Each time Anderson crossed the goal line, he focused on the same spot in the crowd.
“My little boy, my girlfriend and my little sister were kind of sitting in that end zone,” Anderson said. “I was just happy to go down there and point at them – show them my love for being down here and supporting me.”
That family support helped fuel Anderson to a phenomenal Senior Day performance. On just four catches, he amassed a game-high 174 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
“If you get him in clean space, he’s a guy that can threaten you deep,” offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. “We’ve known that. It just hasn’t worked out sometimes.”
In an offense that seems to shuffle explosive offensive playmakers week-to-week, Anderson was the latest breakout star. But don’t toss it all up to luck and circumstance. His performance is the product of rehabilitation after a hand injury against Arizona that kept him sidelined for three games.
Anderson still remembers seeing his injury for the first time when he took off his glove: “I saw things I shouldn’t have been able to see,” he said.
But more than anything, the key to his return wasn’t based on his hand – that would heal. Fixing his mind was the biggest challenge.
“It was a long process,” Anderson said. “Having a cast on my hand and trying to catch balls and stuff, then having to go through a game with it on, it was awkward to deal with … It’s been a mental process that I’ve had to push through.”
It seemed as if those wounds weren’t completely healed in the opening quarter on Saturday. On the Cowboys’ first drive, he dropped a wide-open touchdown in the end zone from OSU quarterback Clint Chelf.
“The first one, I got excited, saw the end zone and just kind of mis-timed it a little bit,” Anderson said. “I just kept my head up throughout the whole thing, came back and made a few plays.”
Anderson found three times as much redemption in the second quarter. The first touchdown came on a 60-yard post route to the end zone. The second on a 33-yard flea flicker. The third on a 66-yard bomb from Chelf. Anderson only caught one pass that didn’t result in a touchdown.
Before Saturday, his best-game yardage mark was 64. To break that during his last game at Boone Pickens Stadium? It’s a memory Anderson won’t soon forget, especially with so much family in the crowd.
"My family has been with me through thick and thin through my whole career,” Anderson said. “To have this kind of day in front of them was a blast … I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out.”