10:00 PM ET, September 17, 2011
Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, OK
Brandon Weeden, No. 8 Oklahoma State finish off Tulsa -- at 3:35 a.m.
TULSA, Okla. -- The clock struck midnight and the game still hadn't started.
Loaded up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and stir crazy from three hours spent waiting out a rain delay, No. 8 Oklahoma State showed its offense can click at any hour in a 59-33 victory against Tulsa early Sunday morning.
Originally scheduled to start at 9:10 p.m., the game didn't get going until 16 minutes after midnight and didn't get over until 3:35 a.m.
"I've played five years of minor-league baseball, had some late starts and 20-inning games and still nothing really compares to this," Weeden said. "This is a first."
The NCAA doesn't keep records showing where the game ranks among the latest to start or finish, but the bizarre circumstances will make this game hard to forget for anyone who stayed up for it.
"I'm not real excited about playing at that time, to be honest with you," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. "There comes a certain point in the middle of the morning your body's not used to functioning. Whether young people stay up late at night or not, they don't exert themselves at 2 and 3 in the morning.
"I had concerns about injuries on both teams. I was really concerned about losing players."
Tulsa lost starting quarterback G.J. Kinne to a knee injury in the first quarter and then fell hopelessly behind as replacement Kalen Henderson struggled to get going and the defense couldn't get stops.
The Cowboys built up a 45-6 lead less than 6 minutes into the second half and showed that a change in location, an extended weather delay and an odd start time did little to change the results in a rematch of a 65-28 win against Tulsa (1-2) last year in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State was up 41-7 at halftime in that one.
"No question, I think we took an emotional gut shot. And it took our guys almost a quarter to get back from it," Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said. "At least that is what I sensed. I don't think they got down, but I kind of saw the wind come out of our guys a little bit."
About the only thing missing for Oklahoma State was a 100-yard receiving game from Justin Blackmon. The Biletnikoff Award winner's NCAA record run of 14 straight games in triple digits was halted. He had a 4-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter but ended up with only 57 yards.
Weeden found plenty of other targets, and Randle had scoring runs of 1, 5 and 11 yards in his third straight 100-yard rushing outing. Backfield mate Jeremy Smith added a score from 6 yards out to make it 45-6 in the third quarter, and Oklahoma State won its fifth straight in the series, but for only the third time in its last eight visits to Tulsa.
"When we won the game, everybody's obviously very excited about the game but everybody's just walking around like zombies," Weeden said. "Everybody's pretty fatigued.
"Ultimately, we won the game. Here's the deal: If you start a game this late and you end up losing the game, for our sake, it makes it a little bit tougher to swallow."
Ja'Terian Douglas had 173 yards rushing, including two touchdown runs of 80 and 42 yards, and Trey Watts added 159 yards rushing with two lost fumbles. Both players had career-highs in rushing as Tulsa rolled up 365 yards on the ground.
Henderson wound up with 104 yards on 6-for-20 passing with two TD passes to Bryan Burnham and three interceptions.
"I thought it was a pretty sloppy-played game, to be honest with you. I didn't think we played very well," Gundy said. "There was times we moved the ball. There was times we were just very average.
"We were not very good against the run and got a little bit kind of in a funk, just going through the motions."
And who could blame them?
Gundy said he's usually asleep by 10 p.m., and this game never had a chance of getting over by then.
Tulsa's band already had played the national anthem and kickoff was only a few minutes away when fans were encouraged to seek shelter on the concourses, at the Reynolds Center basketball arena or in their vehicles because of the approaching storm.
Increasingly heavy rain moved over the stadium soon after, and only one man remained in his seat as the stadium got soaked.
Tulsa offensive tackle Stetson Burnett's long brown hair flopped around as he jumped up and down to try and rile up the fans when the players jogged back onto the field for pregame warm-ups a few minutes before midnight. Before the coin flip, referee Randy Smith asked the team captains: "Are you guys ready to finally play some football?"
There was one last delay when whistles sounded just as Kevin Fitzpatrick approached the ball for the kickoff and officials reset the play clock to 25 seconds.
After all that, Oklahoma State didn't make the thousands of fans who stuck around wait long to see some excitement.
Shawn Jackson intercepted a tipped pass by Weeden to set up Fitzpatrick's 25-yard field goal for an early 3-0 Tulsa lead, but Justin Gilbert ran the ensuing kickoff back 96 yards to put the Cowboys ahead to stay.
Weeden hooked up with Hubert Anyiam for a 36-yard score on a flea flicker on Oklahoma State's next drive, and Randle took over from there with Blackmon bracketed by defenders.
Beyond cancellation, there weren't many options except to wait out the rain and play into the wee hours of the morning.
The teams don't share a weekend off this season, leaving limited options to postpone the game. And both teams face ranked opponents next Saturday. Oklahoma State opens Big 12 conference play at No. 9 Texas A&M while Tulsa is at No. 4 Boise State.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... The weather cooperated and the Cowboys could get to the business of beating Tulsa ... and the sunrise.
Gameball goes to... Joseph Randle, who carried the ball 25 times for 128 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat of the game... 6. The Golden Hurricane turned the ball over six times.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||11-18||6-17|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-1|
|FG||08:07||Kevin Fitzpatrick 25 Yd||0||3|
|TD||07:52||Justin Gilbert 96 Yd Kickoff Return (Quinn Sharp Kick)||7||3|
|TD||04:57||Hubert Anyiam 36 Yd Pass From Brandon Weeden (Quinn Sharp Kick)||14||3|
|TD||14:22||Joseph Randle 1 Yd Run (Quinn Sharp Kick)||21||3|
|FG||09:37||Kevin Fitzpatrick 34 Yd||21||6|
|FG||07:59||Quinn Sharp 35 Yd||24||6|
|TD||05:26||Joseph Randle 5 Yd Run (Quinn Sharp Kick)||31||6|
|TD||11:57||Joseph Randle 11 Yd Run (Quinn Sharp Kick)||38||6|
|TD||09:38||Jeremy Smith 6 Yd Run (Quinn Sharp Kick)||45||6|
|TD||09:27||Ja'Terian Douglas 80 Yd Run (Pat Failed)||45||12|
|TD||09:19||Bryan Burnham 43 Yd Pass From Kalen Henderson (Kevin Fitzpatrick Kick)||45||19|
|TD||07:04||Isaiah Anderson 24 Yd Pass From Brandon Weeden (Quinn Sharp Kick)||52||19|
|TD||04:07||Bryan Burnham 14 Yd Pass From Kalen Henderson (Kevin Fitzpatrick Kick)||52||26|
|TD||07:34||Justin Blackmon 4 Yd Pass From Brandon Weeden (Quinn Sharp Kick)||59||26|
|TD||03:35||Ja'Terian Douglas 42 Yd Run (Kevin Fitzpatrick Kick)||59||33|