STILWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State can put points on the board.
Heading into their Big 12 showdown at Boone Pickens Stadium Saturday, the Cowboys ranked seventh in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 37.4 points per game.
Kansas State, Kansas and Texas A&M did little to slow the OSU attack in the first three weeks of conference play.
In week four, neither did the Huskers.
Despite getting a 16-point head start, NU couldn't contain the Cowboy attack, which ran wild after a three-and-out and two turnovers in its first three possessions.
Okie State's offense burned the Blackshirts to a tune of 496 total yards and five touchdowns in its 41-29 win over Nebraska. And it did it without doing anything special.
"They didn't come out and run the triple option or anything," Nebraska defensive end Adam Carriker said. "We just didn't play very well. I have to give them credit. They have a good team and had a good gameplan. We just didn't play well."
Well, Carriker did for a while, posting two sacks, three tackles for losses and a blocked kick in his best effort of the season.
But he got very little help.
The Huskers gave up big play after big play to OSU quarterback Bobby Reid, whose team stormed back from an early deficit to pick up its most impressive win of the season.
Reid's 56-yard run set up the Cowboys' first score midway through the second period. His 45-yard touchdown pass to Adarius Bowman came one play after Nebraska had extended its lead to 23-13 in the closing seconds of the first half. And his 55-yard toss down the sideline to D'Juan Woods on the first play of the fourth quarter came one play before Dantrell Savage's 20-yard TD run that put Oklahoma State on top for good.
"We knew they were good," said NU cornerback Andre Jones, who was beaten on the long pass to Woods. "They have athletes on their team. My hat goes off to their offense. They just played great."
Okie State's offense had just 27 total yards in the first quarter, then racked up 476 from that point on.
For the last three quarters, Nebraska's corners were getting beat, its safeties were out of position and its linebacking corps was noticeably silent.
"This is not normally how we play," Jones said. "They just kind of broke loose a little bit. That shouldn't have happened."
But it did. And all of a sudden, Nebraska's defense has gone from drawing heavy praise for its play on the road at Iowa State and Kansas State and at home against No. 5 Texas in the last three weeks to the scratch-your-head-with-bewilderment crew that was torched by Kansas in late September.
Nebraska won that shootout in Lincoln. But it couldn't slow down the Cowboys enough on Saturday.
"You've got to give Oklahoma State a lot of credit for their play today," NU coach Bill Callahan said. "They were outstanding in the second half. They've been an outstanding second half team. We just didn't respond and make the plays we needed to make in the second half. Give them credit. They're a fine football team and deserved to win."