Lineback­ers turn in strong per­for­mance amid ad­ver­sity

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - OSU POSTGAME - BY SCOTT WRIGHT AND JOHN HELSLEY, STAFF WRIT­ERS

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.

In­jury re­port

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.”

[AP PHOTO/KEITH SRAKOCIC]

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.

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