The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 13, 2012

OSU numbers impress Weis


Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Kan. — LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — You didn’t even have to be in the same room as Kansas coach Charlie Weis to know how he looked when he pored over the statistics Oklahoma State has been putting up this season.

It’s enough to simply read his remarks and imagine.

“It’s big, big numbers,” Weis said. “It’s big passing totals. It’s big rushing totals. It’s big point totals. These are big numbers.”

For the record, Weis had a slight deer-in-the-headlights look on his face, though he also smiled in appreciation of what the Cowboys have been doing. Sure, there was an 84-point blitz of Savannah State to skew the numbers, but that doesn’t change the fact OSU (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) has scored at least 30 points in 22 consecutive games.

The Cowboys lead the nation in scoring at nearly 59 points per game. They lead the nation in total offense at nearly 660 yards per game. They’re the only team in the nation among the top 10 in passing offense and rushing offense, gaining 300 yards on the ground per game.

Big numbers, to be sure.

“They’re big numbers no matter what,” Weis said, “but you do have to factor in two of their opponents from this year. Their two wins, you have to look at numbers from those games, and those games are non-competitive. But the numbers still count. Doesn’t matter who you’re playing.”

Yes, along with that blowout of Savannah State was a 65-24 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, the two wins alternating with a 59-38 loss to Arizona and a controversial 41-36 loss to Texas.

The Cowboys visit the Jayhawks today.

“You have to be able to prepare to play at the speed they play at,” said Kansas defensive end Toben Opurum. “That’s where most of their big plays come from is playing high paced and getting defenses out of order and kind of frustrated with what they’re doing.”

That’s precisely what happened to the Jayhawks (1-4, 0-2) last season.

Kansas actually scored first in the game played in Stillwater. But it took fewer than 2 minutes for quarterback Brandon Weeden to lead the Cowboys back downfield, and the touchdown to tie the game was only the tipping point of what would become a shake-your-head kind of rout.

OSU tacked on four more touchdowns by the end of the first quarter. Three more by halftime. One each in the third and fourth quarters for good measure.

By the time the final seconds ticked away, Kansas had managed two fourth-quarter TDs to make the final score slightly more respectable — or rather, as respectable as 70-28 can be.

There’s another game that stands out to OSU coach Mike Gundy, though.

It was a couple years earlier, in 2006, his second year on the job. He’d gone just 4-7 in his first year replacing Les Miles, and the pressure was starting to build. The Cowboys were coming off back-to-back losses to Houston and Kansas State when they rolled into Lawrence.

Behind a virtuoso performance by the quarterback-wide receiver combination of Bobby Reid and Adarius Bowman, OSU rolled to a 42-32 victory. Reid finished with more than 400 yards and five touchdowns passing, and Bowman had 13 catches for 300 yards and four of the scores.

Looking back, it may have been a turning point for Gundy.

“There are games early in a coach’s career where a new coach has to establish themselves,” Gundy said. “If two or three things go wrong, the doubt could be created, you can’t recruit, people who support the program don’t believe in you, and then it becomes infectious.

“Those games kind of got us over the hump and we were able to go win a bowl game and enough people bought into the program and keep your head above water.”

Everybody knows what has happened since that game.

The Cowboys won seven games the next year, nine each of the next two years, and 11 games in 2010, when they challenged for the Big 12 title. Last year they went 12-1 and beat Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl, coming within a road upset at Iowa State of playing for a national championship.

The Jayhawks mostly have gone the other way since that game in 2006.

They went 12-1 the next year and won the Orange Bowl, but slid each of the next two seasons before Mark Mangino was fired. Turner Gill lasted only two ugly seasons before Weis took over this year, and things haven’t exactly gone swimmingly since he drove into town.

The Jayhawks’ only victory was over South Dakota State, and they’re coming off a 56-16 loss to sixth-ranked Kansas State, their fourth consecutive defeat.

“No one is happy. No one is satisfied with where we are,” Kansas quarterback Dayne Crist said. “No one is going to stop and say, ‘Hey, well, that’s all we’ve got,’ because that’s not true. We’ve always got a little more. We’ve always got another option and something else we can do. We’ve just got to keep working.”