Game Notes - Oklahoma State Hosts Tulsa

Justin Gent

Justin Gent

Sept. 12, 2010

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Tulsa at Oklahoma State
Sat., Sept. 18, 2010 :: 6:05 p.m. :: Boone Pickens Stadium (60,218)
TV - None
Radio - Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb and Robert Allen)
Internet -
Satellite Radio - Sirius Channel

Still At Home
The Oklahoma State Cowboys (2-0) will put the wraps on a three-home-games-in-three-weeks start to the 2010 season when they host in-state rival Tulsa (1-1) Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. There is no live television of the contest.

Stars On Display
The Oklahoma State-Tulsa game will feature some of the nation's top statistical leaders through the first two weeks of the 2010 season, including TU quarterback G.J. Kinne and receiver Damaris Johnson, and OSU's Kendall Hunter, Justin Blackmon, Orie Lemon and Richetti Jones. More on their accomplishments can be found throughout this update.

Four In A Row
After the TU game, OSU will take a week off before resuming the season with another home game on Thursday, Sept. 30, when Texas A&M comes to town for the Big 12 opener for both schools. Oklahoma State is opening a season with four straight home games for the second straight year. It is only the third time in school history that an OSU season has opened with four straight home games. The 1975 season was the first time it happened.

The Series
Oklahoma State and Tulsa have played 70 times with the Cowboys holding a 38-27-5 series advantage. The two schools will be meeting for the first time since 2004 and for the third time since 2000. Oklahoma State has played Tulsa more than any other opponent except Oklahoma. While the series has been competitive, the Cowboys have had the recent advantage:
• Oklahoma State has won the last three meetings and scored at least 36 points in every game
• Since 1990, OSU has won eight of 11 series meetings
• Since 1980, the Cowboys are 14-6 vs. Tulsa
• Since 1970, it's OSU by a 16-6 count
• Since 1960, OSU holds a 21-7 series advantage.

Hurricane In Stillwater
Oklahoma State is 23-5-3 against Tulsa when playing in Stillwater. OSU is riding a 19-game home field winning streak in the series, dating back to a Tulsa win in 1951, although there have been several close calls.
• In 1981, OSU got a last-second field goal from Larry Roach to pull out a 23-21 victory.
• In 1990, 1992 and 1994, OSU got three wins by a combined 19 points before a couple of lopsided wins to close the decade (30-9 in 1996 and 46-9 in 1999).
• Oklahoma State was a 38-21 winner the last time Tulsa visited Stillwater (2004).

The Last Meeting
Tulsa and Oklahoma State last played on Sept. 11, 2004, with OSU registering a 38-21 victory. Freshman Cowboy quarterback Donovan Woods had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs to go with a 46-yard TD pass to Chijuan Mack. Vernand Morency added a 6-yard TD run and Darrent Williams scored on a 59-yard punt return. OSU blew out to a 38-7 lead with Tulsa adding two touchdowns in the final 6:53.

Neighboring schools are certain to have staff connections and the OSU-TU matchup provides several notable reunions:
• Oklahoma State secondary coach Jason Jones came to Stillwater after two stints at Tulsa, coaching cornerbacks in 2005 and cornerbacks and special teams in 2007. In between, he spent a year at Rice.
• Cowboy defensive coordinator Bill Young was at Tulsa from 1980 through 1984 and was defensive coordinator at the school his final two years.
• OSU's director of football operations Mack Butler was at Tulsa from 1989 through 1999 as an assistant coach and then became the Director of Football Operations for the Golden Hurricane in 2000. He left TU for Stillwater in 2001 to serve as the director of football operations for Les Miles.
• There are numerous high school connections between players on both rosters. An interesting out-of-state connection features OSU safety Markelle Martin and Tulsa quarterback Shavodrick Beaver. They are close friends from their playing days at Wichita Falls Rider High School.

Starting On A Streak
Oklahoma State is trying to start a season 3-0 for the 19th time in school history and for the fourth time in six years under Mike Gundy. Gundy was also a part of two 3-0 starts as OSU's starting quarterback. For the record, OSU's 18 previous 3-0 starts have eventually resulted in 16 winning records, 14 seven-win seasons and 10 teams that eventually appeared in a bowl game.

The Non-Conference Approach
Oklahoma State is now 16-4 in regular-season non-conference games under Mike Gundy. The Cowboys are 9-1 in those games since the start of the 2008 season. Pre-dating Mike Gundy, OSU is now 25-4 in its last 29 non-league games. That stretch of games spans back to the 2002 season.

Scouting The Golden Hurricane
Tulsa heads to Stillwater with a 1-1 record following Saturday's win over Bowling Green. The Golden Hurricane rank No. 4 nationally in total offense, averaging 562.5 yards per game and TU quarterback C.J. Kinne is second in the country in total offense with 395.5 yards per game while Tulsa junior Damaris Johnson is sixth in all-purpose yards. The TU defense is No. 99 overall after two weeks, allowing 420.5 yards per game.

Seeing C-USA
Oklahoma State is 58-45-8 all-time against Conference USA's current membership with most of those games played against Tulsa. In the league's East Division, OSU has only played Southern Mississippi.

Bizarr-o World
Oklahoma State is coming off a strange and entertaining 41-38 win over Troy in the second week of the season. OSU rolled up more than 500 yards of offense for the second straight game and held a huge total offense advantage for most of the night. It was still all OSU could manage to hold off the talented Trojans. Some things worth noting from the strange contest:
• The Cowboys held almost a 2-1 advantage in total offense at halftime (279-153) but trailed 27-20.
• Troy used just 86 total yards to score 17 points.
• Troy scored four times on drives of 30 yards or less.
• OSU had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score (by Kendall Hunter) and an interception by freshman Justin Gilbert wiped out by penalty.
• OSU gave up 170 yards on three kickoff return yards, including a 100-yard score.
• The Cowboys were penalized for 139 yards and still won the final total offense battle, 522-371.
• Troy started an offensive possession seven times in OSU territory, but OSU forced turnovers on the final two of those possessions.
• One week after not committing a turnover, Oklahoma State had five against Troy.
• Troy had just one touchdown drive longer than 47 yards.

Three On Top
Oklahoma State enters the TU game with two Cowboys leading the country in scoring. Running back Kendall Hunter and receiver Justin Blackmon have six touchdowns each through two games. The OSU duo shares the national scoring lead with Oregon running back Kenjon Barner. OSU has another national leader in senior linebacker Orie Lemon, who tops the nation (along with 19 other players) with two fumble recoveries through two games.

For The Record
There is more in-depth information on senior running back Kendall Hunter later in the update, but a quick synopsis entering the Tulsa game: Hunter is second nationally in rushing at 207 yards per game, trailing only Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. He leads the country in scoring at 18 points per game and is second nationally in all-purpose yards with 244 per game.

Fastest Start Ever
The 2010 Oklahoma State offense is off to the fastest scoring start in school history (at least since the invention of the facemask). The Cowboys have scored 106 points through two games to edge out the fabled 1988 offense (104 points) for the most points to start a season. The only other times OSU has topped 106 points through two games, the total included games against non-college competition and came before 1915.

Cashing In
Oklahoma State is now 9-for-9 in red zone scoring to start the season. OSU tops the country in that category along with a handful of other teams. On nine trips into the red zone, the Cowboys have five rushing touchdowns, two TD passes and a pair of Dan Bailey field goals.

Air Holgorsen?
First-year offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen's link to record-setting passing totals led many to question OSU's ground game in 2010. The Cowboys, however, have remained balanced in their attack through two games and are developing into one of the nation's top offensive units:
• Oklahoma State is No. 8 nationally in total offense, averaging 533 yards per game. The school record for total offense is 515 yards per game set in 1988.
• OSU is No. 17 nationally in passing offense at 300.5 yards per game. The school record for passing yards per game was set in 2002 (262.6 yards per contest).
• After two weeks, the Cowboys are fourth nationally in scoring at 53 points per game. The school record in that category is 47.5 points per game in 1988.
• Despite the new efficiency through the air, OSU is still No. 20 nationally in rushing at 232 yards per game.

Quick Strike
The Cowboy offense already has 13 plays from scrimmage in excess of 20 yards and eight plays of more than 30 yards. OSU has 10 scoring drives of less than three minutes in length. Oklahoma State has scored on five plays or less from at least 50 yards out five times. The Cowboys have scored on their first possession of all four halves this season.

Who Are These Guys?
OSU's 2-0 start to 2010 has come with an almost entirely new cast of characters. When cornerback Devin Hedgepeth, receiver Bo Bowling and defensive tackle Nigel Nicholas opened the game against Troy, they became the 14th, 15th and 16th Cowboys to make their first career start this season. Hedgepeth became the first member of OSU's talented freshman class to open a game. He responded by forcing a fumble that OSU recovered in the red zone and he broke up a pass on a third and goal in the end zone.

Young Guns
Oklahoma State is among the national leaders in true freshmen earning playing time. Through two games, OSU ranks fifth in the country in that category, behind Florida, Air Force, Florida State and Auburn

On Closer Inspection...
The Oklahoma State defense may be a bit overlooked after the first two weeks of the season, in part due to the 38 points scored by Troy in the Cowboy win over the Trojans (although Troy's advantageous starting field position has already been noted). However, the 2010 numbers show...
• OSU is allowing 4.73 yards per snap by the opposition.
• In 2009, OSU finished No. 31 nationally in total defense, allowed 4.7 yards per snap.
• The Cowboys are No. 25 nationally in red zone defense with three of the eight red zone opportunities by the opposition resulting in zero points.
• The OSU defense leads the nation with six recovered fumbles through two games.
• OSU is No. 10 in turnovers gained with six.
• OSU is on track to record 91 tackles for loss this season after accumulating a total of 76 last year.
• Oklahoma State has allowed just one opposing runner to reach the 100-yard mark over the last 15 games.

The Forgotten All-American
Quiet Kendall Hunter prefers to remain anonymous and most of the college football media have seemed happy to oblige him. Hunter, a 2008 first-team All-American (as voted by the FWAA) and the Big 12's leading rusher that season, was all but forgotten in the hype leading up to the 2010 season opener. The start to the 2010 season debut may have served as a reminder of his talents. After two games:
• Hunter leads the nation in rushing touchdowns (6) is tied for the national lead in scoring (18 points per game), is second nationally in rushing (207 yards per game) and second nationally in all purpose yards (244 yards per game). Keep in mind he had a 100-yard kickoff return against Troy wiped out by a penalty across the field and behind the play.
• He already has five carries of at least 20 yards.
• His 414 rushing yards have already surpassed his 2009 season total of 382 yards.
• He ran for 208 yards in the first half against Washington State. It was the first 200-yard half by a Cowboy since Barry Sanders ran for 217 vs. Kansas in 1988.
• His four rushing touchdowns against the Cougars were just one shy of Sanders' school record (which Barry set three times in 1988).

Hunter And History
At a university steeped in tailback tradition with the aura of perhaps the greatest runner in college football history setting the standard, Kendall Hunter has already carved place for himself in Cowboy backfield lore.

• Against Troy, Hunter became the seventh OSU player to reach 3,000 career rushing yards (3,047) and he climbed to fifth all-time (tied with David Thompson and Keith Toston) in rushing touchdowns (27).
• Hunter is the nation's fifth active leading rusher despite averaging just 13.9 carries per game.
• He has moved up to No. 17 all-time at OSU in scoring with 174 points with his two TDs vs. Troy.
• Hunter averages an impressive 6.27 yards per rush for his career, second only to Barry Sanders among OSU's top 10 all-time runners.
• Hunter's 257-yard effort vs. Washington State was the 12th best game in OSU history.
• He has 13 career 100 yard rushing games and two 200-yard games.

Starting Blocks
Kendall Hunter's 414 rushing yards through the first two games of 2010 represent the third fastest start by a running back in Cowboy history, trailing only Vernand Morency (445 yards in 2004) and Thurman Thomas (428 yards in 1985).

More Perspective
To get a true appreciation on Kendall Hunter, consider the following:
• Hunter has 279 more rushing yards in his career than Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, on 64 FEWER carries.
• Hunter's career average per rush (6.27) betters Oklahoma standout DeMarco Murray (5.17) by a full yard. In fact, Hunter's average is fifth among all NCAA players with at least 15 games to their credit.

Good Company
A quick recap of the handful of names that remain ahead of Kendall Hunter on OSU's all-time rushing chart:
1. Thurman Thomas: the school's all-time rushing leader, an All-American and NFL Hall of Famer
2. Terry Miller: Heisman Trophy runner-up and two-time All-American
3. David Thompson: More than 4,000 yards and an all-league performer in the Big Eight and Big 12
4. Barry Sanders: Heisman winner and multiple Hall of Famer
5. Ernest Anderson: Another All-American and an NCAA rushing champion
6. Tatum Bell: 14 career 100-yard rushing games with two of the seven longest runs in school history

Classy Kendall
Kendall Hunter is one of 30 NCAA football bowl subdivision nominees for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. Hunter has received several distinctions for his classroom work, including second-team academic all-Big 12 in 2009, a spot on the President's Honor Roll for a 4.0 GPA and honorable-mention Scholar-Baller in 2009 and 2008. Hunter is also a two-time recipient of the Oklahoma State Academic Achievement Award and a member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll. Hunter has helped with the Harvest II Food Drive, made numerous visits to pediatric cancer patients in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and he's also been a guest speaker on leadership and hard work at local high schools in Oklahoma and Texas.

Walker Watchers
Kendall Hunter is one of the preseason candidates for the Doak Walker Award, the Pricewaterhouse Coopers SMU Athletic Forum announced on Aug. 25. The Walker Award is presented annually to the nation's top running back.

Blackmon Busts Out
Oklahoma State entered 2010 looking for a go-to receiver and through two games sophomore Justin Blackmon has been "gone-to". The Ardmore Plainview product is among the national leaders in several categories and is off to a historical start for the Cowboys.
• Blackmon is tied for the national lead in scoring with two other players, including Kendall Hunter, with 18 points per game.
• He is fourth nationally with nine catches per game.
• He is eighth in the country with 128.5 receiving yards per game.
• He ranks No. 39 in all-purpose yards.
• He is the first Cowboy since Dez Bryant in 2008 to record consecutive 100-yard receiving games.
• Blackmon has five TD catches through two games. No Cowboy had more than four ALL of last season.
• He has 257 receiving yards after two weeks, just three yards shy of his entire 2009 total.

Cooper, Too
Another Cowboy receiver stepping up in 2010 is Mustang native Josh Cooper. He is coming off his first career 100-yard receiving game (eight catches for 114 yards) against Troy. His night also included a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown and he had a 16-yard rush. He was on the receiving end of 41- and 40-yard passes from Brandon Weeden. Those plays are the fourth and fifth longest pass plays of the season for the Cowboys.

Weeden's Numbers
Through two starts, junior quarterback Brandon Weeden seems to have made a seamless transition into the starting role. The Troy game represented the first time in his college career that Weeden has started and finished a game. It resulted in:
• The ninth best passing game in OSU history with 348 yards
• The best passing total by a Cowboy since Zac Robinson's 395-yard effort against Iowa State in 2008
• Just the 20th 300-yard passing game in school history
• A 58-pass stretch before he tossed his first interception (off a deflection)

Weeden In America
Entering the Tulsa game, Brandon Weeden is another Cowboy on the national charts:
• He is No. 16 in the country with 283 passing yards per game.
• He is No. 12 in completions with 25.5 per game.
• His passing total of 566 yards checks in at No. 15 in the NCAA.
• He is No. 18 in the country with an efficiency rating of 160.93

Reckoning With Richetti
Junior defensive end Richetti Jones has opened 2010 with the first two starts of his career and he has answered the challenge.
• Jones enters the TU game leading all OSU linemen and ranking third on the team with 10 tackles.
• He leads the Cowboys and ranks No. 14 nationally with four tackles for loss.
• Jones tops OSU and is No. 26 in America with two quarterback sacks and he leads OSU with two quarterback hurries.

Linebacker U.
Oklahoma State's top two tackles are senior linebackers Orie Lemon and Justin Gent. Lemon leads the Cowboys and is sixth in the Big 12 with 18 tackles. He also leads the country with two fumble recoveries. Gent, a first-year starter, has 12 tackles. He closed the Troy threat with a quarterback sack and fumble caused. The fumble was recovered, of course, by Lemon to clinch the victory.

Bailey Chasing Barry, Too
Kendall Hunter is not the only Cowboy on a career list with Barry Sanders. Senior placekicker Dan Bailey enters the TU game with 243 career points. Sanders is OSU's all-time leader with 330 points. Bailey is already ninth in OSU history in that category and is No. 12 among all active NCAA players. Bailey has averaged 97.5 points over the last two years. A 98-point senior season would put him just 11 points behind Sanders and No. 2 all-time at Oklahoma State. In his career, Bailey has converted on all 144 of his extra point attempts to establish a new OSU record. He has converted all three of his field goal attempts this season.

Sharp Still Sharp
Sophomore Quinn Sharp has taken up where he left off in 2009. One year after leading the nation in touchbacks on kickoffs with 35, he has 14 more into the end zone through two weeks to easily lead the country. In fact, no other team has more than seven touchbacks after two weeks. He is also averaging 46.8 yards on his 11 punts to rank seventh nationally. He tied a career long with a 67-yard boot against Troy. For his career, which includes 78 total punts, Sharp already has:
• Thirty punts in excess of 50 yards
• Seven career punts of more than 60 yards
• Only five punts for touchbacks while 26 have been downed inside the 20
• Seventeen punts that have been fair caught

The Gundy Years
Oklahoma State alum Mike Gundy has brought stability and an impressive list of accomplishments in his tenure as head coach at OSU. The former OSU quarterback is in his sixth season with a 38-27 record at his alma mater. Some of OSU's achievements under Gundy:
• Four straight bowl appearances (over the last four years) for the first time in school history. Overall, OSU has a school-best seven bowl appearances in eight seasons.
• A preseason AP top 10 ranking for the first time ever (2009)
• A return to the AP top five (2009) for the first time since 1985
• A school-record six conference wins in 2009 with a second-place finish in the rugged Big 12 South
• Four straight Big 12 rushing titles. OSU had never led its conference in rushing
• OSU has made two appearances on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
• An improved conference win total every year (from one to six in five years)
• Four straight seasons with at least seven wins for the first time in school history
• Three of the top seven offenses in OSU history have come under Gundy (and he quarterbacked the best offense in OSU history)

Gundy By The Numbers
Mike Gundy's 38-27 record is perhaps deceiving.
• The Cowboys were 12-15 after 27 games under Gundy, but have gone 26-12 over the last 38 games and 21-8 over the last 29 games.
• Four of the losses came to teams ranked in the top five of the AP poll at game time.
• OSU is 19-21 under Gundy in Big 12 play. However, OSU is 15-9 in league play over the last three seasons and 11-5 against conference foes in the last two years.

Gundy In Perspective
Mike Gundy is now the eighth man in school history to coach into his sixth season. The longest tenured football coaches at OSU are Jim Lookabaugh and Pat Jones, who spent 11 seasons each at the helm of the program. Jones also leads OSU with 62 all-time victories while Gundy, who played quarterback for Jones, is third with 38 wins. Gundy's .585 winning percentage is third best on the school list. College Football Hall of Famer Pappy Waldorf won at a .735 clip during his five seasons in Stillwater before he headed for Berkeley and the University of California. Gundy and Jones top all of OSU's head coaches with four bowl teams each. Gundy is OSU's only coach to earn a bowl bid in four straight seasons.

Brains And Brawn
Oklahoma State has a pair of starting defensive linemen who have already obtained their undergraduate degrees. Defensive tackle Shane Jarka has already earned a degree in marketing and is pursuing his MBA. Defensive end Ugo Chinasa has completed work on his degree in sports management.

It's All Academic
Three Cowboy defensive linemen, Shane Jarka, Chris Donaldson and Jamie Blatnick, were academic all-Big 12 selections in 2009. While Jarka is already an OSU graduate, Donaldson is just four hours shy of his degree in secondary education.

Walking On Full Speed
In addition to quarterback Brandon Weeden, OSU has another former professional baseball player on its roster this fall. Freshman linebacker Tyler Johnson, a native of Haskell, Okla., and a former University of Tulsa football signee, joined the Cowboys in August. Johnson, who is on the depth chart at middle linebacker, was rated as the No. 11 player in Oklahoma coming out of high school after starting four years at linebacker and three at running back. Instead, he chose professional baseball and signed with Angels out of high school and spent six years with the organization as an outfielder/first baseman.

Honoring The Blond Bomber
Oklahoma State players sport a decal on their helmets this fall to honor the Blond Bomber. Bob Fenimore, OSU's first All-American and one of the most dominating players of his era, died this summer. His jersey number of 55 is not in use at OSU. He was a two-time All-American, the No. 1 overall selection in the NFL Draft and No. 3 in the Heisman balloting. Fenimore led the nation in total offense and was third in rushing, eighth in passing, ninth in scoring and 13th in punting in 1944. He still holds the OSU career record with 18 interceptions as a defensive back. OSU was 17-1 during his sophomore and junior seasons with wins in the Cotton and Sugar Bowls. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame.



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