Korie Black’s two blocked kicks loom large in OSU’s opening win

Korie Black’s two blocked kicks loom large in OSU’s opening win

Said the senior cornerback: “They never made any adjustments.”

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

| Sep 3, 2023, 12:58am CDT

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

Sep 3, 2023, 12:58am CDT

STILLWATER — Korie Black couldn’t believe it when he crouched into his defensive stance.

Was Central Arkansas about to let him run free, again?

After the Oklahoma State senior flew unblocked around the edge of the UCA formation in the first quarter and swatted down a field goal attempt, he figured the Bears would adjust and send a blocker his way. They didn’t.

“‘They crazy,’ Black said he thought at the time. “They never made any adjustments.”

So, Black repeated a Superman-style block, batting down an identical 48-yard field goal. It was one of three kicks the Cowboys blocked Saturday night in a 27-13 win against UCA. And while Gunnar Gundy led two late touchdown drives, OSU’s special teams lifted the lifeless Cowboys early.

“We needed it, we were just kind of flat and hanging around and just couldn’t get our motor going and those generated a little bit of juice for us,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said.

Black’s first block came on UCA’s opening drive. The Bears moved 59 yards in 11 plays, twice scoring only to have the plays nullified by penalties. OSU defensive coordinator Bryan Nardo said it was a frustrating point in the game. The block changed everything.

“You go from having some of the worst-case scenarios to having the best-case scenario,” Nardo said. “They get no points.”

Nardo called Black the “perfect storm” to block kicks. He is one of OSU’s fastest players. Gundy said generating edge pressure on kicks is something the team worked on in August.

OSU nose tackle Justin Kirkland later knocked down an extra point that some might consider inconsequential. Nardo said he can always gauge a football team’s effort by how it rushes extra points. “We blocked an extra point in a situation in the game where a lot of guys could go, ‘Meh.’ It was pride and I like that about our guys,” Nardo said.

Senior kicker Alex Hale converted two field goals and three extra points. Hale’s makes paired with UCA’s failed field goals and extra point translate to a 16-point swing.

“(The blocks) changed the game huge,” OSU senior lineman Nathan Latu said. “What Gundy says, is it’s just effort, effort, effort. Effort is going to make up for anything.”

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Ben Hutchens and his twin brother Sam cover Oklahoma State for the Sellout Crowd. After a decade of living in the state, Ben finally feels justified in calling himself an Oklahoman. You can reach him at [email protected] and continue the dialogue @Ben_ Hutchens_ on social media.

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