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October 30, 2006

COLUMN: Confidence shot administered, OSU shines on bigger stage

STILLWATER — They wanted this type of stage, complete with major network television coverage under a sapphire sky usually only found on postcards with a kickoff temperature of 68 degrees to go with a light wind.

Aesthetics aside, the Oklahoma State Cowboys wanted something else: a chance to prove they could be resilient — and victorious — against another ranked team in No. 20 Nebraska after falling to No. 23 Texas A&M; on a blocked field goal in overtime a week earlier.

On both fronts, they got what they wanted in the form of a 41-29 victory at Boone Pickens Stadium and in doing so, a team that has seen its fair share of tough losses began to smile a little bit and talk about how good it can be.

“When I was continually asked about our football team not responding, I’m not sure that everybody believed that we (would) go back to work and we have great senior leadership and that our players practiced hard and had a good attitude and wanted to continue to work,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said.

They probably do now.

OSU quarterback Bobby Reid came back from a concussion suffered against the Aggies to orchestrate possibly the biggest victory in Gundy’s short coaching tenure at Stillwater.

Was this a statement game for Reid?

“Not just for me,” said Reid, who finished with 229 passing yards and two touchdowns. “The whole team. We’ve been thrown up against the wall with the two close finishes that we didn’t get the upper hand on but guys are starting to come together, and I think this is a turning point for us.”

Added OSU wide receiver D’Juan Woods: “This win helps get us rolling as far as confidence-wise, as far as just making things happen.”

After trailing 10-0 heading in the first quarter, the Cowboys played the role of a rubber band and bounced back into the game with a 16-yard TD pass and an 18-yard TD run by Dantrell Savage to trail Nebraska 16-13 with 4:13 left until the halftime.

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