Oklahoma State Resumes Championship Chase After Off Week

Monday, October 29th 2007, 4:08 pm
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Even during Oklahoma State's off week, quarterback Zac Robinson was focused on a championship. Only this one was the World Series.

With his Cowboys getting their only Saturday off during football season, Robinson flew home to Colorado to watch the Rockies play the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of baseball's fall classic.

"It was fun to get out of Oklahoma and just go back home and just kind of hang out with my family and go to the game. It was definitely a fun weekend," Robinson said.

Now that the bye week and the World Series are over, Robinson is back to his own championship chase. Oklahoma State (5-3, 3-1 Big 12) hosts No. 14 Texas (7-2, 3-2) this week in a pivotal game for the Cowboys' Big 12 title hopes.

Tied with No. 5 Oklahoma (7-1, 3-1) for the South Division lead, Oklahoma State will need its first win against Texas in a decade to keep the Longhorns from catching up in the standings.

"This week is definitely a must-win, and we know that we control our own destiny," Robinson said. "We're not really looking ahead, but we know what our situation is and we know that we need to win this game in order to keep our goals in sight."

Head coach Mike Gundy said the Cowboys spent one of their practice sessions last week focusing on fundamentals and another getting an early start on preparations for the Longhorns. Other than that session and a full practice Monday, when the Cowboys would normally hold a walkthrough after a game two days earlier, he didn't see any real advantages from having the off week.

In fact, it creates some concern.

"The only issue with having an open week is when they leave you for three or four days and if they go back or they get out of the routine that they're in," Gundy said. "As coaches, we have to make sure that we get them started today at practice and get back on track."

When last they played, the Cowboys capped a 41-39 win against Kansas State with a last-minute drive that resulted in the game-winning field goal. After a disappointing loss at Troy, the Cowboys won four of their last five games heading into the break.

"It was good just to kind of get refreshed," Robinson said. "It's a lot easier to have a bye week after a win. We got some good workouts in, we got a couple good practices preparing for Texas and overall it was just a good week to just kind of rest our bodies."

The Cowboys hope to be a bit healthier than when they last left the field. Jeremy Nethon and Patrick Lavine left the Kansas State game with injuries, joining Chris Collins in a linebacking corps that's been riddled with injuries. The timing couldn't be worse with Jamaal Charles, the conference's leading rusher with 1,012 yards and 11 touchdowns, coming to town.

At least there was an extra week in between.

"Thank goodness really because you know they wouldn't have been able to play last week," defensive coordinator Tim Beckman said. "We have a chance, a probable status I guess you'd say, of getting them back. We'll see."

Beckman said the Cowboys will have Rodrick Johnson, who has moved back and forth between defensive end and linebacker this season, ready to play at linebacker and supplement him with whoever else is ready to play.

"My thinking is you've got to take the worst scenario – that none of them are back -- and you better make sure that you're prepared to go play Texas for part of the Big 12 championship," Beckman said. "We've got to keep on winning."