Bobby Lewis, NewsOn6.com
STILLWATER, Oklahoma -- Joseph Randle could not believe what was happening.
"I had never been in a road environment like that," the Cowboys sophomore running back said about last year's trip to play Louisiana-Lafayette. "They were throwing peanuts at us."
Randle's first experience with a road crowd was an eye-opener. The Ragin' Cajuns' faithful cursed. They launched legumes. A streaker even made his way onto the field during one of the timeouts.
Was this what life on the road is like in college football?
"I was like, ‘this is wild'," he said.
Randle and the Cowboys escaped Lafayette with their health and a win. The Oklahoma State freshman started to perform well on the road as the season progressed. His best performance of the season came a week after OSU left the bayou, when Randle rushed for 95 yards and caught three passes for 44 yards against Texas Tech. He also scored his first career rushing touchdown against the Red Raiders in a 34-17 win.
"You saw what he could do. He's going to be special," said quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Randle developed into a reliable target for Weeden on those road trips. Randle hauled in nearly 70 percent of his receiving yards away from Boone Pickens Stadium, including two monster performances in his home state of Kansas.
Randle caught four passes for 59 yards against the Kansas State Wildcats in October and then torched the Kansas Jayhawks for 58 more yards three weeks later. In all, Randle capped his freshman season with 879 yards from scrimmage.
"He's kind of a faster guy," said lineman Levy Adcock. "He's more elusive."
Despite having a lot of success in his first year on campus, Randle thinks 2011 will be even better than his first go-around.
"I feel more experienced," he said during Saturday's media day. "I feel like I'm stronger and a better player now."
The Cowboys open the season against those same Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns. This time the Pokes won't have to worry about that hostile crowd breathing down their necks. OSU hosts ULL on September 3.