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OSU football: Chuba Hubbard's special 2,000-yard season will outlast frustration of Texas Bowl loss

Related coverage: OSU vs. Texas A&M

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HOUSTON — Walking toward the tunnel to leave the field after Oklahoma State’s 24-21 loss to Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl on Friday night, Chuba Hubbard raised his hand toward the fans in orange.

Finger up, thumb out.

Pistols firing, from Canada’s Cowboy. Perhaps for the last time.

“It was just to say thanks to the fans,” Hubbard said of the gesture. “I’m happy to be a Cowboy. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. So I’m thankful for everyone that supports us and that showed up and watched us.”

Hubbard rushed for 158 yards inside the opulent NRG Stadium, home to an NFL team and the type of facility Hubbard one day will be playing in regularly on Sundays.

Whether it’s a year from now, or two, is still unknown.

As the redshirt sophomore answered questions about his looming NFL decision, he was graceful, but guarded.

What we know is Hubbard finished off the 18th-best rushing season in college football history, totaling 2,094 yards in 13 games. In 12 of those games, he rushed for over 100 yards.

Historically, the Texas Bowl loss will be remembered as the game when Hubbard became the second OSU player in history to rush for over 2,000 yards, a mark he crossed with a 16-yard carry in the second quarter.

In the short term, the loss will sting.

After two first-quarter touchdowns, the 25th-ranked Cowboys looked ready to roll over Texas A&M. But the offense went dry and the defense gave up a few too many big plays to hold a lead for so long.

Finally, with OSU trailing 24-14, Hubbard lit a spark on a touchdown drive in the final minutes that gave the Cowboys a shot at an onside kick to try to finish the rally.

“The second and third possession, I’m feeling pretty good about the direction of the game,” OSU offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson said. “Then we have a couple things slip through our fingers there. I thought we could have opened it up at that point in the game and made them play from behind a little bit more.

“It turned into a nitty-gritty football game and we came up on the short end of it.”

Dru Brown, who took all but three snaps at quarterback, with Spencer Sanders still not fully healthy from November thumb surgery, completed 15 of 28 passes for 184 yards, but was sacked four times. Braydon Johnson had five receptions for 124 yards and two touchdowns.

And Oklahoma State kicker Matt Ammendola missed two field goals, from 46 and 53 yards.

OSU’s final record of 8-5 will be viewed differently based on perspective. But from where the Cowboys were in the middle of October, with a 4-3 record coming off two frustrating losses, it was a strong rebound to leave the program on good footing for next season.

Sometime in January, Hubbard will let the world know if he’ll be part of that team, or off to the NFL.

Either way, he left his mark on the Cowboy football program. Just as it did on him.

“I made a lot of bonds with these guys,” Hubbard said. “Relationships outlast a lifetime. Two-thousand yards is just a number, but you know, those friendships and bonds I made will last forever.”

Related Photos
<strong>Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, foreground, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, right, meet after the Texas Bowl on Friday. [AP Photo/Michael Wyke]</strong>

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, foreground, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, right, meet after the Texas Bowl on Friday. [AP Photo/Michael Wyke]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-bce7e5fc043e4baa5d85f2ffb9b92d27.jpg" alt="Photo - Texas A&amp;M coach Jimbo Fisher, foreground, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, right, meet after the Texas Bowl on Friday. [AP Photo/Michael Wyke] " title=" Texas A&amp;M coach Jimbo Fisher, foreground, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, right, meet after the Texas Bowl on Friday. [AP Photo/Michael Wyke] "><figcaption> Texas A&amp;M coach Jimbo Fisher, foreground, and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, right, meet after the Texas Bowl on Friday. [AP Photo/Michael Wyke] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9ba7338c62f5f9cdf2bf61b0924c39a7.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (30) is caught by Texas A&amp;M defensive back Leon O'Neal Jr. (9) during the first half Friday in Houston. [AP Photo/Michael Wyke] " title=" Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (30) is caught by Texas A&amp;M defensive back Leon O'Neal Jr. (9) during the first half Friday in Houston. [AP Photo/Michael Wyke] "><figcaption> Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (30) is caught by Texas A&amp;M defensive back Leon O'Neal Jr. (9) during the first half Friday in Houston. [AP Photo/Michael Wyke] </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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