With two receivers gone to the NFL, Isaiah Anderson figured to be the next deep threat in Oklahoma State’s potent passing game.
A hand injury derailed those chances until his very last chance to play at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Anderson had a career-best 174 yards receiving and caught three long touchdown passes from Clint Chelf in his final home game, leading Oklahoma State to a 59-21 win against Texas Tech on Saturday. The Cowboys are No. 24 in the BCS standings, while the Red Raiders are 23rd.
”This is the best feeling in the world, to do it in front of my home crowd and have my family here to support me,” Anderson said.
Anderson was on the receiving end of scoring passes of 60, 33 and 66 yards from Chelf and ended up with nearly three times his previous career-best of 64 yards receiving in a game.
It was exactly what the Cowboys expected out of him after a strong training camp as one of the team’s most experienced receivers, with the departure of first-round NFL Draft pick Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper — who also ended up in the NFL.
A hand injury kept him out of action most of the first part of the season – and he had just 123 yards receiving all season before Saturday.
”It kind of messed with me mentally. Coming in, I was expecting just to have that breakout season this year. To have that kind of setback, it made me more mentally strong to have to go through that and push through it to get back on the field,” Anderson said.
”Just to have a day like I had today makes it all worth it.”
A dozen of the most important people in his life — from his grandfather to his girlfriend — got to witness his big day.
”He’s been here a long time and for him to go out like that, in front of the home crowd, is something special,” Chelf said.
Zack Craig blocked a pair of punts, returning one for a touchdown, as the Cowboys (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) won their fourth straight in the series and the second in a row in decisive fashion. The Red Raiders’ 66-6 loss in last season’s game was the most lopsided defeat in the program’s history.
”Tough night for us,” Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said. ”We ran into a buzzsaw.”
Seth Doege threw for 230 yards with two interceptions and a single touchdown pass for Texas Tech (7-4, 4-4). He started the day leading the Bowl Subdivision with 34 touchdown passes this season.
The Red Raiders also turned it over on a snap over Doege’s head and had twice as many penalty yards as Oklahoma State.
”Bad things just kept happening to us,” said Tuberville, who didn’t allow his players to speak to reporters.
Chelf passed for 229 yards in his second career start. J.W. Walsh, who had what coach Mike Gundy called a season-ending injury four weeks ago, ran for one touchdown and threw for another out of a short-yardage package.
The Red Raiders had a chance to pass the defending conference champions in the Big 12 standings, and perhaps secure a better bowl destination, but instead dropped their fifth consecutive game in Stillwater in another blowout.
”You’re just trying to go out and win. It doesn’t really matter how it happens,” Chelf said. ”They’re a good team, but we came to play today with a lot of energy and wanted to send the seniors off right.”
During a pregame ceremony, Oklahoma State observed a moment of silence to mark the one-year anniversary of the plane crash that killed women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and two others.
Sparked by a series of big plays on defense and special teams, Oklahoma State’s offense got clicking to break the game open with 28 consecutive points in the second quarter.
The Cowboys sacked Doege three times in the first half and Tyler Johnson was pressuring him again to force an ill-advised throw that Shamiel Gary intercepted. Just two plays later, Chelf connected with Anderson on a 33-yard flea flicker pass to push the Oklahoma State advantage to 21-7.
Tech couldn’t respond and followed that by going three-and-out, with Craig rushing in to block Ryan Erxleben’s punt and keep Oklahoma State’s roll going. Walsh finished the ensuing drive with a 2-yard TD run on a quarterback keeper, and Chelf threw his 66-yard touchdown pass to Anderson on the first play after another Red Raiders three-and-out.
”It was just wonderful to get some turnovers,” defensive coordinator Bill Young said. ”You give our offense the football with a short field and, boy, you better look out.”
Cornerback Bruce Jones slipped momentarily, and that was all that speedster Anderson needed to be long gone.
”He’s fast,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. ”And when you’re fast, whether you can catch it or not, you scare a defense. If you can catch it, it makes it that much worse.
Doege threw a 2-yard TD pass to Tyson Williams with 15 seconds left before halftime, and the Red Raiders got the ball to start the second half. But Doege’s second interception — directly into the arms of retreating defensive tackle James Castleman — ended that drive and any momentum for Tech.
Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith each tacked on touchdown runs for Oklahoma State in the second half, and Quinn Sharp matched his career-long with a 51-yard field goal. Craig’s punt block extended the lead to 59-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Darrin Moore caught a late 7-yard touchdown pass from backup Michael Brewer and finished with 140 yards receiving for Texas Tech.