By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The last time the Oklahoma State University Cowboys played the Purdue Boilermakers, most of the seniors were just starting elementary school. Purdue beat the Cowboys 33-20 in the 1997 Alamo Bowl. With OSU down to their final practices before Tuesday’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, players and coaches said it was fun and a challenge preparing for Purdue.
“Each team we play that isn’t in the Big 12 is interesting because we have to try to take the concepts they’ve used in 12 games and practice the ones that we feel that they will want to use against us and prepare our players for it,” coach Mike Gundy said. “In conference play, we have a good feel for how people feel about us and the way they want to attack us, so we don’t have to put as much time into it. In most counts we’re correct based on playing teams year-in and year-out.”
The last time Oklahoma State played a Big 10 school was 2004 when it lost 33-7 to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2004 Alamo Bowl. Senior offensive lineman Lane Taylor said he didn’t see a lot of Purdue during the season but is looking forward to facing them Tuesday.
“It’s always fun playing new competition,” Taylor said. “New faces, it’s not the same coaching staff that you are used to going against. It also presents a challenge because we aren’t used to their style of play and coaching style.”
Defensive coordinator Bill Young said Purdue has similarities to some of Oklahoma State’s previous opponents.
“They have some plays similar to what Kansas State and Texas ran,” Young said. “It’s a Big Ten team. They are a powerful running team.”
Unlike its regular season games, Oklahoma State had a few extra weeks to prepare for Purdue. Senior defensive end Cooper Bassett said playing new opponent provides a change of scenery.
“Most teams that we play we get to watch throughout the season,” Bassett said. “With the close coverage we get to see every Big 12 team throughout the season. In bowl season we have this extra three weeks to prepare for a team. We literally watch every play throughout their season.”
Taylor said Purdue has some big guys on the defensive front and will provide a good battle on Tuesday.
“Everyone gets caught up in their record and everything,” Taylor said. “They have a solid defense.”
Sophomore wide receiver Josh Stewart said as long as the offense executes it should be fine.
“They got some big linebackers,” Stewart said. “They are just an average team, if we come out and play we should be fine.”
Junior linebacker Caleb Lavey said the Boilermakers have strong running backs and will need to contain them.
“We have to eliminate big plays and get off the field on third down,” Lavey said. “That’s two of the biggest things. Tackling is big too. They got good athletes that can break tackles.”