By Jason Elmquist
CNHI News Service
STILLWATER — It’s been two years since the most heart-wrenching loss in the history of the Oklahoma State football program. And Saturday, the Cowboys return to the scene of that devastating loss that ended OSU’s hopes for a berth in the National Championship game.
While some of the personnel has changed since Oklahoma State’s last visit to Ames, Iowa, there are still plenty of Poke players remaining from that fateful Friday night overtime loss to Iowa State.
“On Sunday, I asked the guys to raise their hand if they made that trip two years ago. A lot of seniors made that trip. As much as I tell them that doesn’t play into it, I hope, deep down, they go up there feeling that something was taken from them last time,” defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “That’s not how you prepare to win a game, but as coaches we’re always looking to get an edge and motivate.”
While some players are shrugging off the talk of the 2011 loss, there are plenty of players who still think about what the Cowboys missed out on with that defeat and are looking forward to making amends.
“I couldn’t sleep for a couple of weeks (after that game). Definitely not a great feeling, but that’s why I feel really good about this game, because a lot of these guys were on that team and felt the hurt and how bad of a day that was for us,” OSU senior receiver Tracy Moore said. “We’re ready to come back and make up for it.”
Some players claim the Cowboys already exacted revenge on the Cyclones — in the form of a 31-10 beat down in Boone Pickens Stadium last year. And with that, the notion of needing to get some revenge is no longer lingering.
“I don’t think that we’re looking to get payback — pretty sure we won big last year. So it’s just about going up there and getting a win,” OSU senior offensive lineman Brandon Webb said. “It’s a different mindset, but we know it’s a tough place to play no matter what happens. I think they pride themselves in taking care of their home, just like anybody else should.”
That seems to the consensus with most players that were on the 2011 team.
“You’ve got to put it behind you. It’s been two years, so you’ve got to look forward to now. You’ve got to move at some point,” senior defensive lineman Tyler Johnson said. “Of course you think it about it at times, but it’s a new year.”
What the Cowboys know is they just need to take care of business in Ames. After all, the last game at home for the Cyclones, they nearly beat Texas — falling short 31-30.
“Going in thinking you’re just going to roll over them, college football doesn’t work that way — especially these days,” Moore said. “You can really get beat by anybody, all it takes is a couple of plays, a couple of turnovers and they are right in the game until the end.
“It’s one of those things where we need to come out fast and be more physical and try to finish it early and get them out of the game early, instead of letting them hang around because they will come back to bite you.”