the game in place of the injured Zac Robinson, played horrifically in the first half, going 0-for-9 with one interception - although three other passes could have easily had been picks as well. With the offense dead in the water, head coach Mike Gundy made a change at halftime to Brandon Weeden, who has been No. 3 on the depth chart all season long.

Apparently, the third QB was the charm, as OSU's 26-year-old signal-caller was able to stabilize things, get the offense moving and lead the team to victory. In only two quarters of play, Weeden was 10-of-15 for 168 yards and two touchdowns.

"I had butterflies," Weeden said. "But once you complete the first pass, those are the window. It's just time to compete. I kept telling the seniors, 'We're going to win this football game.' They got that kick return and they went up 10 or seven or whatever it was and I just said, 'We're going to win this football game.' And I think everybody had faith in me and obviously I had faith in everybody else."

Running back Keith Toston - who had a fabulous night of his own, scoring twice and amassing 217 yards of total offense (172 on the ground) - said the team knew he could step in and throw the ball.

"He stepped in and made some plays that Zac would make," Toston said. "It was exactly what we needed at that time."

After a first half that featured zero passing yards and only 126 yards on offense, Toston admitted Weeden taking over the unit provided a boost.

"It was a huge spark," Toston said. "Even the crowd could see we had a hard time completing passes early. He stepped in and made a couple of key throws and got the crowd back in the game and he helped us out."

"It didn't matter what it was," said offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer, "we just needed some energy and kind of get a boost. And Weed man came in and - obviously he's blessed by his arm or he wouldn't have been in pro baseball - so he delivered some balls and we made some plays. He just stayed in there and hung in there and kept throwing it in there. He gave them the ol' one-ball and he kept throwing the heater."

Head coach Mike Gundy said he wasn't sure on how Weeden would do.

"He did play well," Gundy said. "Surprised may be the right word. He's shown signs of that, but he just hasn't been out there enough. The last time he was out there was against Grambling and that game was somewhat put away. You're not really sure how a young man is going to react. He performed pretty well tonight. He ran around and made a couple of plays when protection broke down. Obviously, he gave us a chance to win the game."

In short, Weeden was able to crank the offense and get it going. In turn, they held off CU (3-8, 2-5), which at one time enjoyed a lead of 21-10 as late as the tail end of the third quarter.

"It was just one of those games," Patrick Lavine said. "We're a team and we're going to have days like this."

"I'm very glad this game is over and excited to get a little break this weekend," Justin Blackmon said.

With the Buffs out of the way, Orange Country can finally focus on Bedlam, which is set for an 11:30 a.m. start on Nov. 28.

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