Sunday, October 5, 2003
Oklahoma State uses breakout performances from reserves in win
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Rashaun Woods started the game on the
sidelines and Tatum Bell stayed there for most of the night.
Even without much help from the Big 12's leading receiver and
rusher, Oklahoma State rolled over winless Louisiana-Lafayette 56-3
Saturday night thanks to breakout performances from a couple of
Darrent Williams returned two punts for touchdowns and Vernand
Morency rushed for 189 yards and two touchdowns, helping the
Cowboys (4-1) quickly turn a close game into a rout.
"Somebody gives the opportunity to somebody else and he makes
the best of it," coach Les Miles said. "That's the way a good
football team shows."
Oklahoma State went undefeated in non-conference play for the
first time since 1996, outscoring its last four opponents 198-36.
It's the Cowboys' best start since 1997 when they won six straight
en route to a 8-4 season.
In the week leading up to the game, Miles and his players
insisted they weren't overlooking the hapless Ragin' Cajuns and
gearing up for next week's showdown against a Kansas State team
that beat them 44-9 last season.
It sure seemed that way at the start of Saturday's game.
At the end of the first quarter, Oklahoma State was trailing
3-0, the Cowboys barely had more offensive yards (33) than penalty
yards (32) and Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback Eric Rekieta had
completed his first 10 passes for 108 yards.
But the good times didn't last long for the Ragin' Cajuns (0-6)
as the Cowboys ran off 28 straight points in the second quarter.
Morency scored on touchdown runs of 1 and 68 yards, D'Juan Woods
caught an 18-yard touchdown pass and Williams returned a punt 78
yards to all but seal the win.
Williams brought back another punt for a score in the third
quarter, sprinting 59 yards down the right sideline to give
Oklahoma State a 35-3 lead.
"We had some opportunities in the first quarter to maybe get
some things going our way," said Louisiana-Lafayette coach Rickey
Bustle, "but we didn't cash in on it. We gave up too many big
Most of those big plays came from a couple of guys who usually
aren't on Oklahoma State's short list of stars.
Morency, a 5-foot-10, 215-pound sophomore, got to play only
after Bell was benched late in the first quarter for the fumble
that led to the Ragin' Cajun field goal.
Bell, who's rushed for 504 yards and seven TDs on 83 carries
this season, didn't get back onto the field after the turnover.
That simply created a long-awaited opportunity for Morency, who
arrived in Stillwater following four years in the Colorado Rockies'
minor league system. He had only 269 yards rushing and three
touchdowns as a backup to Bell and junior Seymore Shaw over the
past two seasons
"At times, you get frustrated and down," said Morency, who
also had been in Miles' doghouse after being charged with
possession of stolen property last spring. "I can't say I've been
through worse things. But I never doubted myself. I was just
Meanwhile, Williams came into the game with only 80 yards on
seven punt returns, mostly serving as the backup to senior Gabe
Lindsay this season.
Williams' two returns for touchdowns set what's believed to be a
school record -- Oklahoma State's records only go back to 1959.
"I know that I can take any one of them to the house now,"
Williams said. "I feel like if I get past the first wave, it's
pretty much you and the punter and our coach says you won't be back
there if you can't beat the punter."
A Woods caught an 18-yard touchdown pass in the win, but it was
redshirt freshman D'Juan instead of his older brother, Rashaun.
Rashaun Woods didn't start because of a minor violation of team
rules -- coaches wouldn't elaborate -- two weeks after setting a
Division I-A record with seven TDs against Southern Methodist.
Woods didn't have to do much when he finally got into the game: he
finished with two catches for 37 yards, his lowest single-game
production since his freshman year.
Now Oklahoma State can turn its attention to No. 22 Kansas
State, which comes to Stillwater next week on the heels of a 24-20
loss at No. 11 Texas.
"We've been trying not to think about it," Williams said,
"but in all our conversations, all we've been talking about is