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Oklahoma State Cruises Past KU To Move To 8-1

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

With Barry Sanders in the house for the 25th anniversary celebration of his Heisman Trophy season, Justin Gilbert gave a nice tip of the cap to the NFL Hall of Famer with a Sanders-esque 100-yard kickoff return to put Oklahoma State up a touchdown just 13 seconds into the contest.

No. 14 OSU rolled from there, handling Kansas 42-6 in Stillwater to improve to 8-1 on the season and 5-1 in Big 12 play and it gave the Pokes their ninth win in 10 tries against the Jayhawks.

The Cowboy offense was inconsistent against KU but when things were going well, they went very well. All five of the Pokes' touchdown drive – Gilbert's kick return excluded – took less than two minutes, highlighted by a blistering four-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 19-yard touchdown strike to Desmond Roland out of the backfield than took just 1:16 off the game clock, giving OSU a 21-0 lead in the second quarter.

The Cowboys also put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive in 1:51 that was finished off with an acrobatic 4-yard touchdown strike to Tracy Moore with 15 seconds remaining in the second to take a 28-0 lead into halftime.

The Cowboys stagnated in the third quarter, but scored 14 points in the first, second and third quarters to dispatch of the Jayhawks and hand KU its 27th-straight Big 12 loss and its 38th loss in its past 39 conference games.

Overall, coach Mike Gundy said he was content with the way his Cowboys played but said there is still a lot of growth needed before the Pokes hit the toughest part of their schedule starting with a trip to Texas next Saturday before hosting Baylor and Oklahoma.

"It was a good win for our team," Gundy said. "I thought our defense was consistent in our play. Offensively, we were good at times and very sluggish at times. We have a lot of work ahead of us."

The Cowboys overcame the loss of All-Conference wide receiver Josh Stewart, who left the game with an ankle sprain in the first quarter and never returned. David Glidden filled in admirably at the slot position, putting up the best game of his career so far with six receptions for 73 yards. Glidden had two key third-down catches, highlighted by a 39-yarder on third-and-10, to help set up the final touchdown of the first half.

Tracy Moore also showed up in a big way with six receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns. His two TDs matched his total season output entering the game. Eight different receivers caught a pass overall.

As a result of the solid receiver play, quarterback Clint Chelf posted his second-straight impressive performance with 265 yards and three touchdowns on 19-of-37 passing.

The aerial attack helped make up for a running game that took a substantial step backward after a string of dominant performances.

Roland finished with 44 yards on 16 carries for an average of 2.8 yards per carry with one rushing touchdown and one receiving, giving him nine total scores in the past three games. Overall, the Cowboys managed just 85 yards on 31 attempts for the game.

Former starter Jeremy Smith came in late and had 23 yards on four carries, including a 15-yard touchdown burst for the final score of the day in the fourth quarter.

But the showing by the Cowboys on the ground isn't necessarily a red flag, as offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich continually called run plays despite a heavily stacked KU defensive front, in all likelihood as an effort to minimize potentially useful game film for the Longhorns next week.

The Jayhawks played better than their 2-7 record and 0-6 conference mark, mixing in various option looks in the run game to post 202 rushing yards on the Cowboys' 19th-ranked run defense, a season worst for OSU.

Reserve quarterback Montell Cozart completed just 6-of-17 passes for 58 yards but he sparked the KU offense with his legs, rushing for 55 yards and opening up multiple big pitch plays for Tony Pierson, who averaged 14.5 yards per carry en route to 87 yards. James Sims also posted 66 hard-earned yards on 21 carries.

Caleb Lavey once again spearheaded the OSU defense with nine tackles, while Lyndell Johnson had eight tackles including three for tackles for loss. Sophomore cornerback Kevin Peterson had his first-career interception, which he returned 38 yards to set up the Cowboys' second touchdown of the day.

Overall, OSU outgained KU 359-to-316 in total offense and won the turnover battle 1-to-0, improving OSU to 18-0 under Mike Gundy when it doesn't commit a turnover.

Also, Gilbert's opening kick return touchdown gives him six for his career, which leads all active players in the NCAA.

Next up for the Cowboys is a massive game for their conference title hopes as they travel to face Texas at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. It is OSU's final road game of the season and it has won its past two in Austin.

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