Cowboys ride into offseason Houston Bowl champs


HOUSTON (AP) -- Rashaun Woods put on another memorable show for
Oklahoma State. The only question left is was it his last.

Woods, considering leaving school early for the NFL, caught nine
passes for 164 yards and a touchdown in a 33-23 victory over
Southern Mississippi in the Houston Bowl on Friday.

"I'll answer that question in the proper time,'' Woods said
when asked about his future.

Woods earned most valuable player and offensive player of the
game honors, helping the Cowboys complete a memorable season that
included victories over Nebraska, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.

"In the second half, they made up their minds they weren't
going to let me do what I did in the first half and that really
opened our running game,'' Woods said. "They wanted to stop the
run and they did a good job of it early. In the fourth quarter we
started to wear them down.''

Tatum Bell ran for 160 yards on 13 carries, including a 22-yard
score with 8:07 to play that gave Oklahoma State the lead for good.

Luke Phillips kicked two of his four field goals in the decisive
fourth quarter for the Cowboys (8-5).

Trailing 20-13 at the half, Southern Miss (7-6) took its only
lead of the game on a 2-yard touchdown run by James Walley and a
30-yard field goal by Curt Jones, his third of the game, in the
third quarter.

The Cowboys pulled even on the first play of the fourth quarter
on Phillips' 28-yard field goal.

Josh Fields threw for 310 yards, and his 33-yard pass to Billy
Bajema set up Bell's go-ahead touchdown, which put Oklahoma State
back in front 30-23.

Following a punt by Southern Mississippi to the Oklahoma State
2, Bell broke off a career-long 88-yard gain to the Golden Eagles

"Before the play started, I was just trying to move us out of
the 2-yard line,'' Bell said. "But when it started, I saw a little
crease and my whole thought process changed. I wanted to take it to
the house.''

Bell didn't get the start because he missed a treatment session
for a hamstring injury. He was ready in the second half, though.

Southern Mississippi linebacker Rod Davis said he was blitzing
on the play.

"That was kind of a backbreaker,'' Davis said. "We had a blitz
coming and where I came from, that's where he went.''

Phillips kicked a 24-yarder with 5:15 to play. He also connected
from 46 and 52 yards.

Woods highlighted Oklahoma State's first half with a 51-yard
touchdown catch from Fields with 1:38 left in the second quarter.

Woods was double-covered on the play, but Southern Mississippi
defenders Greg Brooks and Antoine Cash collided, allowing Woods to
sprint untouched into the end zone.

Woods had his ninth 100-yard receiving game of the season and
joined former Cowboys receiver Hart Lee Dykes as the only receivers
to surpass 3,000 career yards. Woods' touchdown catch was his 17th
of the season.

The Cowboys took a 10-0 lead on Fields' 3-yard touchdown pass to
Mike Denard and Phillips' 46-yard field goal, set up by an
interception by Darrent Williams at the Southern Mississippi 31.

Phillips's 52-yarder in the second quarter tied his career long.

Williams' interception was thrown by Golden Eagles quarterback
Micky D'Angelo, who started the game despite rib injuries. He was
replaced by Dustin Almond, who ran 13 yards for a touchdown in the
second quarter.

The Golden Eagles also played without starting running back
Derrick Nix, whose kidney condition forced him to give up football
last week.

"I think Derrick Nix is a tremendous inspiration to our
football team,'' Southern Mississippi coach Jeff Bower said. "Our
football players wanted to win this game for him. It was a
motivation. The effort was good enough, but we didn't make the

Oklahoma State played in a bowl game for the first time since
the 1997 Alamo Bowl, and won in the postseason for the first time
since Barry Sanders ran for 222 yards and five TDs in a 62-14 win
over Wyoming in the 1988 Holiday Bowl.

"Running the ball was important for us today,'' Cowboys coach
Les Miles said. "Our intensity on defense was a little too much to
start the game. We made some great stops early, but extended the
Southern Miss drives with penalties.''


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