Bryant’s 3 TDs lift Oklahoma State past Troy 55-24

Published 3:36 pm Sunday, September 28, 2008

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ If it seems like Oklahoma State’s offense has been nearly unstoppable this season, well, that’s the idea, quarterback Zac Robinson said.

“Offensively our goal is to score every time we touch it,” he said. “Obviously you can’t do that, but if you have that mindset, we’ll have a chance to be a pretty good offense.”

Based on the numbers, the Cowboys have their best offense since the Barry Sanders era 20 years ago. Robinson threw three touchdown passes to Dez Bryant, and Oklahoma State reached 50 points for the third consecutive game in a 55-24 win over Troy on Saturday.

Oklahoma State (4-0) is undefeated after the nonconference portion of its schedule for the first time since 2005 and might be poised to move into The Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday. The Cowboys finished 27th in last week’s balloting.

The Cowboys finished with 612 yards of offense, the eighth-highest total in school history, against a Troy defense that entered the game 11th in the Football Bowl Subdivision at 237.7 yards per game and allowed 309 yards a week earlier in a 28-10 loss at Ohio State.

Oklahoma State, which came in fifth nationally in total offense at 546 yards per game, has scored more than 50 points in three straight games for the second time in school history. The first came in the first three games of 1988, Sanders’ Heisman Trophy season.

Robinson completed 16 of 21 passes for 254 yards, and the Cowboys had a pair of 100-yard rushers in Kendall Hunter, who had 24 carries for 169 yards, and Keith Toston, who had 17 carries for 114 yards. Both scored two touchdowns as they extended Oklahoma State’s string of games with at least one 100-yard rusher to 15.

“I was excited about no turnovers and forcing (three) turnovers on the other side of the ball,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “We challenged our team to be physical this week and to play hard and fast. I was proud of them. I thought offensively we were very physical. I thought we blocked extremely well.”

Before a Boone Pickens Stadium-record crowd of 52,463 fans, Oklahoma State also avenged an embarrassing 41-23 loss to Troy (2-2) from last season, a game in which the Trojans led by 31 points before surrendering two meaningless touchdowns.

It took Oklahoma State less than a half to surpass its scoring output from that game, thanks in good part to Bryant, a sophomore who entered Saturday eighth nationally in receiving yards per game at 108.7. He had six catches for 118 yards against the Trojans, all in the first half.

Bryant caught a 16-yard scoring pass from Robinson — whose first career start came in the loss to Troy — to cap Oklahoma State’s first possession. A 26-yard touchdown connection between the pair put the Cowboys up 21-0 with 7:28 left in the first half.

Bryant outjumped a Troy defender to catch an underthrown football, then finished a 44-yard touchdown pass from Robinson that made it 28-7.

“Me and Zac just have a great understanding,” Bryant said. “He knows if he can get the ball anywhere near me that I’m going to try my best to go up and make the play.”

Troy’s Sam Glusman kicked a 47-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in the first half, but the Cowboys added another touchdown 31 seconds later on a 17-yard run by Hunter, making it 35-10 at halftime. It was Oklahoma State’s fifth scoring drive of less than a minute this season.

After forcing a three-and-out from the Trojans to open the second half, Oklahoma State went 99 yards in 11 plays — all on the ground — to go up 42-10 and end all doubt.

“We thought we could wear them down,” Gundy said. “We just like those guys running the ball.”

Jamie Hampton completed 27 of 49 passes for 272 yards with three touchdown passes and two interceptions for Troy.

“It was pretty obvious that we got a pretty good wood-shedding tonight,” Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. “That’s one of the best offenses we’ve faced, period … They are a very good, very prolific offensive football team.

“I don’t know that we ran through them (last year) quite like they ran through us.”

Oklahoma State has won five straight games overall and 14 in a row at home against nonconference opponents.

“We came in thinking it was going to be a shootout,” Hampton said. “We knew their offense was really good, and their offense is really good. Their defense is pretty good, too.”

The Cowboys’ previous home attendance record was 51,458, set against Oklahoma in 1996 when the facility was known as Lewis Field.

“It was nice to get out there in front of that crowd,” Gundy said. “…I thought it was very loud and that the fan support was tremendous. I know our players talked about it in the locker room after the game. They thought it was loud and orange and a great environment.”