12:30 PM ET, November 22, 2003
Floyd Casey Stadium, Waco, TX
WACO, Texas (AP) -- Oklahoma State will soon have to bid farewell to the best receiver in school history. But the Cowboys may have found their next great tailback.
Vernand Morency ran for 227 yards on 32 carries, his second straight 200-yard yard game filling in for injured Big 12 rushing leader Tatum Bell, to lead the No. 24 Cowboys to a 38-21 win Saturday at Baylor.
The sophomore had a 35-yard touchdown and set up another score with a 72-yard run.
"We're fortunate to have depth at tailback," Cowboys coach Les Miles said.
With Bell and Seymore Shaw both injured, Morency also ran for 269 yards and three touchdowns against Kansas a week ago. David Thompson in 1996 was the last runner with consecutive 200-yard games for Oklahoma State, which has produced NFL greats such as Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas.
Oklahoma State matched a school record with its ninth win in the regular season. The Cowboys have done that four other times, the last in 1988.
"We can't wait for a bowl game," Morency said. "We got our nine wins, we did our job."
If No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 7 Texas both get into the Bowl Championship Series, Oklahoma State is a top contender to play in its second Cotton Bowl (the other was in 1944).
"It was a real challenge in less than ideal conditions," Miles said. "The players stepped up. It was an important win. We look forward to our bowl game, and we'd like to stay in Texas."
Baylor (3-9, 1-7) ended its first season under coach Guy Morriss with its seventh straight loss.
"They are still learning. This is all part of the learning process," Morriss said.
The game was tied at 7-all until Josh Fields threw touchdown passes on consecutive drives in the second quarter. The second was a timing pass to Woods for a 16-yard TD to cap a 92-yard drive with 1:48 left in the half.
On a day when the wind was steady at 25 mph with higher gusts, Fields was just 11 of 22 for 180 yards. But both of his TD passes were into the wind. Woods had at least two catches for the 43rd straight game.
"It was the craziest wind I've ever played in," Fields said. "We still passed when we wanted to and ran when we wanted to. The only thing we couldn't do was the fade because the ball would hang up there."
Morency set up Fields' first TD with his 72-yard run, breaking a tackle at the line and eluding defenders with nifty moves before being run out of bounds at the 11. After Fields tried twice to throw to Woods, he found Billy Bajema for the go-ahead touchdown.
The Cowboys got the ball back after Daniel Sepulveda's wind-aided 62-yard punt, which landed out of bounds at the 8. Four plays later, Woods made an incredible one-handed catch near midfield, turning around and grabbing the ball with his outstretched right hand along the sideline.
"I just reacted and went for it, and got it," said Woods, who finished the regular season with 66 catches for 1,144 yards and 14 TDs.
Morency's 35-yard TD run in the fourth quarter capped the scoring.
Oklahoma State had a quick 7-0 lead, having to go just 24 yards on its first drive after Gabe Lindsay's 45-yard punt return. After Morency slipped for a loss on his first carry, Woods had a 23-yard catch to set up Willis' 2-yard TD.
Willis' second TD, early in the fourth quarter after Woods' 30-yard catch, gave the Cowboys a 31-21 lead.
Baylor tied the game at 7-all in the first quarter after John Garrett sacked Fields and forced a fumble. The ball rolled 10 yards downfield to Willie Andrews, who scooped it up and ran 30 yards for the TD.
Bell, in his second game replacing junior Aaron Karas as Baylor's starter, completed 21 of 33 passes for 219 yards.
"He played like he did last week, with a lot of confidence," Morriss said. "The starting job is his to lose in the spring."
Luke Phillips' 26-yard field goal to cap the opening second-half drive for Oklahoma State, which has beaten Baylor eight straight times.