Carlson: OSU receiver Dillon Stoner had a day at Baylor that's 'like Christmas for him'
Dillon Stoner trotted toward the sideline keeping an eye on the jumbotron, watching a replay of his catch and dive for the goal line.
Did he make it?
When he saw that he hadn’t quite gotten there, he clapped his hands together in frustration. But that disappointment quickly faded, and he broke into a wide grin almost immediately.
It was about the only thing that didn’t go right for the Oklahoma State wide receiver on Saturday.
On an afternoon OSU dominated Baylor 42-3, there was a lot to like if you favor the orange and black. The defense bowed up. Spencer Sanders played smart. The offensive line held firm. The Cowboys finished the regular season strong.
Nothing, though, was any better than Stoner.
Playing the spot normally manned by Tylan Wallace, Stoner posted monster numbers — eight catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns.
“A dream come true for him,” Cowboy offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn said. “Just to see his excitement, you could kind of see it in his eye — he was gonna fight, he was gonna have a really good day — and I’m glad it worked out.”Dunn chuckled.
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“I saw him in the locker room. He’s fired up. I mean, it’s like Christmas for him.”
It wasn’t just Stoner's best day as a Cowboy. It was one of the best ever for an OSU receiver.
Stoner’s 247 receiving yards was the third-best single-game performance in program history. Only Adarius Bowman (300 yards at Kansas, 2006) and James Washington (296 yards vs. Pitt, 2016) had bigger games.
“Just to be in the conversation with those two guys is unbelievable and wild,” Stoner said. “Today was just an absolute blast.”
The fun started quickly.
On the second play of the game, Stoner got by his defender, then had to outrun a couple of Bears to the end zone. He stepped through one final tackle attempt and showed some wheels for a 75-yard touchdown.
On his second score, Stoner was well covered. A Baylor defender was with him step for step and was right in his face in the end zone. But Stoner jumped high and plucked the fade pass out of the air just above the defender’s helmet for a 15-yard score.
Then on Stoner’s third touchdown, he ran a drag route, going from the right to the left side of the field, but after he caught the ball, he was still a 20 or so yards from the end zone. A defender closed, but Stoner stiff armed him for the 40-yard touchdown.
While the touchdowns were the highlights, six of Stoner’s eight catches went for 15 yards or more. Three went for 40 yards or more.
“To have that kind of game as my last game,” the senior said, “is definitely something very special for me.”
It’s impossible not to feel good for Stoner.
He is the consummate team player. He doesn’t seek the spotlight. He does anything that’s asked of him; Dunn said Stoner has played every receiver position down the stretch as others have gotten injured. He loves his teammates, and it is pretty clear they love him back. There were lots of Cowboys quick to celebrate with him every time he scored Saturday.
"Dillon’s been a really good player, a solid player, reliable for us for a number of years," Cowboy coach Mike Gundy said. "With Tylan not available, it’s good that he could step up and make some big plays.”
It’s not the first time Stoner has done that.
Last season during practice before the TCU game, Wallace tore his knee and was done for the season. Stoner moved into his spot, and against the Horned Frogs, he had three catches for 93 yards. Two of those receptions went for touchdowns.
It was a huge boost to the Cowboys.
That’s what Stoner was again Saturday.
To think, he entered the game without a touchdown catch this season, then had three in the first 15:39 of the game.
He almost got a fourth late in the game. Stoner snagged a short screen pass near the sideline and turned up the field. Around the 5-yard line, Baylor’s defenders got to him, but Stoner lunged and stuck the football out toward the goal line.
He was short but not by much. Less than a yard.
“I tried,” he said with a grin. “I tried to stretch as far as I could but just couldn’t come up with it.”
That’s what he saw as he watched the replay on the jumbotron in the stadium. He wanted another touchdown. He couldn’t just turn off that competitiveness. But after the day he had, it was impossible to be disappointed.
Impossible not to smile, too.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok, and support her work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.