NORMAN — Oklahoma State's regular season ended like it began. The Cowboys got mashed up front by a much more physical opponent. The 2007 campaign commenced with a 35-14 loss at No. 13 Georgia, and continued Saturday afternoon with a 49-17 loss at No. 10 Oklahoma. Things seemed fine in the beginning of both games for OSU, but quickly unraveled after some old-fashioned, smash-mouth football played by the other guys. Cowboys coach Mike Gundy feared the worst up front this season, and those fears soon became a nightmare. "This one's pretty easy to explain," Gundy said after being disposed by the Sooners. "We're not physical enough up front ... They lined up and ran the ball right down our throat (for 307 yards). We weren't physical enough nor tough enough up front to slow them down." Never was the front-line mismatch more evident than on OSU's third possession. Trailing 21-7, the Cowboys had a first-and-goal at the OU 1-yard line. Two straight handoffs to 230-pound fullback Julius Crosslin in the "Jumbo" package resulted in no yardage. A third-down keeper by quarterback Zac Robinson did the same. On fourth-and-goal at the 1, Robinson faked an inside handoff and was all by his lonesome as he rolled to his right. Robinson fought for yardage and held the ball out front as if he were trying to fingertip roll a basketball over the rim. He lost control of the ball just as it was about to cross the goal line. OU strong safety D.J. Wolfe picked up the ball and returned it to the 13. "I called it the first time, the second time, the third call and the fourth call," OSU offensive coordinator Larry Fedora said of his play selection. "I thought every one of them would get in." Had Robinson scored, the Cowboys would have pulled to within 21-14 with 6:25 left in the second quarter. Instead, there wound up being a 14-point swing as the Sooners methodically marched 87 yards in 11 plays to make the score 28-7. "It was huge," OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables said of his team's goal-line stand. "What a lot of fun that was. That's what you stand for as a defense, in philosophy and toughness as a football team. You want all your players to rise up when your back's against the wall. We put ourselves there in the first place. "Hell of a job. Just a fabulous job of 11 guys collectively refusing to give in." Failing to score in the middle of the second quarter didn’t cost OSU the game, but it could have kept things interesting for a while longer. Life got a whole lot easier for the Sooners with a 21-point lead. The bigger your lead, the easier it becomes to call plays — offensively and defensively. The next time the Cowboys' offense was in a goal-line situation, they were in a spread formation and found paydirt in one play when tailback Dantrell Savage scored standing up from 6 yards out. "You only had to slap me upside the head once," Gundy said of not going Jumbo again. "I'm not going to go in there and do it again, that's why we spread them out." OSU's lack of size has been a problem all season, not just Saturday. Gundy repeatedly has preached this. Half the time, the Cowboys were able to overcome these shortcomings. Half the time, they weren't. This explains their 6-6 record heading into the postseason bowl game. So when a team is physically outmatched up front like OSU, what needs to click for that team to be successful? "You always have to have a very good plan, and then you have to use a lot of movement," Gundy explained. "What happens is when you use movement and try to stunt and hit gaps, if you guess the wrong way, you fail to get a good push. "You have to guess right, or it makes it more difficult for us to play them straight ahead." In other words, the bully on the beach kicks sand in your face. To correct this, you work hard, get bigger and stronger, and then return to settle the score. That's what the Cowboys need to do next season. They need to come back bigger, stronger and better. Or they'll continue to get mashed by the big, bad bullies on the block. John Rohde: 475-3099, firstname.lastname@example.org; John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 9-11 a.m. on New JOX 930 (AM).