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The Top 5 Quotes from Mike Gundy’s Post-BYU News Conference

‘Just think where we were at the end of September.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — With Saturday’s win, Mike Gundy has a shot at getting Big 12 title No. 2.

Oklahoma State beat BYU 40-34 in double overtime Saturday to clinch a tango with Texas in next week’s Big 12 championship game. Here are five quotes from Mike Gundy’s postgame news conference with the full video below.

From South Alabama Loss to Big 12 Title Game

When OSU lost to South Alabama on Sept. 16 the talk started becoming whether the Cowboys’ bowl streak would survive this season. Fast-forward and the Cowboys are 9-3 and set to play for a Big 12 title.

It’s a script Hollywood might not believe. OSU went into its bye week at 2-2, and that was before anyone knew Iowa State (OSU’s second loss) was a half-decent team.

So, the question is just how?

“I said, ‘Just think where we were at the end of September,'” Gundy said. “The reason I told them that was because it’s important as we develop and train young men they understand there will be things in life that don’t work to their favor. It’s amazing what a group of young men and a team can accomplish if they’re willing to ignore the outside circumstances, go to work and grind. Just put your head down and grind. Don’t worry about anything else.

“… You gotta get everybody moving in the right direction. Can’t be any finger pointing and people b****ing and complaining and this and that. It took everybody moving in the right direction. That’s what they did.”

The Cougars ‘Put All Their Chips Out’

BYU had a lot to play for Saturday.

With a win, the Cougars would be bowl eligible in their first season at the Power Five level, and they nearly pulled it off. BYU attempted a surprise onside kick that nearly worked while also faking a punt. The Cougars built up a big lead, but they just didn’t have the steam to hold off the Cowboys.

“They did a good job,” Gundy said. “They had a lot of different things. They could put all their chips out, no matter what their hand was. They could have a poor hand and put it all out. They did the right thing and were trying to win at all costs. It makes it difficult. We were concerned about that. We talked about them having several fakes in special teams, and we were right. We just couldn’t defend them the way we should have.

“But the guys kept playing. Coaches did a great job of adjusting at halftime. The players grabbed the information and took it out there. That one wasn’t an easy one to come back from. When you have to throw a few passes when it was raining pretty good out there, and we were able to throw and catch. I told them I was proud of them and that it was a good culture win for us. They’re learning how to dig themselves out of a hole and not point fingers at each other. The coaches don’t point fingers at each other. They absorb information on the sideline, make changes, take it back out on the field and go play.”

Rashod Owen’s Halftime Speech

The Cowboys went into the locker room under a chorus of boos down 24-6.

OSU entered the day needing a win against an average BYU team to clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game, and it looked as if that was slipping away. But when the Pokes got to the locker room, Rashod Owens, by all accounts, gave a riveting halftime speech to inject life back into his team. It was apparently the second straight week he gave such a speech, doing so to help the Cowboys turn around in Houston. If football doesn’t work out for Owens long term, it sounds like he could be a heck of a motivational speaker.

“I was gonna bring the team up in the middle and talk to him, and he started doing it,” Gundy said. “I just said, ‘Go ahead. Let him have it.’ I went in there with the offense — the coaches. He took the thing over. I don’t even know what he said to them because I didn’t have time to stand there and listen, but he wanted to bring them up in the middle. He’s been great for us.”

On Leon Johnson’s Big Day, Redshirt Burn

About a month ago, the plan was for Leon Johnson to redshirt, spend another year in Stillwater and go at it next season.

Johnson transferred into OSU from Division-III George Fox. He also played baseball for the Bruins, and he proved this year that he can crush a curveball.

With OSU thin at receiver, Johnson was forced into major action against Cincinnati. Then he officially burned his redshirt the next week against Oklahoma because it was the fifth game he played this season. It’s a particularly big deal because Johnson is a senior. Unless he gets a waiver, this will be his last year as a college athlete.

But, Johnson has made the most of this situation. Since that Cincy game, Johnson has caught 27 passes for 446 yards and a touchdown and is a big reason as to why the Cowboys will play for a conference title.

“It’s been tough on Leon,” Gundy said. “He thought he could stay in the program with Rob Glass for another nine months and change his body even more and develop and become faster. We talked with him about this being a once-in-a-lifetime experience and look at what he’s done. [Nine catches] for 132, and that’s not counting what he’s done in the other games.

“When he was playing several weeks ago, we didn’t have anybody left that had any experience at all. That’s how important he is. I’m hoping he can take this with him. OSU people need to be thankful for guys like him and what he did. He could have said he wanted to redshirt, and if he says that we really can’t tell him ‘No.’ College football’s not that way right now. I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s fortunate, he’s got a good mom and dad who raised him the right way. They’ve given him good values. In the end, his core values matched with ours and that’s the result you get.”

Pokes Playing Texas After All

A weird part of the new Big 12 scheduling is that for the first time since 1995, OSU and Texas weren’t scheduled to play a football game. With the conjunction of focus there being “weren’t.”

OSU and Texas will play after all — in the Big 12 title game. The Longhorns are 11-1 this season, with their only loss coming in a wild Red River game with OU. The Longhorns beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and they’re coming off a 50-point win against Texas Tech. But it doesn’t sound as if Gundy is counting out his Pokes — nor should he considering OSU has beaten Texas six out of the past eight years.

“We see them on some crossover tape, and then I’ve watched them play a few games — not a lot,” Gundy said. “Obviously Texas is playing at a very high level right now. Texas has good players. Texas has great players — they’ve always had them. They play at a high level. They’re not an easy team to play. But I like my team.”

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