Mike Gundy is entering his 12th season as the head coach of the OSU Cowboys. With a 94-47 record, I expect him to reach 100 wins this upcoming season. That made this summer the perfect time to look back at all 94 that have come before and decide which were the best, which were the worst and which just happened.
I’ve broken the list down into five parts:
PART 1: Scars, Scares and Stupid Scheduling
PART 2: Some Blowouts, Some Close Calls and a Whole Lot of Meh
PART 3: They’re Not All Pretty, But They’ve Got Great Personalities
PART 4: The Good, The Better and the History
We’re nearing the end of our journey together. Only 30 wins remain. Two parts. That means we’re getting to the good stuff. The games that really mean something, both to OSU and Gundy’s career. We’re talking about a lot of history and impact. Some games that were memorable because of what was left on the field. Some because of the mark they made on OSU’s history.
30. Independence Bowl vs Alabama (12-28-2006) It was Gundy’s first bowl game and first bowl win. Jason Ricks (anyone remember that guy?) kicked a 27-yard field goal with 8.9 seconds left to give the Cowboys the win after they blew a 31-17 fourth quarter lead. Cowboys win 34-31.
29. Colorado (11-19-2009) This may seem like a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. This game taught us two things: 1. Gundy can’t pick a quarterback to save his life. He chose Alex Cate to start over Brandon Weeden. Cate went 0-9 with one interception in the first half. It’s a half of football I will never be able to wipe from my memory. 2. Brandon Weeden was amazing. We learned that for sure in 2010 and 2011 (Weeden should have remained the starter for the rest of 2009 after Robinson got hurt). So why does this game that I’m ragging on make it so high? That second half performance and the emergence of Weeden to Blackmon. While we didn’t know it at the time, it was a brief glimpse of what was to come the following two years. Pity it took two quarters to get to it. Cowboys win 31-28.
28. Texas A&M (9-30-2010) I remember this game vividly. We trailed big at half time… made a huge comeback in the third quarter… took a lead… blew the lead… and then came the final seconds. Jerrod Johnson threw an interception to Shaun Lewis. He was running back up the field… while the coaches chased him down on the sidelines screaming at him to get out of bounds and stop the clock. We lined up on the left hash mark… where Dan Bailey hit a 40 yard field goal for the win ( I remember it was around 40 yards because Scott Van Pelt made an "I’m a man, I’m 40" joke during Sportscenter after the game). It was emotional, dramatic, and exhausting, but that win felt so good. Dan Bailey wins it 38-35.
27. @ #15 Texas Tech (11-2-2013) I don’t care that OU wrecked their perfect season the week before. That was a close loss on the road. This was a blowout loss at home. It really wrecked their season. Man was it fun. Cowboys win 52-34.
26. @ Texas Tech (10-31-2015) I don’t know if it’s their combative fan-base or their delusions of a defense, but there’s just something about beating the Red Raiders that gives me immeasurable joy. Even better? Trailing 24-7 in the first quarter, then coming back to win by 17. Cowboys win 70-53.
25. Baylor (10-29-2011) Whoever voted RGIII as the Heisman winner, didn’t watch this game. The OSU defense made multiple stops inside the five yard line. Hell, I remember them stopping Baylor twice on fourth and one. On at least one of those, OSU took the ball and marched down the field for a touchdown! According to ESPN we had two 99 yard drives! It was 49-3 after three quarters. Randle had four touchdowns, Blackmon had two. It may be the best football game I’ve ever attended. Yes it was a blowout, but it came against the eventual Heisman winner. You don’t get to say that very often. Cowboys win 59-24.
24. Cactus Bowl vs Washington (1-2-2015) I can only think of four games more fun than the first half of this one. The second half is why it’s not higher. Seriously! As underdogs we built a 24-0 halftime lead. Against a defense stocked with NFL talent. It was the perfect ending to a very rough season. Oh… and of course this…
Cowboys win 30-22.
23. #20 Nebraska (10-28-2006) After trailing early in the second quarter 16-0, the Cowboys mounted their first major comeback win under Gundy. They scored all 41 points in the second and fourth quarters. It was only the fourth win over the Cornhuskers in OSU history. I honestly miss having Nebraska in the Big 12. Cowboys win 41-29.
22. @ #24 Texas (11-16-2013) It was the BIGGEST home loss for former Horns coach Mack Brown in his 16 seasons at the helm. It was OSU’s third straight win in Austin. Also…. This moment will always be one of my favorites.
Cowboys win 38-13.
21. #24 Iowa State (10-20-2012) Forget that this was our revenge game for 2011 (every win against them will be a revenge game for 2011), this was Mike Gundy’s 63rd victory, moving him past his head coach Pat Jones, as the winningest head coach in OSU history. Considering we’re now counting down his 94 wins, its crazy to think that at one time 62 was a big number. (This one would have gone higher if Walsh hadn’t suffered a season ending injury in the game). Cowboys win 31-10.
20. #13 Georgia (9-5-2009) We came into the season with big expectations and opened the newly expanded stadium against a ranked SEC team. It was a huge game. The Dez Bryant leaping touchdown catch made the cover of Sports Illustrated the next week. Of course then we lost to Houston the following Saturday… (maybe THAT’s why they let that crap article about OSU get published!) Cowboys win 24-10.
19. Kansas (10-24-2015) This has little to do with the game. It has everything to do with how Gundy and the coaching staff handled the day. I don’t think I have to remind anyone what happened at homecoming last year. It was a difficult decision to even play this game, but the right one. For a couple hours, it allowed the fans the opportunity to step away from the tragedy that had happened just 0.4 miles away. Despite how bad Kansas was last year, it had to take a lot for the coaches and players to focus on playing this game. It was Gundy’s second time having to coach a game amidst a tragedy facing the school, and I think he handled it perfectly. Cowboys win 58-10.
18. TCU (10-19-2013) This game completely changed the direction of the season. After throwing two first half interceptions J.W. Walsh was replaced by Clint Chelf, who remained the starter through the rest of the season. Up to this point the offense had been a mess. It settled down under Chelf and we went on to a fantastic season. Cowboys win 24-10.
17. Baylor (11-11-2006) Gundy reached bowl eligibility for the first time as a head coach. OSU forced six turnovers and scored (up to this point) the most points ever in a conference game. Cowboys go bowling 66-24.
16. #14 Kansas State (9-6-2011) This game was a nail-bitter! While LSU and Bama were playing the 9-6 "game of the century" (ugh) we had an offensive showdown with a talented Kansas State team. Brandon Weeden set a school record with 502 yards of offense. We lead 14-0, then trailed 24-14, then lead 34-24 then trailed 38-37… it was insane. Oh and then there was the earthquake. Cowboys win 52-45.
15. @ Kansas (11-20-2010) It’s not about the game, it’s about the history. For the first time, Oklahoma State won 10 games in the regular season. The first time in 110 years of existence! I know it’s been done three more times since. I know we won 11 regular season games the next year. None of that could have come, without this moment. Cowboys make history 48-14.
14. @ Texas Tech (10-16-2010) We’re so used to beating Texas Tech now that it’s hard to remember when we didn’t. Before this victory we hadn’t won in Lubbock since 1944. That was a 66 year drought. We would go on to vanquish the demon of beating Texas later this season. But this win was huge in putting together that amazing 2010 season! Cowboys win 34-17.
13. @ Texas (11-13-2010) Speaking of that Texas game… It was our first victory over the Longhorns in 12 seasons and first win in Austin since 1944. I don’t care if this Texas team finished with a losing record. After all the blown leads against them, this win felt great. Cowboys win 33-16.
12. Texas Tech (9-22-2007) Forget that this was a great game. Brandon Pettigrew scores a 54-yard game-winning touchdown. Crabtree missing a game-winning touchdown catch in the end zone with 11 seconds left. Beating Graham Harrel after he threw for an NCAA 4th best (at the time) 646 yards. As great as the game was, it all pales in comparison to what came next….. The Rant.
Cowboys win 49-45.
11 . Alamo Bowl vs Arizona (12-29-2010) We should have been in a better bowl against a better opponent. That aside, OSU claimed its first ever 11 win season. Blackmon set an NCAA record with his 12th straight game with 100 receiving yards and a TD. It was also the last game with Holgorsen as our offensive coordinator. Oh and it was our first bowl victory since 2007. But still, most important of all? 11 wins for the first time ever. Cowboys win 36-10.