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OSU football journal: Jason Taylor shines in first career start

Related coverage: OSU vs. Texas A&M

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HOUSTON — With Kolby Harvell-Peel sidelined by a knee injury and Tre Sterling serving a first-half suspension, redshirt freshman safety Jason Taylor II made his first career start Friday in the Cowboys’ 24-21 loss to Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium.

Taylor took advantage of the action with six first-half tackles, tied for the team lead before Sterling returned to the game at the start of the third quarter. He was out for the first half from a targeting penalty late in OSU’s Bedlam loss.

Rotating in during the second half, Taylor finished with eight tackles, including one for loss.

Sophomore Tanner McCalister started in place of Harvell-Peel, and had four tackles.

Additionally, OSU got a couple of redshirting freshmen into action. Linebackers Kamryn Farrar and Na’drian Dizadare played on special teams. It was the second game each player had appeared in this season.

Another redshirting player, junior running back Dezmon Jackson, played on the kickoff return team.

Spencer Sanders plays, but sparingly

Perhaps Spencer Sanders’ surgically repaired thumb was not as healthy as OSU coach Mike Gundy portrayed.

Gundy said 10 days before the game that both quarterbacks, Sanders and Dru Brown, would play Friday, but Brown got the start and took nearly every snap.

Sanders entered only a few times, in short-yardage situations, with little success.

Sanders, who had surgery on his throwing hand in mid-November, ran for no gain on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter with the Cowboys trailing 21-14.

Brown got off to a strong start, leading two touchdown drives in the first quarter, but the offense was hot and cold from there.

Special teams struggles haunt Cowboys

Two missed field goals, two poor punts, and a bad decision to run a kickoff out of the end zone lingered on a frustrating night for the Cowboys.

Matt Ammendola missed his only two field goal attempts, coming up short from 53 yards and pulling a 46-yarder wide left.

Two of Tom Hutton’s five punts were under 35 yards.

In the fourth quarter, Braydon Johnson caught a kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and took a couple of steps before trying to stop and down the ball. But he had stepped across the goal line, and had to run it out anyway.

The short return was hurt even more by a block in the back that put OSU inside its 3-yard-line to start the drive.

DeLoss Dodds, Houston stars honored with Gridiron Legends

NRG Stadium wasn’t the location you expected to see fans showing the Horns Down hand gesture, but the pregame recognition of Gridiron Legends drew such a reaction.

Aside from beloved local stars like former University of Houston quarterback David Klingler and former Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson, former University of Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds was honored.

Some Texas A&M faithful raised their hands in displeasure for the man who was so influential at their school’s arch-rival. Dodds was a central figure during Big 12 Conference realignment that resulted in A&M leaving for the SEC.

A&M was represented in the class with former offensive lineman Richmond Webb.

The rest of the Gridiron Legends class of honorees included Jarrett Dillard, who played receiver at Rice, and Ray Seals, a longtime high school coach in the Houston public school district.

Protestors get on field

Two protestors wearing black shirts and carrying signs that read “Texas A&M stop cruel dog tests” ran onto the field during a stoppage early in the first quarter.

First, a female entered the field in the end zone, and would not leave the field when corralled by security, which had to drag her off the turf.

As that was happening, the second protestor ran to the middle of the field. He was soon surrounded by security and cooperated as he was escorted off the field.

Related Photos
<strong>Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) is tackled by Oklahoma State safety Jason Taylor II (25) in the second quarter at NRG Stadium on Friday. [Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports]</strong>

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) is tackled by Oklahoma State safety Jason Taylor II (25) in the second quarter at NRG Stadium on Friday. [Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-e11b6a43affe997aef7a826eee1e1597.jpg" alt="Photo - Texas A&amp;M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) is tackled by Oklahoma State safety Jason Taylor II (25) in the second quarter at NRG Stadium on Friday. [Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports] " title=" Texas A&amp;M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) is tackled by Oklahoma State safety Jason Taylor II (25) in the second quarter at NRG Stadium on Friday. [Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports] "><figcaption> Texas A&amp;M quarterback Kellen Mond (11) is tackled by Oklahoma State safety Jason Taylor II (25) in the second quarter at NRG Stadium on Friday. [Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports] </figcaption></figure>
Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›

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