By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
On a day Oklahoma State University recognized 18 seniors and remembered the one-year anniversary of the plane crash that killed Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and Olin and Paula Branstetter, the Cowboys cruised to a 59-21 blowout win over Texas Tech at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“When people talk about the tragedy it just brings back the whole day and how the team felt and stuff,” OSU senior wide receiver Isaiah Anderson said. “It was such a sad situation and I felt that this year we honored their memory getting a win today.”
Anderson, who had missed several games earlier this year due to injury, was a big part in honoring that memory. The senior from Wichita Falls, Texas, would spark the OSU offense in his first substantial playing time of the season.
Anderson overcame an early missed opportunity — dropping a wide open pass for a touchdown on OSU’s first drive — with a 26-yard run on a reverse and eventually becoming Clint Chelf’s top target with three touchdown strikes.
“I was trying to do my best to make up for that drop. They gave me that reverse to kind of calm me down,” Anderson said. “I was being anxious to get out there and make plays and I just needed something to bring back. Once I got settled in I was fine.”
The senior receiver’s first touchdown came again with him getting wide open behind the secondary, but this time he hauled it in for a 60-yard strike. His second touchdown came on a 33-yard flea flicker in which he had to wrestle the ball away from a defender for the score. He capped it all off with a 66-yard touchdown catch from Chelf to give him four catches for a career-high 174 yards and three touchdowns (also a career best).
“It was a great day. My little boy, my girlfriend and my little sister were all sitting in the end zone and I scored in that end zone all three times,” Anderson said. “So it was exciting to be able to go down there and point at them and show them my love for being there to support me.”
With Chelf and Anderson clicking, the defense was able to tee off on Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege.
Bill Young’s defense sacked the Red Raiders quarterback three times, with countless hurries and knockdowns, to prevent Doege and Tech to find any type of momentum.
“We knew we just had to stick to the game plan, believe in it, buy into the system and have the confidence to go out there and make plays,” said linebacker Lyndell Johnson, who recovered a fumble for the OSU defense.
All three facets of the Cowboy football team were in hitting on all cylinders. The special teams came up with another big play this week with a blocked punt by Zack Craig early in the second that set up the OSU offense on the Tech 24-yard line. Craig also blocked a punt in the fourth quarter and was able to scoop it up and score to put OSU up 59-14 — marking the third straight game with a special teams touchdown.
“When I got to the end zone, I was shocked and excited. It was just awesome. It was my first touchdown here at Oklahoma State. It was awesome,” Craig said.
Oklahoma State saw an improvement in its red zone opportunities, utilizing J.W. Walsh in the Dubtruck formation — similar to Oklahoma’s Belldozer — with three touchdowns being scored with Walsh taking the snap at the goal line. Walsh threw for a touchdown, scored on a run and handed off to Joseph Randle for a 1-yard leap over the pile.
“We call him a baby Tim Tebow because he’s known as a running quarterback,” Anderson said of Walsh. “But he gives an extra dimension to our offense. It helps that teams have to prepare for that.”
Speaking of Oklahoma, Gundy bucked the norm following Saturday’s win by announcing that Chelf would be the starting quarterback for the Bedlam game in Norman.
“I don’t think there’s any question that Clint deserves to play and start in our next football game,” the OSU coach said. “He’s earned that. Our coaching staff believes in him, the team believes in him and with all three of (the quarterbacks) being healthy, we’re to the point now that we know he’s going to start the next game.”