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Beating Tulsa didn't prepare Oklahoma State for Texas A&M

COMMENTARY – The Oklahoma State Cowboys posted their third straight comfortable win, routing Tulsa 59-33 early Sunday morning. None of those games prepared them for what the face next Saturday in College Station.
BY JOHN HELSLEY Modified: September 18, 2011 at 3:46 pm •  Published: September 18, 2011

Now it's on, for real.

Sept. 24 has always been the jumping off date to Oklahoma State's schedule.

At Texas A&M, almost assuredly for the last time under the flag of the Big 12, we'll find out if the Cowboys are legitimately in the national title chase.

While College Station won't be the last rough patch of road on the path to unchartered territory, it will be a significant and revealing checkpoint.

Lafayette, Arizona and Tulsa served their purpose in the season's opening three weeks. Those games provided a platform for new offensive coordinator Todd Monken to gain comfort at the controls. Allowed Joseph Randle traction to confirm he's fit to follow Kendall Hunter in the feature-back role, and oh by the way, did he ever. Suggested that this Cowboys defense just might be able to get off the field in key situations.

And delivered three comfortable wins.

But these games weren't big-boy ball, not like A&M will be.

The Cowboys routed Tulsa 59-33, with any possibility for drama doused when TU quarterback G.J. Kinne got knocked out of the game in the first quarter.

That followed the real drama – would the game even be played, with storms and lightning causing a 3-hour delay and sending an already late kickoff into Sunday, at 12:16 officially? It's not every day/night/morning when the local bars shut down before halftime.

But on the field, it was more of the same for OSU: a monster day for Randle (128 yards, three touchdowns); an expanding list of Cowboys reaching the end zone, with Hubert Anyiam and Justin Gilbert becoming the eighth and ninth Pokes to score TDs this season; another uptick on the career stock watch for Mike Gundy, who secured coaching win No. 50 at his alma mater.

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