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Cowboys need to be road warriors
OSU's fate rests on how it fares away from home

By Mike Baldwin Published: September 24, 2007
Four games into the season, it's impossible to gauge exactly what kind of football team Oklahoma State will have this season.

Here's what we know so far:

•The Cowboys have looked pretty good at home.

•OSU has played poorly on the road.

•The defense is suspect.

•The offense, when clicking on all cylinders, is capable of winning shootouts.

OSU's thrill-a-minute, 49-45 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday provided much needed momentum and put the Cowboys atop the Big 12 standings for one week.

"It was unbelievable,” said quarterback Zac Robinson. "You go from the highest high, to the lowest low, back to the highest high. There were a lot of ups and downs, but we kept playing, kept fighting.”

The win reaffirmed the Cowboys have enough talent to play in a bowl. But they must play more like the team that outscored Tech 21-10 in the second half.

"This win was huge,” said defensive end Nathan Peterson. "This was the first game of the Big 12. We knew if we wanted to have success down the road with bowls we have to win games like this. You have to win at home.”

Two observations: (1) The offense is capable of putting up big numbers similar to last year. (2) The defense has some major issues after surrendering 718 total yards, the most an OSU defense has allowed in the program's 106-year history.

"We have a lot of things to fix,” said coach Mike Gundy. "One beneficial thing, obviously, was they made plays at the end to stop them when their backs were against the wall.”

That was the encouraging development for a defense that allowed Graham Harrell to throw for 646 yards and five touchdowns.

Looking down the road, pardon the pun, but this season will probably be defined by how OSU plays on the road.

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Oklahoma State's Perrish Cox, left, tries to take down Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree during the second half Saturday. The OSU defense surrendered 718 total yards. by MATT STRASEN, THE OKLAHOMAN

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