STILLWATER — Tracy Moore and his bum foot didn't make the trip to Manhattan, Kan., last November, instead leaving Moore to watch Oklahoma State's game at No. 3 Kansas State from his parents' house in Tulsa.
And oh, how that hurt; not the foot, but the outcome.
“It's really difficult, going back and watching the game and thinking about it,” Moore said. “It was a pretty good game. We hung in there. But just knowing that you could have made that little bit of difference that could have pushed them over the edge is tough.
“Especially how (good) of a team that K-State was and how highly ranked they were. I felt like that was a good chance for our guys to get out and make an impact on the league.”
And an impact on the Cowboys, whose 44-30 setback instead stamped a third loss on the season and all but signaled the end of their hopes of repeating as Big 12 champions.
Lately, OSU's games with K-State have seemed to regularly carry increased impact for the Cowboys, often even serving as a barometer to their seasons. Saturday, when the Wildcats visit Boone Pickens Stadium with OSU coming off a loss, the matchup again sets up as another potentially defining moment.
“It's definitely important,” Moore said, “especially when everybody's questioning how good we really are and stuff like that. It's good to come out and show people.”
K-State has proved to be a show-me game for the Cowboys, with many of the outcomes sticking out from the rest as significant, if not turning points.
A year ago, with the Cowboys trying to remain relevant in the Big 12, quarterback Wes Lunt was knocked out — resulting in the coming-out party for Clint Chelf — and the team was knocked back to the pack with the loss.
During OSU's record-setting 2011 season, the Cowboys had to withstand a furious Wildcats rally to hold on 52-45 in Stillwater. Joe Randle's tiebreaking, 23-yard touchdown run with 2:16 left clinched it, when a loss would have prevented OSU from claiming its first outright Big 12 title.