Tress Way ends OU career where it started: Cowboys Stadium
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Friday, December 28, 2012
12/28/12 at 4:49 AM
NORMAN - Tress Way raced onto Cowboys Stadium field with no time to think about his Oklahoma debut in 2009.
The punter shrugged his shoulders while looking at his grandfather, parents and brother, who were in end-zone seats. Planted near his own goal line, Way booted a 37-yard punt on his first attempt during a season-opening loss to BYU.
Way now has 244 more punts under his belt as he prepares for his final OU football game when the Sooners face Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.
The former Union High School player was asked what he remembered about the 14-13 loss to the Cougars. He said the most memorable moments were his first and last times on the field during the first college football game played at Cowboys Stadium.
"We had the returning Heisman Trophy winner (Sam Bradford) and we went three-and-out on the first drive," Way said about his first bit of playing time. "I remember running on the field and thinking there's no turning back now."
The last thing he remembers is missing a potential game-winning 54-yard field goal attempt with 1:23 remaining. The try wasn't close.
"I came out the next Monday and hit eight field goals from that far," Way said. "I was so dang mad because that was a kick I should have made.
"Playing my last game where it was my first-ever game for OU, there's a bit of a home feeling to it. You remember how it all went."
Way's 52-game career has been prolific. He ranks No. 1 in OU history with an average of 43.8 yards per punt. He has five punts of 70 yards or more, including an 85-yard punt in his sophomore season. He has been named at least an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection at punter each year of his career.
It's been an exciting 2012 for the Way family. Tress Way won a Big 12 championship with Oklahoma, while younger brother Cole Way captured a Conference USA title during his sophomore season at Tulsa.
"I called my dad the other day to ask what was going on," Tress Way said of Leo Way. "He said not much, that he was just getting off work and hanging out with his beautiful wife (Debra) and thinking about his two kids who are conference champions."
Both players will get championship rings to show off to their family, and their parents will get to attend both the Liberty Bowl (Dec. 31 in Memphis) and the Cotton Bowl (Jan. 4 in Dallas).
"They get to go up to Memphis and watch Cole's ball game," Tress Way said. "The thing I'm pumped for is that Cole gets to come home and watch my last bowl game."
The Ways will get to see their son not only compete against Texas A&M, but also try for a personal, not-as-serious goal for the pregame.
The OU punter wants to hit the giant Cowboys Stadium video board, which is suspended 90 feet above the playing surface.
"This year I'm a senior, and I'm going for it," Way said, adding a smile. "This is my last one so I'm going to try and drill it."
OU (10-2) vs. Texas A&M (10-2)
7 p.m. Jan. 4
At Arlington, Texas
Radio: KMOD fm97.5, KTBZ am1430
Original Print Headline: OU's Way going back to where it all began
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
OU punter Tress Way kicks one away during the 2011 Spring Game in Norman. Way's career ends Saturday at the same place it began, Cowboys Stadium. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World file