STILLWATER — Oklahoma State opened its home schedule against McNeese State in front of a sold-out crowd of 55,509 and coach Mike Gundy shared his gratitude for the Cowboys faithful on Monday.
Cowboys fans traveled well to Oregon State in the season opener and made sure to show their support for the players in 95-degree weather at Boone Pickens Stadium. Gundy said he understands how the everyday duties of raising a family coupled with the access to live streaming might make it harder for fans to come out to games.
“It’s easier at times to sit in a parking lot and put a 70-inch big screen and hook up a satellite, have your own beverages and food and watch multiple games,” Gundy said. “Just the tradition of going in a game and being in the environment is something that I don’t think you could replace at any other place or any other way.”
Several OSU players are from the Tulsa area, so the game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the University of Tulsa could make it that much easier for those families to attend the game.
Gundy said attendance in football and basketball is down across the country, but a winning culture helps keep fans interested.
OSU is 123-59 since Gundy took over in 2005 and the Cowboys have appeared in 13 consecutive bowl games. The tailgate crowd has increased with the winning. When Gundy heads to the student union from his house on game day, he said the streets are filled with Cowboys fans and parking spots are packed with Winnebago trailers.
The Cowboys don’t just win games, they do it entertainingly. The offense plays fast and lights up the scoreboard. OSU has averaged over 41 points a game the past two years.
Receiver Tylan Wallace scored on 69- and 75-yard receptions among his career-high three TDs in the home opener. Running back Chuba Hubbard rushed for a career-high 221 yards and three TDs at Oregon State, including a 53-yard sprint to the end zone.
The Big 12 Conference is stacked with high-powered offenses and OSU is no exception.
The defense provided some excitement with cornerback A.J. Green’s 27-yard interception return for a touchdown on the second play against McNeese. Those type of plays help put fans in the seats.
“Do we win every game? No, we don’t. We’re trying, yeah,” Gundy said. “Are we fun to watch? Probably, we’re entertaining.
“The coach has long hair; we throw the ball down the field a lot. We tackle better this season so far, so it’s pretty entertaining. We’re very thankful for the people that show up, and it makes a big difference.”
Gundy said fans may never know how much it means to him for them to provide that amount of support for his players.
Senior Philip Redwine-Bryant, who rewarded fans by returning his interception to the 1-yard line Saturday, said he appreciated the fact that fans didn’t leave even when the Cowboys started to pull away.
“It’s awesome,” Redwine-Bryant said. “We were up by a lot and they were still all there. You didn’t really see anything empty in those sections. It’s a huge fan base. We’re playing for them just like they’re supporting us. I mean it’s ongoing. I love it.”
Redwine-Bryant and the rest of the Cowboys team are looking forward to playing in front of a large fan base at Tulsa this weekend.