7:00 PM ET, September 20, 2003
Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
DALLAS (AP) -- The first touchdown catch Oklahoma State's Rashaun Woods made Saturday night was on a lob in coverage. The next two came with a cornerback whacking him.
Defenders were hard to find on the two after that as Southern Methodist actually expected handoffs.
Rashaun Woods had plenty to smile about after his seven-TD day.
Then, it was halftime.
Woods came back out eyeing a Division I-A record that had stood for 34 years. He matched it early in the third quarter with his sixth touchdown grab and broke it later in the period as the Cowboys beat the Mustangs 52-6.
"Coach (Les) Miles came to me and said, `Great first half, you ready to do it again?" Woods said. "He kept me in and I got the record."
Woods scored from 2, 10, 25, 32 and 34 yards by halftime, with three coming on consecutive snaps. Miles told him he could have two more possessions in the second half to try getting in the record book.
He caught a 5-yarder on the first drive, tying the D-I record set by Tim Delaney of San Diego State against New Mexico State in 1969.
On the second series, Woods caught an 11-yarder for sole possession of the mark. He went to the bench for good with career highs of 13 catches and 232 yards.
"It's truly a blessing," said Woods, who took potassium pills and lots of water to help battle problems with humidity. "I can't say I came out there thinking about (seven TD catches). I didn't know about the record. I'm very thankful."
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Woods also set the single-game school record for scores of any kind. His first TD catch was the 30th of his career, another school record and the Big 12 mark, too. He's already the school's leader in yards receiving.
"He's a load," said SMU coach Phil Bennett. "He made several of his catches in zone and double coverage. He's just a great receiver. If a ball is in his vicinity, he's going to catch it."
Josh Fields, who was just lobbing the ball into the end zone on most of the scores, tied the Big 12 record with seven TD passes. He finished 17-of-27 for 265 yards; only four catches for 33 yards were not by Woods.
"The natural flow of the game dictated that we throw," Miles said. "He has a knack for playing the ball. He has great hands."
Woods fell one TD shy of the NCAA all-division record of eight TD catches set by Paul Zaeske of Division II North Park in 1968.
To put seven TD grabs in perspective, consider that if it was Woods' season total, it would be tied for fifth-best in school history. He had two coming in, so at nine he's already up to No. 4 on the list this season.
Woods, a senior, has been a top receiving threat since he was a sophomore. He, Fields and Tatum Bell were considered such an impressive trio that Oklahoma State was No. 24 in the preseason poll.
A season-opening loss to Nebraska knocked out the Cowboys (3-1), but their stars have shined lately; Bell had four rushing TDs last week.
This game was Woods' from the start.
Fields went deep to him four times on the first drive, but they didn't connect. One ball hit Woods in the hands. He had several other drops early.
"I got off to a rough start," he said. "At the same time, you're going to have days like that, no matter who you are. You just have to realize, hey, come back and do better next time."
He got rolling with the 2-yard TD. The second and third TDs came despite being interfered with by cornerback Jonas Rutledge, who was burned on most of the scores.
The fourth and fifth were the easiest as the defense was sucked in by play action. On the fifth, the Cowboys were facing third-and-1 and the Mustangs were so convinced of a run that they were bunched at the line.
He set up the sixth with a nice 30-yard catch on the Cowboys' first play of the third quarter, then set up the seventh with his best catch of the game, a 49-yarder between two defenders.
The Mustangs' defense wasn't the only unit that got overwhelmed.
Richard Bartel threw an interception on his first snap and was benched in the second quarter after completing one pass for minus-1 yard. SMU (0-3) didn't get a first down until the Cowboys were penalized 15 yards for facemaking midway through the second quarter.
The Mustangs finally earned one on a 21-yard pass to Keylon Kincade with 3:36 left in the first half.
That drive ended with consecutive sacks. After the second, quarterback Tate Wallis slammed the ball down. Rather than penalize the outburst, an official sympathetically patted him on the back.
SMU crossed midfield for the first time in the third quarter, and scored on the drive -- how else? -- with a 5-yard TD pass from Wallis to Matt Rushbrook. A 2-point try failed.