The 2003 Oklahoma State Cowboys lost three of their four games against ranked opponents. Their one win? Yep, against the future 2003 Big XII Champion Kansas State Wildcats. Sure, the Wildcats won a historically weak Big XII North, but they destroyed the highly-ranked OU Sooners in the title game, making this victory even more unlikely for Les Miles and the Cowboys as OSU lost 52-9 in the Bedlam game.
This game was the ultimate back and forth affair. OSU led 7-0 on a Tatum Bell touchdown capping an 80-yard drive. K-State’s combination of Ell Roberson and Darren Sproles tied it up at seven apiece shortly thereafter.
The second quarter started with K-State driving, but an Ell Roberson pass was intercepted and taken the distance. 14-7 Pokes. Roberson made up for it on the next drive and it was tied at 14. Okie State’s quarterback Josh Fields ended the first half with a 25-yard TD strike to make it 21-14 Cowboys at the break.
Kansas State tied it up midway through the third quarter, but then Fields and Bell got to work. They each played a part in two TDs that put the Cowboys up 35-21 going into the fourth.
Roberson tried to make a game of it, but the spread was too big. A field goal from OSU was enough to secure the win after two Roberson TD passes. Final score: OSU 38, K-State 34.
After that win, Miles and Oklahoma State won two more conference games and peaked at #18 in the polls, Miles’ highest as the coach of the 2003 Cowboys (OSU was ranked #15 for one week in 2004).
That win also secured the Cowboy’s status as a major player in college football, especially after dispatching hated rivals Oklahoma in the previous two seasons. They were awarded a spot in the prestigious Cotton Bowl at the end of the year, and despite a close loss to #16 Ole Miss, the Cowboys and Les Miles were household names.