STILLWATER – Central Arkansas defensive safety back Tra Green went straight for Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon.
Then Green made a crucial mistake: He tried to size up the electric Cowboys sophomore.
“I’m just going to go over the top,” Gordon thought near the middle of the fourth quarter in OSU 27-13 win Saturday night.
“I have to.”
And Gordon went up and jumped, beating the 6-foot, 200-pound Green, who was almost fully upright as the 6-foot-1 Gordon soared.
It was the exclamation point in a dominant final period by Gordon, who then sealed the game with a 2-yard TD run.
More importantly, it was the strong finish the Cowboys needed on a slow night against an FCS opponent to open the season at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“That’s one of the areas that really pleased me because we needed it,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “We needed it to generate some power. He made some plays and generated some excitement.
“I could have done it earlier. We had nowhere to run. But she got down to business and got us some juice late.”
Gordon finished with 44 yards and a touchdown on seven carries. Five carries came in the fourth quarter when the game was close. He had two carries in the first quarter but didn’t touch the ball in the second or third quarter.
Gundy said the offensive line was struggling late.
So it’s no surprise that Gordon finally broke loose.
And it’s certainly not surprising to see him pull off a video game move. Last season, he made a devastating turn.
On Saturday night, he felt the central Arkansas defenders coming at him constantly. So, he planned the obstacle at just the right time.
“They think I’m going to keep getting cut,” Gordon said.
So what’s next for Gordon?
“I don’t know yet,” Gordon said. “You just have to keep looking.”
Nathan Latu Good start for the Cowboys
A year ago, defensive end Nathan Latu ranked second on the team with four sacks. But he still had problems with consistency.
His first career start put him on the right track.
Latu had six total tackles and 1.5 sacks, using his 6-foot-4, 265-pound frame to wreak havoc.
“What Gundy is saying is that it just takes effort,” Latu said. “The effort will make up for anything.”
Latu gained valuable experience, although he was frustrated at times.
But now you have your chance.
“He’s unblockable if he doesn’t want to,” said new OSU defensive coordinator Bryan Nardo. “He plays hard. He is motivated. He is a child who must understand that he wants the best for this football team and he wants the best for us, and he wants to succeed. He is very motivated to succeed.”
Brennan Presley started at right at inside receiver. He then got moving, getting between running back Jaden Nixon and Garret Rangel before stopping at running back.
After the snap, Rangel threw a quick, almost backward pass to Presley, who broke free for an 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
A bit of a problem for the Cowboys’ most dynamic playmaker.
In an effort to get more of the ball to Presley, the Cowboys got him moving and lined him up in the backfield.
“I get excited,” Presley said of the backfield lineup. “It was something we talked about. So, it was one of those things where we’re in the red zone and they’re calling my number, so I have to make a play there.”
Presley finished with just one official 5-yard carry on a reverse. He had six receptions for 54 yards, including a 28-yard catch. He also had two kick returns for 25 yards.
Gundy said Presley needs about 12 touches per game.
And he showed that good things happen when he plays more football.
“We can do a lot of things with him and we need to do a lot of things with him,” Gundy said. “We have to be able to use his ability and let him touch the ball. We have several ways to do it. We need to increase it.”
OSU’s Preston Wilson is unavailable
Cowboys starting right guard Preston Wilson he was not dressed for the match due to what was reported on the radio broadcast as “non-football matters”.
Gundy would not elaborate after the game, but did say Wilson was unavailable.
“It’s just between me and him,” Gundy said. “He has no legal problem.”
Wilson, a 6-foot-5, 295-pound redshirt senior, started 10 games last season, mostly at center. He missed three games due to injury.
OSU also was without catcher Cale Cabbiness, who had his right arm in a sling. Offensive lineman Jake Springfield left the game with an ankle injury and at linebacker Justin Wright he was left with an undisclosed injury.
Jacob Unruh covers Oklahoma State track and field for The Oklahoman. Do you have a story idea for Jacob? He can be contacted at email@example.com or on X/Twitter at @jacobunruh. enroll in the oklahoma state cowboys newsletter to access more OSU coverage. Support the work of Jacob and other Oklahoma journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at subscribe.oklahoman.com or using the link at the top of this page.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma State football’s Ollie Gordon causes victory against UCA with hurdles