NCF Nation: Derrick Sumler

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

After being blown out last week at Texas Tech, some wondered how Oklahoma State would respond after such a one-sided defeat that ended its Big 12 South title hopes.

But after watching them cruise to a 13-3 halftime lead against Colorado, there seems to be little hangover for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys' strong performance is showing that even being the fourth-best team in the South Division perhaps perhaps could qualify a team to be considered among the top 10 teams in the nation.

Zac Robinson has directed a Cowboy offense that cracked the Colorado 5-yard line on its first two possessions, but came away with only a pair of field goals.

"Our defense did a good job of turning them away when they got close," Colorado coach Dan Hawkins told ABC-TV as he left the field at halftime.

Dez Bryant's one-handed 29-yard TD grab boosted the Cowboys to a comfortable lead that really isn't indicative of how they have dominated.

Hawkins has implored his team to "play with their horns out." The Buffaloes have played well within the shadow of their own end zone so far. Colorado just needs to expand that area outwards in the second half.

Here are some other observations I've gleaned after watching the first half and the end of Missouri's victory over Iowa State.

  • Colorado kicker Aric Goodman finally snapped a streak of eight straight missed field goals when he converted a 31-yard field goal to account for all of Colorado's scoring in the first half. "He's been money on hitting the upright," Hawkins said.
  • Backup Colorado running back Derrick Sumler has looked good in the early going, rushing for a team-best 52 yards. He's getting the majority of carries after Darrell Scott was dinged up in practice and unavailable for tonight's game. For all of the disappointment about Colorado's makeshift line this season, an even bigger one has to be Scott's injury-plagued freshman campaign.
  • Colorado's defense took a big hit when free safety Ryan Walters, one of the unit's most experienced and dependable players went down with a knee and ankle injury. His return is questionable -- and you can tell a difference in the Buffaloes' defense after he left.
  • Bryant was understandably whining about not getting the ball in the red zone after Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith was briefly knocked out of the game. Bryant appeared to be open on the play, but Robinson instead overthrew tight end Brandon Pettigrew in the end zone. Bryant put aside his anger later in the half with his TD reception - his first career touchdown at a road game.
  • As expected, Missouri didn't look back in a 52-20 victory over Iowa State that wrapped up the Big 12's North title and brought home the coveted Telephone Trophy back to Columbia. The Tigers now have a week off before a season-ending game against Kansas before the Big 12 title game Dec. 6 in Kansas City. I think they've got a better chance to win that title than most might realize.

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