Barry Sanders in OSU Homecoming parade

Cowboy football great Barry Sanders rides in the Oklahoma State homecoming parade in Stillwater last year. OSU’s homecoming this year is Saturday when the Cowboys face No. 18 Baylor. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State’s homecoming is the same weekend as the off week for the Pittsburgh Steelers so former Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph has time to travel back to Stillwater and catch the game Saturday.

Rudolph, who started in three games for the Steelers before being put in the concussion protocol, texted OSU coach Mike Gundy on Sunday night to let him know he’d be in town for the homecoming game that kicks off at 3 p.m. against No. 18 Baylor.

Rudolph isn’t the only NFL player Gundy expects to be in attendance. Gundy said Monday he anticipates any NFL player with an open week to travel to Stillwater this weekend.

“I’m looking forward to the homecoming,” Gundy said. “This is a big week for Oklahoma State obviously, the largest homecoming in the country. I’m guesstimating 60,000-70,000 people back in town. It’s a really exciting time, it’s been a great tradition. It’s carried on around here forever.”

OSU has won its past four homecoming matchups, including the 59-16 win against Baylor in 2017. This weekend will be a fun time for OSU fans and players, but the Cowboys won’t have it as easy as they did against Baylor two years ago. The Bears are coming off a 33-30 double overtime win for their homecoming weekend against a Texas Tech team that beat OSU 45-35 two weeks ago.

Texas Tech forced three interceptions and two fumbles by OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders and had three picks against Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer. The Bears still found a way to win and improve their unblemished record to 6-0 heading into Stillwater.

Gundy will be preparing for Baylor just like he does any other team but, unlike other weeks, he’ll also be worrying about ticket distributions.

“The most difficult part for me is tickets,” Gundy said. “Everybody wants tickets, former players, ex-players, pro players. So it’s a difficult time but a good problem to have that we have that many people coming back. We’ll have a full house, perfect time of day in the afternoon for college football.”

OSU had its alumni weekend when it hosted Kansas State two weeks ago, and Gundy said about 150 players came back for that. That number will most likely increase for homecoming.

“We’ve started a nice tradition where players are coming back and that’s a good thing for Oklahoma State football,” Gundy said.

Frank Bonner II

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Frank joined Tulsa World as the Oklahoma State University sports writer in June 2019. He is an Indiana native who attended graduate school at IUPUI after receiving his bachelor’s degree at Indiana University. 918-581-8387