STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- One year after nearly losing its season
opener to an NCAA Division I-AA football team, Oklahoma State
dominated a similar foe.
Freshman Perrish Cox returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a
touchdown to give the Cowboys (1-0) a quick lead and begin their
romp over the I-AA Bears (0-1). The rout was in sharp contrast to
Oklahoma State's 2005 opener, when the Cowboys struggled to beat
Montana State 15-10.
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy had said in the days before the
game that based on the Cowboys' 4-7 record and offensive struggles
last season, it was unfair to predict a blowout. His goals for his
team in the opener were simple.
"We were looking to play a clean game and to limit penalties,"
Gundy said. "We wanted to take care of the football and we wanted
guys on defense to chase the football. We wanted to set the bar
high on special teams.
"We had the game under control and we got to play a lot of
players ... It was a good day for us."
Cox's touchdown was the first by an Oklahoma State player on a
kickoff return since Chris Massey scored against Texas on Oct. 13,
2001. Cox joined Barry Sanders as the only players in school
history to return the team's opening kickoff of the season for a
score. Sanders, the 1988 Heisman Trophy winner, did so twice, in
1987 against Tulsa and 1988 against Miami (Ohio).
Gundy wouldn't let Cox speak with the media because Cox is a
first-year player. But other players said Cox's score took a lot of
pressure off the Cowboys' offense.
"Not just the offense, but the whole team," Bowman said. "It
was a momentum boost. When you come out and score the first play of
the game, you want to keep scoring."
Oklahoma State, which averaged 324.8 yards of offense per game
last season, had 346 yards by halftime and finished with 443 yards,
posting scoring drives of 63, 99, 70 and 72 yards.
The 42-point winning margin was the largest by the Cowboys in a
season opener since 1984, when they beat Arizona State 45-3 in the
debut of then-coach Pat Jones. Oklahoma State scored more than 50
points for the first time in 21 games, dating to September 2004.
Reid's numbers weren't spectacular -- 8-for-17 for 165 yards --
but the sophomore proved efficient, throwing touchdown passes of 19
yards to newcomer Adarius Bowman, 33 yards to Keith Toston, 3 yards
to John Johnson and 72 yards to D'Juan Woods, the last with 8
seconds left in the first half.
"I really wasn't that comfortable last year," said Reid, who
was limited to seven games because of injuries. "I had a lot of
things going on that I had to deal with ... then I got hurt. That
put a lot of stress on my shoulders.
"I was kind of nervous at the beginning (this year), but the
closer we got to the game, I felt like I was in control of the
The Cowboys led 38-0 at halftime, their most points in a half
since scoring 38 against SMU on Sept. 20, 2003.
A blocked punt by freshman Chris Collins deep in Missouri State
territory early in the third quarter set up an 8-yard touchdown run
by Toston to make it 45-0. Reid, who was limited by injuries last
season to seven games and threw only two touchdown passes, exited
the game after that series.
Hamilton averaged 9.7 yards on 16 first-half carries but didn't
touch the football after halftime as the Cowboys went mostly with
"We missed some tackles early and we became tentative out
there," Missouri State coach Terry Allen said. "It was a tough
start, obviously, with the kickoff and some things that happened
offensively, which caused our defense to be on their heels."
Missouri State scored on a 29-yard field goal by Nathan Stokes
with 40 seconds left in the third quarter and a 1-yard touchdown
plunge by Jonathan Davis with 6:56 left.