The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

September 15, 2013

Pokes not happy despite rout of Lamar

STILLWATER, Okla. —  It isn’t often a team coming off a 59-3 win talks about needing to utilize its upcoming bye week to improve, but for No. 12 Oklahoma State, their blowout victory over Lamar wasn’t exactly a work of art.

With the Cowboys (3-0) getting next week off before starting Big 12 Conference play on Sept. 28 at West Virginia, they are eager to rest, regroup and resolve some issues that need to be cleaned up. Even factoring in the controversy surrounding Oklahoma State this week after the Sports Illustrated series came out detailing allegations of improprieties with the football program between 2001 and 2011, the performance against a clearly inferior FCS opponent was somewhat sloppy at times.

“We did OK,” said senior safety Daytawion Lowe, who recorded a team-high eight tackles against Lamar. “We made a lot of plays, but we got a lot of things we can fix, made a lot of mistakes. There’s a lot of things that opponents can focus on by watching that film, but I would be proud of us because we fought and played hard, but we’ve got work to do. We can’t be satisfied.”

With the first of four idle Saturdays this season, coach Mike Gundy plans to take advantage of some additional practice time, while also allowing players a chance to heal up a bit before the meat of the Cowboys’ schedule comes up.

“We’ll take advantage of the bye week,” Gundy said, “get three good practices in, take three days off, bring them back, and get them focused for the next week, get three more good practices, have a run-through and then travel to West Virginia.”

Feeling re-energized after a week off could benefit the Cowboys, because West Virginia (2-1), which is coming off a 41-7 win over Georgia State, plays Saturday against Maryland before the showdown at Milan Puskar Stadium the following week.

“It’ll be big for us, we’ll be able to stay fresh,” said linebacker Caleb Lavey. “It gives us extra time to work and prepare for West Virginia, who is a really tough team. It’s an opportunity to fix mistakes we’ve made the past three weeks and help everyone get their legs underneath them.”

And while OSU doesn’t have any significant injuries to heal, the rest will do them all some good, both mentally and physically.

“I think a bye week is needed for the team,” quarterback J.W. Walsh said. “We’ll definitely enjoy it and get our guys that are bumped up a rest so they can come back and be ready to play.”

Walsh, who was near-perfect the previous week in a 56-35 win over Texas-San Antonio to earn Big 12 offensive player of the week honors, was somewhat inconsistent Saturday against Lamar. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown, along with his first interception of the season that led to Lamar’s only points of the night, a field goal at the end of the first half.

“I thought he was just average,” Gundy said of his quarterback. “He wasn’t sharp throwing the football, but those (receivers) made up for it, made some sharp catches. They all count, but I thought he had about four throws that weren’t as good as they should have been, and maybe he wasn’t quite as focused as he should have been.”

Walsh is glad to have the break, which will enable him to work on refining some of the sloppiness issues that cropped up on Saturday.

“I think the bye week comes at a great time for us to really hone in on the little things and clean up some of the stuff that didn’t look good,” said Walsh, who also led OSU with 45 yards rushing on seven carries. “The more we get to work on stuff and tune our skills, the better we can be for conference play.’’

Enid’s Clint Chelf threw for 90 yards and a score and scored from eight yards out.

With the toughest games of their schedule still to come, Oklahoma State hopes to continue building team chemistry while remaining grounded.

“We haven’t accomplished anything yet, we haven’t even started conference play,” Lavey said. “We just need to maintain our humility and realize we haven’t arrived yet so we can go into each game hungry, ready to play and excited. As of right now, we have a lot of work to do. We’re going to use this bye week to improve and to fix our mistakes.”

STILLWATER (AP) — No. 12 Oklahoma State was happy to get back to football after a long week.

It came at Lamar’s expense.

In front of a record crowd of 59,061 at the Cowboys’ home opener, Jeremy Smith rushed for three first-half touchdowns and Josh Stewart returned a punt 67 yards for a score as OSU routed Lamar 59-3 on Saturday night.

“The crowd was a big factor for us,” Stewart said. “The walk was super-packed. That was exciting to see, and it shows you that no matter what, Stillwater has got your back.”

The buzz most of the week surrounded a Sports Illustrated series that detailed alleged misconduct in the football program dating to 2001. OSU officials have contacted the NCAA and launched their own investigation.

OSU coach Mike Gundy wasn’t exactly thrilled with the performance against an overmatched Championships Subdivision school.

“I thought our guys played OK,” Gundy said. “We were a little sluggish and maybe even sloppy at times.  Offensively, we were pretty average. It was tough for our players, getting them motivated after halftime. They did OK.”

Caleb Berry led the offense for Lamar (1-2), throwing for 114 yards on 18 of 38 passing.

“It was a great experience overall,” said Berry, who also rushed for 16 yards. “We might not have executed like we wanted to on offense, but our guys played hard and with heart and I’m proud of them.”

OSU (3-0) has now scored a total of 115 points in its last two games as it heads into a bye week that precedes their Big 12 Conference opener Sept. 28 at West Virginia.

One week after a near-perfect performance in which he completed 24 of 27 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns, J.W. Walsh looked considerably more human. With 17 of 30 passing, for 181 yards and one touchdown, Walsh left the game midway through the third quarter.

“A little disappointed,” Walsh said. “There were a lot of times where there were open guys and I just missed them. There were a lot of throws where I’d like to have back. But any time you get a 59-3 win, you can’t be too disappointed.”

Enid;s Clint Chelf was a perfect six-of-six for 90 yards passing, including a 16-yard scoring pass to Blake Webb.He rushed for 23 yards on three carries, including a eight-yard touchdown run.`

OSU enjoyed an outstanding day on special teams, as Stewart totaled 114 yards on three punt returns, including his TD early in the third quarter that gave the Cowboys a 38-3 lead.

“We worked all week hard on that punt return and it just worked out just as we practiced it,” said Stewart, who also gained a team-high 49 yards on three receptions. “Knowing you have blockers that are going to block for you, it makes it easier on me.”

OSU’s offense clicked from the very start, scoring touchdowns on each of its first three possessions to take a 21-0 lead before the end of the opening quarter.

The Cowboys needed to punt just once and held a 31-0 lead when Lamar forced Oklahoma State’s first turnover of the season late in the second quarter. Branden Thomas picked off Walsh’s deep throw and returned it 25 yards to the OSU 30-yard-line. That led to Lamar’s first points of the game, a Justin Stout 44-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

“This is not just a Big 12 team, it’s a very good Big 12 team,” Lamar coach Ray Woodward said. “It’s as good of an offense as I’ve seen in the country this year.”

Lamar’s best chance for a touchdown came early in the fourth quarter when they pushed all the way to the OSU 6-yard line. On a fourth-and-three, the Cardinals opted to go for it, but Berry’s pass sailed over Kevin Johnson’s head in the end zone.

“We got some exposure for our program,” Woodward said. “We got to come up here and see what it’s like to play in front of a crowd like this. There are a lot of positives from tonight, but the scoreboard wasn’t one of them.”

On the game’s opening drive, Lamar moved the ball effectively, gaining 32 total yards to the OSU 43-yard-line, but when they went for it on fourth-and-3, Berry’s pass attempt fell incomplete.  

After that, the Cowboys proceeded to march downfield, taking a 7-0 lead on Desmond Roland’s 2-yard touchdown run with 9:09 left in the first quarter and the rout was on.

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