MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 20, 2011

Oklahoma State won't dwell on loss

By Chris Day
CNHI

— STILLLWATER –  The Oklahoma State football team won’t dwell on its 37-31 double overtime loss to Iowa State just like it moved past the previous 10 wins, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Sunday night.

The Cowboys locker room was unsettled after Friday night’s loss, Gundy said. This bunch of Pokes is used to winning. They are 29-6 this season and the previous two.

“They are not used to losing. They’ve become winners. It’s hard for them to take losses. That’s the way you want it to be,” Gundy said.

The stakes get higher when a program wins games, he said.

The stakes remain high for this Oklahoma State football team.

The Cowboys fell from No. 2 to  No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, but just dropped two spots in the BCS Standings.

The Pokes are now No. 4 behind three Southeastern Conference schools — Louisiana State, Alabama and Arkansas. LSU and Arkansas face off Friday night. Alabama tangles with Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Saturday. And the LSU-Arkansas winner must play Georgia in the SEC title game on Dec. 3.

There’s a whole lot of shakin’ out left in this season.

OSU could climb back into the national title race with a win over an 8-2 Oklahoma team on Dec. 3.

The computer rankings put Oklahoma State at No. 4 in the BCS. The Pokes are ranked No. 2 by four of six computer services. They are No. 3 in the other two.

“It’s been a roller coaster for everybody,” Gundy said. “I’d mentioned maybe six weeks ago that a coach’s biggest concern is his players not performing to the highest level on a Saturday and not being able to find a way to win.”

The Friday and Saturday losses prove parity exists in college football, Gundy said.

“You just never know what to expect anymore with what happens every Saturday,” he said.

Oklahoma State doesn’t have a game this Saturday. The Pokes will have two weeks to prepare for Bedlam.

The Cowboys practiced Sunday. They will have practices Tuesday and Wednesday. OSU’s players will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families before starting a full week of preparation for OU on Nov. 28, Gundy said.

The Oklahoma State players will put the loss on the shelf with all the victories, Gundy said. Oklahoma State running back Joseph Randle who has four fumbles in the past two game will get over his case of fumbleitis and the Pokes will be ready to play Oklahoma, Gundy said.

“These guys will be fine. They will practice well and be excited to play in the game. I don’t have any concerns about their approach. They will be ready to go,” Gundy said.

The team will continue to look to Randle to carry his load rushing and receiving, Gundy said.

“I’m not really worried about Joseph. ... Joe’s a mentally tough kid. He’s put the ball on the ground more than he’s accustomed to. ... I don’t want him to slow down. I want him to cut loose and play hard and ... take care of the ball,” Gundy said.

Day is sports editor for the Stillwater NewsPress.