Recent history on Oklahoma State's side against SMU

Friday, September 17th 2004, 10:51 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Since Oklahoma State and Southern Methodist last met a year ago, the Cowboys have defeated the eventual Big 12 champions, played in a January bowl game, and started a new season with two straight wins.

The Mustangs haven't won a game.

If there's any good news for SMU (0-2), it might be that Rashaun Woods _ the receiver that terrorized the Mustangs defense for an NCAA-record seven touchdown catches in last year's game _ has moved on to the NFL.

Instead, Oklahoma State (2-0) has been relying on tailback Vernand Morency, who has averaged 222.5 rushing yards in the Cowboys' first two games. Quarterback Donovan Woods has thrown only 16 passes and completed five. The Cowboys' top returning receiver, D'Juan Woods, has yet to catch a pass.

``They haven't thrown the ball much because they haven't had to,'' SMU coach Phil Bennett said. ``Those of you that were here last year know that they can throw the ball. Even though one Woods is gone, they've got two now. Hopefully, that doesn't mean double trouble for us. One of them was tough enough.''

SMU has lost 14 in a row, including the 52-6 loss to Oklahoma State in Dallas last season. Oklahoma State also beat SMU 52-16 in Stillwater in 2002.

``Oklahoma State is a very good football team,'' Bennett said. ``The first thing that comes to mind is that they've pretty much dominated us over the past two years.''

In 2002, Oklahoma State used a balanced attack to pile up 345 yards and a 45-0 lead in the first half. Last season, SMU concentrated on the run and allowed Rashaun Woods' big day.

With the Cowboys success running the ball this season, coach Les Miles said he thought SMU might take a similar approach against the run.

``I don't see why he'd change,'' Miles said.

Bennett said he figured to see Oklahoma State try bootlegs and play-action passes set up by Morency's runs.

``I'm not stupid enough to think that (Donovan) Woods can't throw, because I know he can throw,'' Bennett said. ``Especially when you just throw it up and they go get it.''

Donovan Woods had his first touchdown pass of the season last week against Tulsa _ a 46-yarder caught by Chijuan Mack. The pass makes up just under half of Woods' 93 yards passing. The total ranks Oklahoma State 116th among the 117 Division I college football teams. Only Rice _ which had 28 passing yards in its opener _ has less.

But Miles said the effectiveness of the run game _ which ranks fourth in the nation _ has benefited the development of his young quarterback.

``When you're moving the football on the ground, you take the pressure off a quarterback having to make a play that maybe he shouldn't make,'' Miles said.

The success has Miles and his players believing they can run the ball against any defense.

Bennett said the Cowboys' effectiveness with the run is a combination of Morency's skills and other factors.

``First of all, I think they have a very good offensive line and they do schemes that are conducive to the way he runs,'' Bennett said. ``He has really good vision. People say, 'We want to make him go east and west,' He's got deceiving speed and in the open field, he's hard to tackle ...

``I haven't seen many one-on-one confrontations that he's lost, that he didn't get a lot of yards after contact.''