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Notebook: Bowman Talks Gordon, Johnson’s Burned Redshirt ‘Worth It,’ Gordon Talks Texas

‘He’s the best running back that I’ve been around, and it’s not even close.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Making a Big 12 title game has to be tough, and the Cowboys certainly made it look tough.

Oklahoma State overcame an 18-point deficit to beat BYU 40-34 on Saturday to clinch the final spot in Arlington. Here are three storylines from the OSU team room after Saturday’s game.

‘He’s the Best Running Back That I’ve Been Around, and It’s Not Even Close’

A college football journeyman, Alan Bowman has played with a lot of good tailbacks throughout his career.

But Bowman has had the best seat in the house for one of the best rushing seasons in OSU’s history. Ollie Gordon on Saturday pushed the Cowboys into the Big 12 title game, running for 166 yards and five touchdowns against BYU.

With the regular season in the rearview, Gordon leads the nation in rushing yards with 1,580. His five touchdowns Saturday also pushed him up to No. 2 in the country with 20 on the year.

“It’s been special,” Bowman said. “It’s been fun. Honestly, it’s been fun. He plays with such passion, with such emotion. To be able to be next to him and hand the ball off, I got better seats to see those cuts than anybody else.

“He’s different. Obviously, I played with Blake (Corum) and Donovan (Edwards), which are really good running backs. I’ve played with Tahj Brooks, actually, at Texas Tech. He’s really good. SaRodorick (Thompson) is with the Seahawks. Been fortunate enough to be around some legit, legit backs. What he can do, his versatility, his size, his pass-catching, his cutting ability, his blocking ability — he’s the best running back that I’ve been around, and it’s not even close.”

Burning the Redshirt ‘Worth It’ for Leon Johnson

The listed capacity at Stoffer Family Stadium is “over 2,700.”

If you’re unfamiliar with what a Stoffer Family Stadium is, it’s where the Division-III George Fox Bruins call home, where Leon Johnson III spent four years before transferring to OSU. The next time Johnson steps into a football stadium for a game, it’ll be the 80,000-seat AT&T Stadium — about 30 times the capacity of Stoffer Family Stadium.

Leon Johnson burned his redshirt when he played in Bedlam —  a tough call to make because, unless he gets a waiver, that means this will be Johnson’s last season as a college athlete. But he is making the most of the situation.

Johnson caught nine passes for 132 yards in OSU’s game against BYU. It’s his second 100-yard game since getting pushed into the rotation because of injuries elsewhere. He played 75 snaps Saturday against the Cougars and earned a PFF grade of 72, the highest score of any player on OSU’s offense.

“I think it has [been worth it],” Johnson said. “I’m pretty much taking every snap, so it’s not like we’re rotating or anything — not like that would be a bad thing. But I’m pretty much taking all the time I get for myself, so while it does suck I’m not here for another year with my friends and coaches and all my teammates and stuff, I think what we did was worth it.”

Gordon on Playing Texas

OSU offered Ollie Gordon a scholarship back in January of 2021.

That offer seemed to springboard Gordon’s recruitment, as shortly after he had offers from Arkansas, Nebraska and Michigan. But Gordon committed to the Cowboys that February.

Then Texas showed up a few weeks before singing day and offered Gordon a scholarship. It’s somewhat of a tale as old as time where Texas will extend a late offer to an OSU prospect. Sometimes it works for the Longhorns — like last cycle with Jelani McDonald, who decommitted from OSU shortly after a Texas offer and flipped to UT. Other times, the prospects stand firm in their original commitment, like Gordon and Tyler Lacy. Gordon, from the DFW metroplex, said he felt disrespected by how late Texas was to the party.

“Why would they come so late?” Gordon said. “They came like the day before signing day, so obviously they weren’t paying attention to my film before.”

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