OSU freshman tries to join school's 1,000 yard club
Friday, November 18, 2005
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State has a legacy of running backs with Terry Miller in the late '70s, Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders in the '80s and more recently Tatum Bell and Vernand Morency.
Now, redshirt freshman Mike Hamilton wants to put his name among the Cowboys' fraternity of 1,000-yard rushers.
That's the same Hamilton who was benched Oct. 22 because he was only able to produce 37 yards on 13 carries at Iowa State.
But that game was a turning point. The next week against second-ranked Texas he amassed a career-high 194 yards on 31 carries, and he followed that with 161 yards and his first touchdown last week against then-No. 13 Texas Tech.
With two games left, Hamilton has a chance to do something that none of Oklahoma State's great backs have done. Not Sanders or Thomas. Not Gerald Hudson or David Thompson. Not Bell, Morency, Miller or even Bob Fenimore way back in the 1940s.
If he gains another 132 yards, Hamilton would be the first back to reach 1,000 yards in his freshman season.
Hamilton has already set Oklahoma State's freshman rushing record with 868 yards on 164 carries. His 83-yard touchdown run against the Red Raiders was the Cowboys' longest running play since 2003 when Bell ran 95 yards for a touchdown against Tech.
"I was really tired after that play because I ran 20 yards sideways then 83 yards down the field," Hamilton said.
Hamilton said that he is being more patient waiting for his blocks. He also is running with more confidence.
On Saturday, he impressed Cowboys coach Mike Gundy when he got 27 stitches during the third quarter to close a gash in his right arm that was six inches long and one inch deep.
"I was nervous, just real nervous 'cause of all that blood. I've never had stitches before," Hamilton said. "I didn't even know I had scratched it. I thought someone else was bleeding."
Trainers took Hamilton to the training room, numbed the arm and then stitched him up, wrapped the arm and sent him out to finish the game.
"I just toughed it up," Hamilton said.
After the game, some of the stitches had to be replaced since they tore out during the game, he said. Gundy said he didn't find out until after the game that Hamilton had been cut.
"They told me later that it was so deep they could see the muscle," Gundy said.
But the pain in Hamilton's arm hasn't diminished his feeling of accomplishment.
"It's just a great feeling to be able to do what I am doing," Hamilton said. "The (offensive) line is doing a great job, anyone can run through the holes they are giving me."
Gundy is encouraged after the last two games.
"He is doing so much better. He has impressed me with his demeanor. We chew on him and he just runs in there and plays hard," he said.
Hamilton's first chance to reach 1,000 yards will come Saturday at Baylor (4-6, 1-6). The Cowboys finish the regular season Nov. 26 at Oklahoma (6-3, 5-1), which has the nation's ninth-best defense against the run.
It would be an unbelievable finish for Hamilton, who came into the season just hoping to get a chance to play.
"It never came to me that I would have 1,000 yards this year," Hamilton said.