Oklahoma State safety Daytawion Lowe has been an anchor in the Cowboys' defense since his sophomore season. A local product who starred at Midwest City (Okla.) Carl Albert before picking OSU over Oklahoma, Lowe understands the rivalry known as Bedlam better than most. The fifth-year senior talked with ESPN.com about picking the Cowboys over the Sooners, OSU's success during his career and the toughest time of his career.
Coming out of high school you had OSU and OU as options. What did you see that made OSU the spot?
For one thing, I liked the environment when I came down to Stilwater. Two, it had to do with their defense, everyone said they needed help on defense, and as a defensive player I felt I could have a impact on the team because growing up all I heard was they had the offense but didn’t have the defense.
What did people say when you decided to turn down the Sooners to head to Stillwater?
I had a lot of people telling me I needed to be a Sooner because I had a chance to win a national championship. When it came down to it, most of my friends that liked OU, they stayed with me even though they didn’t like it. They encouraged me and were happy that I was able to play at a major college.
When people were saying you should be a Sooner so you could play for a national championship, how did you respond?
I was more like I’m going to take OSU to a national championship. It was crazy (laughing). They didn’t like that. They didn’t agree with that. They weren’t trying to hear that at all. They still aren’t trying to hear it.
It was different for you because you didn’t necessarily grow up an OU fan?
Right. But at the same time, what they [OU] were saying sounded nice, you know? Playing for national championships, playing for that and this, it sounded nice. But at the end of the day I knew I had to go with what made me happy.
How seriously did you consider OU?
They were up there for a minute until I realized I wasn’t trying to go there. I really thought about it, when I went down there and they offered me, I really started thinking ‘Dang, they really want me, too.’ I didn’t want to go to OSU because I like them and I didn’t want to go to OU because people wanted me to. I had to go with what was best for me.
Moving onto your career with the Cowboys, at what point did you realize some of this success was within reach? Playing for conference championships, etc.
Sophomore year. The year we won a Big 12 championship, that was a special year for me. It opened up my eyes that we had the talent to go wherever we wanted to go.
What was the toughest time of your career?
My sophomore year when I got hurt and had to redshirt (Lowe missed his sophomore year due to a shoulder injury). That was my first year not getting to play football, it was tough on me.
What was the toughest part and how did you get over it?
The toughest part was not being able to play, going to a game and seeing my team play and not being able to put my imprint on the game. My mom and my family stayed with me and prayed with me. They made sure I didn’t get down on myself and kept working so when I came back I would be better.
Is there any memory that stands out for you?
Right now, winning the Fiesta Bowl and beating OU for the Big 12 championship.
Anything particular in those two games?
The fact I had never been on a stage that big. I always grew up wanting to play in Bedlam and win a Big 12 championship. The atmosphere, the enthusiasm, the hype, everything.
How much do you feel like your experience has helped you?
The togetherness, the commitment, the wanting to win, doing whatever it takes, I think we have instilled that into the team. Our senior leaders took over with that and we really made it happen. A prime example of playing together and with each other.
Did winning the Fiesta Bowl create a mentality that allows you to be focused and calm in big games?
That comes along with having a lot of seniors that have played in big games. Being there before, we know what it takes. I wasn’t as comfortable my sophomore year as I am now playing in big games.