OSU Hopes To Repeat 2001 Bedlam Upset

Monday, November 19th 2007, 3:48 pm
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) - Even in a best-case scenario, Oklahoma State can't find its way into its first Big 12 championship game. Keeping rival Oklahoma from getting there wouldn't be a bad consolation prize, though.

The Cowboys (6-5, 4-3 Big 12) could prevent the No. 10 Sooners from going to the conference championship game if Texas beats Texas A&M on Friday and Oklahoma State then pulls off an upset Saturday in the Bedlam rivalry, in which Oklahoma will be without its leading rusher and possibly without its starting quarterback.

If Texas loses and Oklahoma State pulls off the upset, the Cowboys would pull into a three-way tie for the South lead that would then be determined based on the BCS standings. It would still be the first time Oklahoma State could claim even a share of the Big 12 South crown.

“We just coach and try to come up with game plans and use any motivational tactic that we can on Saturday to get them fired up to play hard,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Monday. “One thing we try to talk about is prepare hard and then on Saturday don't play with great effort, play with relentless effort. As a coach, I enjoy seeing that more than anything and that gives you a chance to be a spoiler or to win a football game or do whatever you want. If you play hard every play, you've got a chance.”

The Cowboys' chances could be improved due to a series of injuries on their opponent's side. Sooners coach Bob Stoops said Monday that running back DeMarco Murray won't play because of a knee injury, and quarterback Sam Bradford's status is uncertain because of a concussion.

Oklahoma State has some injury issues of its own. Gundy said that backup running back Keith Toston and receiver Jeremy Broadway were both out for the rest of the season.

“It's going to help our defense like I'm sure their defense is going to be helped by our guys being out. It goes both ways,” defensive end Nathan Peterson said. “At the same time, they have guys that are going to be able to step in and play just like we are. They're OU. They have a great amount of depth and talent, so I don't think it'll be too much of a drop-off. Plus, the fact that it's Bedlam, you know everyone's going to play their best game.”

Oklahoma has won the last four games in the series after Oklahoma State pulled off back-to-back upsets in 2001 and 2002. None of the players from those upsets are still on the Cowboys' roster.

“Obviously everybody likes to win, and when you beat a team that's as good as Oklahoma is ... it's big for your program,” Gundy said.

Even without the conference and divisional implications, the Bedlam game would still be special for the players involved.

“It's the in-state rivalry. You see the TV commercials all week, everything's based around Bedlam. It's what everyone looks for,” Peterson said. “It's fun, but it's stressful at the same time. Everyone's rooting for their team, and you're either happy or sad on that day.”

Oklahoma State was only 3-7 before stunning fourth-ranked Oklahoma in Norman in 2001, and 6-5 before the 2002 upset against a No. 3-ranked Sooners team.

“Just always a big-time game, no matter if the teams are having a down year or both teams are playing great,'' Robinson said. “Anything can happen in the game.”

Gundy, who's been a player, assistant coach and head coach for Oklahoma State, said he thinks the rivalry has become so big because of a lack of professional sports in the state.

“For the most part, this state thrives on college athletics and obviously football is huge here. It's a fun week for everybody,” Gundy said. “Most people in this state are either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State. The people at the office pick sides and the players all know each other. It's always been a great game and it's just been a lot of fun.”