OSU offense can't afford mistakes in coming weeks

Sunday, September 17th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Reggie White was the poster boy for all that went right _ and wrong _ in Oklahoma State's 23-0 win over Southwest Texas.

The senior tailback ran for 130 yards and scored a 5-yard touchdown on the Cowboys' opening drive Saturday night. But on a first and goal at the Bobcat 9 in the second quarter, he fumbled into the end zone and the Bobcats recovered for a touchback.

OSU (2-0) may be able to withstand such a squandered opportunity against Division I-AA Southwest Texas (1-2). But OSU faces No. 25 Southern Mississippi this week, where such mistakes won't be so easily forgiven. After that, OSU faces No. 5 Texas in Dallas.

``We wanted to come out and play a little better than we did. We were flat in the second half,'' OSU coach Bob Simmons said. ``We came out and it was all I could do just to keep my composure.''

Twice in the second half, OSU had first downs inside the Southwest Texas 14-yard line and both times the Cowboys had to settle for Seth Condley field goals.

Condley kicked a 28-yarder in the third quarter and a 30-yarder to cap the Cowboys' scoring with 5:37 left in the game.

Passing on offensive standouts like White and quarterback Tony Lindsay _ who threw for 193 yards and ran for a 1-yard touchdown late in the second quarter _ Simmons called Condley the player of the game.

``He's the one who put the points on the board,'' Simmons said of Condley, who also kicked a 39-yard field goal early in the second quarter. ``He did it last week and this week. But we're going to have to have touchdowns.''

Lindsay said the offense became lackadaisical after pounding the Bobcat defense on its initial drive.

``We'll take a win, but overall we played very sloppy,'' said Lindsay who completed just 8-of-16 passes in the game.

But the Cowboy defense held up well throughout, allowing only one serious scoring threat when the Bobcats drove to the OSU 8-yard line, only to have defensive back Marcus Jones intercept a Reagan George pass in the end zone.

OSU limited the Bobcats to 141 yards of total offense and just 36 yards on the ground. Cowboys sacked Bobcat quarterbacks five times and scored the team's first shutout since a 35-0 victory over Fresno State in 1997.

``The objective of every game is to come out and pitch a shutout, and we accomplished that,'' linebacker Dwayne Levels said. ``They got a couple of yards on us on a play or two, and we didn't let down. We came back even stronger and held up.''

Southwest Texas switched between quarterbacks George and Jason Griffin throughout the game, but neither had an answer for the speed and size of Oklahoma State's defensive players.

George finished 10-of-18 for 81 yards, while Griffin was 4-of-9 for 24 yards.

Southwest Texas also was without its top two running backs, Lee Davis and Bronson Sanders, who both suffered knee injuries in a 19-13 loss to Cal State Northridge the week before. Replacement Lee Lundin managed just 29 yards on 13 carries.

Pinned deep in their own territory for most of the first half, the Bobcats crossed midfield just once in the first two quarters and trailed 17-0 at halftime.

``We came out short offensively and that is the thing that scared me the most: our line against their front seven,'' Bobcat coach Bob DeBesse said. ``They are athletic and they are quick. They have some great players up there and they got the best of us.''