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Nebraska is the latest opportunity for the Cowboys to break the cycle of heartbreak

By Mike Baldwin Published: October 13, 2007
Snake bit? Jinxed? Can't win on the road?

Joel Fish, a renowned sports psychologist, said it's paramount coaches and athletes facing negative hurdles must maintain a positive outlook.

"Step one is to be honest about the pattern you're struggling with,” Fish said. "Usually there are one or two key moments that decide the outcome.”

Oklahoma State fans can site numerous key moments over the years. A 1-11 road record under coach Mike Gundy goes beyond losses. It's how the Cowboys lose that's maddening.

Last year they blew a 17-point lead at Texas Tech. They led Kansas State by 11 points but surrendered two touchdowns the final 3:04. OSU lost in overtime to Texas A&M on a blocked extra point.

The late-game collapse trend continued last week. The Cowboys lost again to Texas A&M again after leading 17-0 at halftime.

Fish, the director of Center for Sports Psychology in Philadelphia, has given advise to coaches and athletes for 20 years.

"It's a matter of helping your team understand that if they trust in the game plan, ‘Today will be our day,' ” Fish said. "If you're prepared for those one or two key moments you feel more in control.”

Gundy refuses to dwell on negatives.

"We closed one out two weeks ago,” Gundy said. "And obviously we closed one out in the bowl game.”

But those weren't true road games.

"It's a matter of a coach making a great call or a player stepping up and making a play,” Gundy said. "There's really not an explanation for it other than that.”

Fish said Gundy is taking the right approach.

"Athletes and coaches must emphasize what they can control,” Fish said.

Continue reading this story on the...

OSU fan Danielle Brawner hides her head during second half action during the Cowboys' loss at Troy earlier this season. OSU is 1-11 under coach Mike Gundy on the road. BY STEVE SISNEY, THE OKLAHOMAN


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