Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football: 5 things to know about Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy. (Rob Ferguson/USA TODAY Sports)
Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy. (Rob Ferguson/USA TODAY Sports)

Iowa State football’s (1-3, 0-2) Big 12 gauntlet continues against No. 21 Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1) this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Stillwater, Okla. Here are five things to know about the Cowboys.

1. Mike Gundy is a man

OK, everyone knows this one, but you can’t talk about Oklahoma State without bringing up this point and doing your best impersonation of it.

Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy went on one of the most infamous rants in college football history on Sept. 22, 2007 when he said, “Come after me, I’m a man, I’m 40.”

The rant as a whole is much longer, but that one iconic line is short, sweet and to the point — and very, very funny.

That was 11 years ago and Gundy is 51 now. He’s much more than a man who proclaimed himself to be a man — he’s a darn good football coach.

He’s led Oklahoma State to a 114-53 overall record and a Big 12 championship in 2011. He’s also led the Cowboys to 12 bowl games in his 13 years as the head coach. In those bowl games, he holds an 8-4 record.

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He’ll go on interesting tangents every now and then, like the time he said he wants to teach legendary wrestler and Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith how to rattlesnake hunt. He’ll even get himself in a bit of hot water attempting to bar the media from reporting news. But at the end of the day, he’s paid to win football games and that’s what he does.

2. Friday, Nov. 18, 2011

Nov. 18, 2011 is a date Iowa State football fans have etched in their memories. The Cyclones upset the No. 2 Cowboys 37-31 and knocked them out of national championship contention. The two teams essentially forced the creation of the College Football Playoff because of the game.

Iowa State has had little success since one of the biggest wins in program history. The Cyclones haven’t beaten the Cowboys since, losing each of the last six years.

The games haven’t been blowouts. Iowa State has kept it within one score each of the last three years. Last season, Iowa State had a chance to win, but fell short 49-42. Oklahoma State leads the all-time series 31-18-1.

3. NFL caliber Cowboys

Oklahoma State has always produced NFL talent, most notably 1988 Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders. Sanders is the only Cowboy to win the Heisman.

But Gundy has also churned out NFL talent. Twenty former Cowboys are currently in the NFL. Kicker Dan Bailey, defensive back Tre Flowers, defensive lineman Emmanual Ogbah, quarterback Mason Rudolph and running back James Washington are the most notable.

4. Paddle people

Fans tuning into the Oklahoma State game will likely hear a dull repeated “thud, thud, thud, thud” when the opposing team has the ball. Boone Pickens Stadium doesn’t have a lot of room on the sidelines, so the walls at the front of the bleachers are padded.

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The students in the first row of the student section are given orange paddles to hit the padded wall beneath them repeatedly to make noise and hype up the Cowboys defense.

The tradition started in the 1990s and the “Paddle People” is an official group in the university.

5. Notable alumni

Oklahoma State churns out athletes like they’re going out of style.

Golfer Rickie Fowler and his brightly colored apparel attended Oklahoma State, which given Oklahoma State’s primary color of orange, makes a lot of sense. Fellow golfers Hunter Mahan and Charles Howell III also went to Oklahoma State.

On the wrestling mat, OSU produced arguably the greatest American freestyle wrestler of all time in John Smith. Smith won two Olympic gold medals and won the world championships four other times. Smith won two national titles while he wrestled at Oklahoma State.

UFC Champion Daniel Cormier also wrestled at Oklahoma State. Cormier never won an NCAA title, but he was a runner-up to Iowa State’s Cael Sanderson in 2001. There is no shame in losing to Sanderson, who went undefeated as a collegiate wrestler.

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