As Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy walked off the field after his squad barely held off Troy, he had to be thankful that senior running back Kendall Hunter was back after missing most of last season.
Hunter exploded onto the scene to open the season and continued his Heisman candidacy. Now heading into the third week of the season, Hunter leads the Cowboys into the new era of a historic rivalry.
After not playing Tulsa since 2004, the Cowboys have evolved into a completely different program just as Tulsa. Both known for high scoring offenses, the Cowboys are coming off back to back nine win seasons and have become a consistent player in the Big 12 South.
Now with junior Brandon Weeden, Hunter, and sophomore Justin Blackmon leading the new offense, Cowboy fans are weary as to just how good they really are.
After a 65 to 17 track meet against Washington State, the Cowboys had to fight back from behind against an immensely talented Troy team winning 41 to 38.
Though Tulsa's defense isn't quite as strong as Troy's, the Cowboys need Weeden to protect the ball after turning it over five times, twice threw the air and three times on the ground.
Hunter carried the Cowboy's offense and Blackmon and junior Josh Cooper made big plays but weren't consistent, though Blackmon made plays when it counted.
The Cowboy defense however made plays when the game was on the line, led by star senior linebacker Orie Lemon who just had tackle after tackle after tackle whenever the Cowboys needed one. Lemon was all over the field on Saturday and has been the only consistent Cowboy on that side of the ball.
With the defensively line already decimated with minor injuries, the lack of depth from both the secondary and the line has begun to show.
The Cowboys are only one week away from their first Big 12 game of the season, so as Tulsa approaches, Gundy needs to fix the mistakes and make sure his team is mentally prepared and don't come out as slow and sloppy again.
So as the lights turn on Saturday and the stadium is filled with loud and rowdy Cowboy fans, Hunter can once again lead the Cowboys into battle and hopefully have his teams mentally prepared for war behind him.