The Cowboys met Bedlam’s final moment, then basked in its glory

The Cowboys met Bedlam’s final moment, then basked in its glory

Guerin Emig: Mike Gundy once equated this game to the one OSU won over Kansas State on Oct. 6. His actions late Saturday revealed another truth.

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

| Nov 4, 2023, 9:22pm CDT

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

Nov 4, 2023, 9:22pm CDT

STILLWATER – Alan Bowman skipped into the winning tunnel half-hugging, half-tackling teammate Xavier Benson. Xavier Ross caught up with the pair, got in Bowman’s face and told him what a badass man,

He was so forceful that if you didn’t know what had just happened, that Oklahoma State had just won the final Bedlam, 27-24, you’d swear he was challenging the quarterback to a fight.

Their head coach was a few steps away. He waited for these players and congratulated them. 

He waited for the other Cowboys the celebration was spitting out and made sure he congratulated them, too, a hard slap of hands here, a bear hug there. 

Mike Gundy played it cool earlier in the week, equating this game to the one OSU won over Kansas State on Oct. 6. It was a sensible ploy to keep his players grounded. It also worked, as coolly as those players handled their own media interviews last week. 

Well, here came the dead giveaway. 

First Bowman, Benson and Ross. 

Then pile-driving running back Ollie Gordon, hugging OSU administrative assistant Danielle Clary so ferociously Clary almost flipped over Gordon’s head. 

Then fumble-recovering Kody Walterscheid, trailed by a teammate who looked back at the mob scene still on Boone Pickens’ field said: “Holy crap” and might have noticed that several members of that mob were thinking about carrying a torn-down goalpost into the tunnel with the Cowboys until security got other ideas.

Gundy stayed for 25 minutes, hand-slapping and hugging and pausing now and then to bend at the waist and catch his breath, his emotions or both. 

He posed for pictures with his sons, Gunnar and Gage. He posed for pictures with OSU’s cheerleaders, the group prompted to smile by a woman who said: “OU who?” instead of “Cheese!”

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy celebrates with Oklahoma State cheer squad Saturday after the game. (Nellie Kay/Sellout Crowd)

Eventually, the head coach walked into the press conference room carrying the game ball. He was hoarse but issued a 10-minute opening statement without taking a question, roughly nine more than usual.

He thanked his players for their perseverance, his coaches for their schemes and his fans for filling the stadium with ear-splitting noise. He called what had just occurred a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” for the fans. 

It was. Those goal posts were reportedly en route to OSU’s Theta Pond by then. 

Gundy mentioned Rashod Owens hanging in the program long enough to lead the Cowboys in receiving Saturday, and Dylan Smith hanging in through the waves every freshman cornerback rides and tackling Drake Stoops to snuff out the Sooners’ last chance. 

He talked about going home to watch some more football and drink some “Diet Cokes” until his vision blurred. Then he said he’d go to bed.

It was easy to picture him snuggling that game ball, a smile as wide as Gordon’s strides across his face. 

Gundy finished at the podium, then sat down for more media chatter. Bowman came in soon, and Gundy interrupted whatever he was talking about to holler at his winning quarterback about making the tackle after Gordon’s double-pass was intercepted early in the fourth quarter.

“Did you like me using leverage on the sidelines?” Bowman hollered back. “Did you like that?”

“Remind me Monday that I never let Ollie throw another pass!” Gundy shouted.

“He played quarterback, that’s the problem,” Bowman fired back. “He thinks he’s a quarterback.”

“My bad!” Gordon hollered from another section of the room. “That’s on me!”

Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon scored the first points of Bedlam 2023 on a 20-yard TD run in the first quarter.

This is what elation sounds like. It becomes Bedlam in rooms like this. 

This is what Bedlam looks like: Bowman wore a game-worn Josh Fields jersey to interviews. He reminded reporters Fields went 2-0 against OU. 

Forever to be 1-0 in Bedlam, Bowman was asked if Saturday’s game ever got chippy.

“Not as much,” he said. “I think they were scared of our run game. And when they’re scared of getting smacked in the face, they don’t talk as much. Because they know what can happen if they talk. We’ll run over you.”

Owens played it cool In the back of the room for a while, saying: “It’s a blessing. It was a good team that we faced. They did a good job. We overcame and ended up coming out with the win.”

But this HAS to feel especially good, doesn’t it? 

“Oh most definitely,” Owens said with a joyful nod. “It does. For sure.”

A few rows from Owens sat Collin Oliver. Asked if final Bedlam made the final scoreboard a big deal, Oliver said: “Oh yeah. No doubt. 

“As a football player… I can only look at what I have in front of me. That’s for the fans to think about. I am glad we gave them that advantage over OU fans.”

Benson was nearby. 

Asked the same question as Oliver, Benson said: “Not really. We might meet ‘em in a month. I don’t know.”

He laughed, opening the door to ask about this moment only. 27-24 over OU only.

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“It feels nice,” he said. “I don’t like how they beat us last year. It just didn’t sit right with me and it still doesn’t sit right. It’s so nice to see us rally off of last year. We were looking at it as, ‘We can’t let this happen again.’ That’s really nice…

“I should enjoy it. I know.” 

Offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn already had.

“Coming out of the booth, my first stop, I go see Mama,” he said. “It’s a pretty good little moment to see her for a second. Then I come down (from the press box) and catch up with our players…

“On a night like this to get down there and see my wife and kids and enjoy the moment. We walk out there on the balcony in front of my office and see all the fans out there… It’s incredibly special. We’re walking along the top of the stadium and we’re videotaping the whole thing. 

“It’s something I’ll keep forever. It was awesome.”

Gundy was still talking as his coaches and players spoke. He had his legs crossed, enjoying his moment as much as Dunn had savored his. 

His lifetime record, OSU’s lifetime record, against OU mattered not a lick here. Bedlam was over. The Cowboys ended it victoriously.

Gundy, his coaches and players had gosh knows what joy to spread the rest of the night. 

In this moment, it was enough to hear him say: “It’s good for the Oklahoma State people to finish Bedlam with a win. Period.”

 

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Guerin Emig is a columnist for the Sellout Crowd network. Read his work at selloutcrowd.com and guerinemig.com. Reach out with feedback and/or ideas at [email protected] or (918) 629-6229. Follow him on Twitter at @GuerinEmig and Instagram at @guerin.emig. .

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