PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- Vernand Morency was so worried about
making his new football cleats comfortable that he wore them to bed
on the eve of the game.
The shoes got quite a workout Saturday, when Morency rushed for
261 yards and two touchdowns in Oklahoma State's 31-20 win over
UCLA in both teams' season-opener.
"Last night, I saw Vernand going to bed with his new spikes
on," Oklahoma State coach Les Miles said. "I'm not kidding."
"It's true, I slept in my shoes. I just wanted to break them
in," said Morency, who carried 29 times and scored on runs of 22
yards and 1 yard.
With the Cowboys' ground game clicking, Oklahoma State's Donovan
Woods threw just eight passes in his college debut. The redshirt
freshman completed two passes for 23 yards and ran 15 yards for a
"The veterans made it easy," Woods said. "Vernand is a great
veteran back and he did what I thought he would do.
"I want to be an all-around player, and throwing will come as
the season progresses."
OSU, facing UCLA for just the second time and winning for the
first, did not have a turnover, but recovered two Bruins' fumbles
and intercepted two of Drew Olson's passes.
The Cowboys' veteran offensive line consistently overpowered the
Bruins' young defensive front, so Morency often sprinted through
gaping holes and was untouched until he was already into the
Oklahoma State finished with 426 yards rushing.
"Our game plan was to come out and be very, very physical,"
said Chris Akin, the Cowboys' 6-foot-2, 300-pound center. "It's
great to start the season with a 400-yard game.
"We big guys just let the skinny guys through and they ran
UCLA coach Karl Dorrell noted that some of the Bruins' defensive
linemen were taking a college snap for the first time, adding,
"I'm sure they'll be able to tell some stories about today."
"Defensively, we have to get our young players ready to go,"
Morency, a 5-foot-10, 215-pound junior, topped 200 yards rushing
twice after taking over for the injured Tatum Bell late last
season, gaining 269 yards against Kansas and 227 against Baylor.
Manuel White carried 20 times for 145 yards for the Bruins,
including touchdown runs of 60 and 4 yards.
Olson completed 16-of-36 for 252 yards, but went just 4-for-11
for 78 yards in the second half.
Jamie Thompson stopped a late UCLA drive when he intercepted a
tipped pass deep in Oklahoma State territory, and Vernon Grant made
another interception near midfield in the waning moments.
The Bruins' two interceptions and two lost fumbles were costly.
"Not holding onto the rock is something we have to work on,"
Olson said. "It's definitely not carelessness. Stuff happens.
That's football. If we don't make those four turnovers, who
Oklahoma State held a 28-17 after a busy first half.
In the third quarter, Justin Medlock kicked a 52-yarder for the
Bruins, and Jason Ricks made a 35-yarder for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys scored two of their touchdowns after recovering UCLA
fumbles, and another after the Bruins' Chris Kluwe shanked a punt
that traveled just 25 yards.
Woods scored on a quarterback draw to put the Cowboys up 28-14
with 3:36 left in the half. The TD came after Kluwe's short punt
gave OSU the ball at the UCLA 40.
The Bruins got a field goal as the first half ended, with Olson
engineering an 80-yard drive that culminated in Medlock's 21-yard
The Bruins led briefly when White scored for the second time in
the opening quarter, on a 2-yard run late in the period.
The Cowboys came back to even it 14-14 when Morency bulled over
from the 1-yard line early in the second quarter.
Morency scored on his 22-yard run on the Cowboys' first
possession of the afternoon. The Bruins took the opening kickoff
and were driving, but Craig Bragg fumbled after a reception and
Robert Jones recovered to give the Cowboys the ball at their own
In the only previous meeting, UCLA was a 38-24 winner at
Stillwater in 2002.