Linebackers turn in strong performance amid adversity
Glenn Spencer felt like a proud father.
The Oklahoma State defense gave up only two touchdown drives in Saturday’s 59-21 win over Pitt at Heinz Field, and it was anchored by a linebacker group that has faced its share of adversity in the last two weeks.
Reserve Kevin Henry was lost for the season last week, and starter Kenneth EdisonMcGruder missed his second straight game with an injury.
Calvin Bundage missed the first half because of a suspension for targeting that carried over from last week’s game at South Alabama.
“We’ve got some guys playing two positions, guys playing hurt, one of them cramped up,” Spencer said. “We’re like the American Revolution picture, bandaged heads and limping to the next battle.
“I’m very proud of ‘em.
You love it when you see kids answer the bell in adversity, and they did.”
Gyasi Akem, Justin Phillips, Amen Ogbongbemiga and Chad Whitener combined for 19 total tackles.
Bundage got involved quickly when he entered in the third quarter, pressuring the quarterback on a throw that was ultimately intercepted by Phillips and returned for a touchdown.
“Bundage had to watch the first half from the locker room,” coach Mike Gundy said. “I think he watched the game. Somebody said he actually flipped it over to SpongeBob at the start of the second quarter.”
Harper dismissed, Johnson disciplined
Reserve cornerback Madre Harper has been dismissed from the team, Gundy revealed following the Cowboys’ rout at Pitt.
Harper and wide receiver Tyron Johnson were both left home in Stillwater for disciplinary reasons. Johnson’s absence is a one-game situation, as Gundy said the wideout would rejoin active status Sunday, when the Cowboys begin preparation for next week’s visit from TCU.
“We had a few players this week that lost focus and got out of our world and our culture,” Gundy said, adding that the issues weren’t legal matters. “So then they can’t be with us and play games.”
Gundy had already dismissed freshman linebacker Brendan Vaughn, who was arrested last weekend.
“Madre Harper’s not on the team anymore,” Gundy said. “Brendan Vaughn’s not on the team anymore. Guys stepped out of our culture a little bit, and unfortunately I have to make tough decisions.
“But No. 13 (Johnson) will be back with us and we’ll play the guys that we have in here.”
Sources say Harper previously has had problems controlling his temper, in and away from practice.
Kolb, Brown reunite on sidelines
Jon Kolb and Terry Brown stood together around the 15-yard line on the Oklahoma State sideline, both wearing bright orange shirts and enjoying the Cowboys’ easy win over Pittsburgh together Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field.
Roommates when they played for the Cowboys in the late 1960s, Kolb and Brown will be in opposite cheering sections on Sunday.
Kolb won four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is regarded as one of the team’s greatest offensive linemen ever.
Brown was a defensive back for the Minnesota Vikings, and the first Oklahoma native to score a touchdown in the Super Bowl.
The Steelers host the Vikings Sunday at Heinz Field.
Up next: TCU
After playing back-toback nonconference road games, the Cowboys return home Saturday for their
Big 12 Conference opener against TCU.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. to be televised by ABC or an ESPN network.
The Horned Frogs entered the weekend ranked No. 20, but found trouble in Metroplex rival SMU. TCU fell behind early before rallying for the win.
The Cowboys rolled to a big easy win against the Panthers, yet not without injury concerns.
None, however, appear to be serious.
Offensive tackle Zach Crabtree and receiver Chris Lacy both left the game early and did not return. Crabtree suffered what’s termed a “turf toe” – a sprained big toe; while Lacy injured a shoulder. Gundy said he thought both would be “fine.”
Gundy on Crabtree: “We had a decent lead there. He had a thing where you sprain your big toe, it gets sore. In the ’80s when we were tough, they would’ve injected him and put him back out there.”
Redshirt freshman Teven Jenkins replaced Crabtree and was on the field for several of OSU’s scoring drives.
“He came in with laser focus, did a great job,” OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph said. “We’ve gotten him in with the ones in a closegame situation the past couple weeks, early in the first or second quarter. I wasn’t worried about him.
“He’s had great weeks of practice and he’s a big, physical dude. Hopefully we’ll get Crabtree back, but (Teven’s) been great for us whenever we need him.”
Oklahoma State lineman Marcus Keyes lifts receiver Jalen McCleskey into the air, celebrating a first-half touchdown by McCleskey. McCleskey had a huge day in the Cowboys’ win over Pitt. He had seven catches for 162 yards and three touchdowns.