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OSU notebook: Where do the Cowboys fit in the national title hunt?

by John Helsley Published: October 15, 2011
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The first BCS standings will be released Sunday night (ESPN, 7:15 p.m.) and unbeaten Oklahoma State figures to play prominently in the picture.

Not that Cowboys coach Mike Gundy is paying attention. Not yet.

“Honestly, I didn't even know it was on. Really,” Gundy said. “I just know that when I go home, my boys usually have that on the TV, and they'll start giving me the information about what's going on.

“As a parent, you know how you kind of listen to 'em, but really, you want to get to something else. I don't like to know what's going on, I just like to coach the guys and get them ready for Missouri.”

Three teams – Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma – are generally considered the frontrunners at this point. Still, many projections place the Cowboys, which won Saturday's game at Texas 38-26, at No. 4.

Gundy's belief: just win.

“We'll have a chance to do whatever we want in the BCS,” he said, “because I would guess that two or three teams in the Big 12 and two or three teams in the SEC will control their own destiny.

“So we just have to do the best we can to keep winning games.”

MOVE THE CHAINS

Of the Cowboys' 13 real drives Saturday, seven times they recorded at least one first down. And five of the seven times they scored.

On the other two, OSU punted once and turned the ball over on downs while running the clock in the final minutes.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden considered it a sign of an off-kilter offensive day that never seemed to feature any real rhythm.

“If you look back, if we got a first down, we either scored or kicked a field goal,” Weeden said. “We've got to get first downs.

“It's just a momentum deal. And it's confidence. That first first down is key for us.”

GOOD/BAD BREAK

With the Cowboys backed up at their own 1-yard line after a goal-line stand by their defense, Weeden stepped over the back line of the end zone for a safety – the lesser of two evils, since he proceeded to throw an interception returned for a would-be touchdown.

A touchdown would have pulled the Horns within 38-31. Instead, the safety was the final points Texas would get.

“It was a rush of emotions,” said Texas safety Blake Gideon, who had the interception runback. “You are thinking the game is turned around and you just scored a touchdown, but you turn around and everybody stops.

“It's one of those deals where it's a game of inches. He stepped out by a couple inches, so it turned out in a positive way for them.”

RETURN TO SENDER

The second half started with each team striking for touchdowns in the opening 24 seconds – on kickoff returns.

Justin Gilbert raced officially 100 yards as the Cowboys received the kickoff to start the half, taking the ball out of the end zone. Moments later, Fozzy Whitaker did the same for the Longhorns.

Did the Cowboys let down?

“I'd like to say we didn't,” Gundy said. “I don't think we did, we just have to get better at it.”

The returns provided a swing both ways.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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