Brennan Presley epitomizes the saying, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”
When Presley takes to the field for Oklahoma State, he is typically the smallest Division I player on the gridiron. Though Saturday, Kansas State had a few smaller – such as sophomore tailback Deuce Vaughn, who is listed another two inches shorter than the OSU receiver.
But for the past two weeks, the Bixby native has showcased his fight is far greater than his size.
At Boise State, he found himself the victim of a hit that every football fan watching uttered an “ooh” reserved for bone-rattled blasts by a defender. He got up, eventually shook it off and got back right back to work.
“You saw him get smoked last week and that kid was big old kid from Boise, and he just gets up –was a little woozy but he got back in and started playing football,” Cowboy offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn said Saturday in recalling the hit. “That’s the kind of kid he is, and his family brought him up that way – just hard-nosed people, blue collar people. And for him to come out there and make that play today at that time for us was huge.
“It’s exciting for me to see him bounce back from some of the collisions – took one last one then delivered a couple to get himself into the end zone. Special player.”
On Saturday, with Oklahoma State down early in the first quarter after K-State had just deflated Boone Pickens Stadium with a 99-yard kickoff return, Presley pumped the air back in by showcasing his fight once again.
After hauling in a pass from quarterback Spencer Sanders over the middle, the 5-8, 175-pound (when he’s “wet” according to fellow receiver Tay Martin) looked like he would be stonewalled at the goal line by a trio of Wildcat defenders. He spun out of one would-be tackle right into a thud to the backside of his rib cage – stumbling back a few steps – but corrected himself and fought through two defenders trying to drag him down on the doorstep of the end zone.
However, an alligator roll over the top of one of the defenders on the ground who was wrapped around his waist landed Presley into the end zone.
It was the start of a 24-0 run by the Pokes – ended by a field goal as time expired in the first half to make it 31-13 for Oklahoma State.
“He takes them hits and he just continues going,” said Tay Martin, who returned from injury after missing the past two games. “He’s surprised me a lot because I expect him to come out of the game, but he never does. He works hard for this team, and it shows out there.”
It’s that same toughness that the entire Oklahoma State team has put on display through four games this season.
The offense has had to endure injury, quarantines and scheme changes before the calendar has even been flipped to October. The defense has had to hold steady while the offense tried to get going, all while battling its own rash of injuries – with another happening late in the game with defensive end Brock Martin going down while putting pressure on Kansas State’s second quarterback used in the game.
They aren’t excuses. They are reality.
And the reality is, despite all the things the Cowboys have had to battle through, they find themselves still undefeated and with a valuable Big 12 Conference win.
Like Presley the past two weeks, the Cowboys have been knocked around but have constantly found themselves getting their hand raised at the end of a prize-fight bought.
There are imperfections that need to be cleaned up as they approach the meat of the conference schedule, but they have learned a valuable lesson through the first month of the season. They can win ugly.
And at the end of the day, winning is winning.
Jason Elmquist is sports editor of The Stillwater News Press. He can be contacted at email@example.com.