By Blake Colston
For Canadian County Newspapers
Josh Fields remembers the play like the back of his hand.
Fields’ game-winning touchdown pass to Rashaun Woods with 1:36 left in the fourth quarter is the signature moment of Oklahoma State’s 16-13 upset of fourth-ranked Oklahoma on Owen Field in 2001.
Everyone on the OSU sideline knew Woods was running a fade route, Fields said, and he knew exactly where the pass was going.
Fields took the snap from under center, dropped back three steps and lofted an on-target throw near the corner of the end zone to Woods, who beat All-American cornerback Derrick Strait for the score.
“Once that play was called, I think everyone had a real good feeling about it,” Fields said. “Which was surprising at that time because we didn’t have a whole lot of real good feelings about certain plays throughout that entire year with our record what it was and everything.”
The play before the touchdown – a 30-yard completion to T.D. Bryant on 3rd-and-7 – was an ad lib effort that kept the rally afloat.
“We didn’t have that one planned out,” Fields said.
Wednesday marks the 20th anniversary of OSU’s victory. Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium, OU and OSU will play the 126th edition of Bedlam football, which could be the last meeting between the schools for the foreseeable future.
The upset and the famous pass will always be indelible Bedlam memories for both sides. Fields, a freshman that season, still answers questions about the game two decades later.
“It’s still fun to talk about and I try to elaborate more and more every single year,” he said. “I make sure the story gets greater and greater.”
The next season, Fields passed for 357 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-28 victory over OU. That win resonates more with Fields today because of the buildup to the game. The Sooners were brash about getting payback and the Cowboys still hammered OU.
“I’ve heard things over the years that we caught them at the right time or that they were overlooking us (in 2001),” Fields said. “We had their attention that second year and we were still able to do what we needed to do to win.”
Life after football
Fields was a star on the football field at OSU. He beat OU twice and nearly won a shootout over Eli Manning’s Ole Miss Rebels in the 2003 Cotton Bowl.
But his professional talent was on the baseball diamond. A power hitting third baseman, Fields batted .364 in three years at Oklahoma State and in 2004 was selected in the first round (18th overall) by the Chicago White Sox.
Fields homered 34 times in the Major Leagues over six seasons and played 40 games in the Nippon Professional League of Japan in 2011.
He faced some of the greatest pitchers of all time, but no one was tougher on him than New York Yankees Hall of Fame closer, Mariano Rivera, Fields said.
“It was the most confusing at-bats I ever had, because I felt like I saw the ball really, really well, yet I continued to miss it every single time,” he said. “Obviously, I wasn’t the only one that happened to. He was something special.”
Life after baseball
Today, Fields is a State Farm Insurance Agent in Kingfisher.
He lives in Kingfisher County with his wife, Ashleigh, a former OSU softball player from Mustang, and their three children, Kaden 12, Jackson 7, and Karleigh 4.
The phrase loyal and true applies to the entire household.
“(The kids) are starting to lock in and understand how we wear orange in our house and what we do and who we follow,” Fields said. “We are glued in weekly.”
All three of the Fields’ kids have the genes to be star athletes, but mom and dad don’t plan to push them too much.
“I want them to play hard and have fun, but my theory is to give them every opportunity you can, but they still, at the end of the day, have to take it over and enjoy it themselves if they’re going to do anything with it.”
As for Saturday’s game, which he plans to attend, Fields is a predicting an Oklahoma State win.
“I really think that it’s going to be somewhere around the 28-17, 28-10 range,” he said. “In favor of the good guys, obviously.”