November 2, 2021
(STILLWATER, Oklahoma) — Cowboy fans packed the stands shoulder-to-shoulder, roaring as their team took the field on Saturday. It was an exhilaration that many of them hadn’t felt in a while, as last year’s centennial homecoming celebration was postponed due to COVID-19.
The celebration has been dubbed by ESPN as “America’s Greatest Homecoming,” and the headline game did not disappoint returning fans. The Oklahoma sky didn’t have a cloud in sight, and after a hot day leading up to the game, the temperature dipped to a comfortable level when night fell on Boone Pickens Stadium.
In a game that can be described only as absolute domination, the 15th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated the Kansas Jayhawks by 52 points, never letting up on the gas pedal. The Cowboys had outscored the Jayhawks 38-0 by halftime, their largest halftime lead since 2012.
Donning throwback helmets to commemorate the historic homecoming game, they commanded the football field in every aspect, finishing with 535 total yards compared to Kansas’ 143. Quarterback Spencer Sanders accounted for 210 of those yards, and Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy sang his praise after the game.
“When he had to pull the ball down and run the football, he was effective,” Gundy said in a press conference. “He made really good decisions tonight.”
The win comes at an opportune moment in the Cowboys season. After rolling to a 6-0 start, the team was coming off its first loss last week versus Iowa State.
This week’s win silenced any Cowboys doubters, including the small circle of blue Jayhawk fans amid a sea of orange in the northeast corner of the stadium. Kansas Head Coach Lance Leipold voiced his disappointment after the loss.
“It’s frustrating for them, it’s frustrating for the coaches, but ultimately, it’s my job to get this team to play more consistently,” Leipold said in a press conference. “We’re going to continue to work at it. We have a long way to go yet, in growing and understanding.”
It’s Leipold’s first year with the team following former coach Les Miles’ dramatic firing in March. The team had a spark of hope coming into the game, after nearly defeating the fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners a week prior. The Jayhawks now sit at 1-7 with no wins in the conference.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, are now second only to the Sooners in the Big 12. The win was Oklahoma State’s highest-scoring game of the season, the team having only averaged 25.7 beforehand. It was Kansas’ lowest-scoring game yet.
As the Jayhawks dejectedly returned to the locker room, fireworks soared over Boone Pickens Stadium to celebrate the win.
From the victorious starting athletes, to preschoolers wearing “future Cowboy” shirts, to senior-citizen alumni, the Oklahoma State fans proudly sang their alma mater in a Cowboys chorus, raising their arms to form three letters on the final notes: O-S-U.