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OSU notebook: Cowboys prepared for top 5 ranking

BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Modified: September 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm •  Published: September 25, 2011
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The last time Oklahoma State was ranked in the top 5 in The Associated Press poll, things did not go so well.

Houston upset the Cowboys 45-35 on Sept. 12, 2009, and OSU has not climbed that high in the polls since.

Until Sunday.

After Saturday's thrilling 30-29 road victory against then-No. 8 Texas A&M, OSU jumped ahead of Stanford and Wisconsin and landed at No. 5 in rankings.

OSU coach Mike Gundy expects his team to be better prepared to handle the high spot in the polls this time around.

“We've learned as we've gone through this, and we should be better than we were the last time,” Gundy said. “Hopefully, what it comes down to is your preparation on your Sunday through Thursday. And your mental adjustments on Friday and Saturday before the game have to be good each week, or you take a chance on losing.

“I'd like to think that people have a better feel for how to handle it, and our approach is from a businesslike manner.”

OSU has been ranked in the top 5 three other times in school history — twice in 1984 and once in 1985. The Cowboys have a record of 1-3 as a top-5 team, with the last win coming against Iowa State in 1984.

LB JOHNSON CLOSE TO RETURNING

Linebacker Tyler Johnson, who has not played yet this season because of a sprained knee, returned to practice last week and could be back for the Kansas game, Gundy said Sunday.

“He should get better as we go,” Gundy said. “He should really be up and running pretty good by the Kansas game.”

Johnson had been battling Caleb Lavey for the starting middle linebacker spot during the preseason before having his knee scoped. Lavey has started all four games for the Cowboys and has 21 tackles so far this season.

“Caleb's played OK,” Gundy said. “He's been out there. He hasn't been a guy that's shown up a lot, but he's been in the right spots and he's learning on the run.”

OFFENSIVE LINE TO SHUFFLE WITHOUT RUSH

Gundy had an easy answer when asked who will replace Devin Hedgepeth, who suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon Saturday, as the Cowboys' third cornerback. That job now belongs to junior Andrae May.

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