Oklahoma State trying to build up matchup with SMU

Friday, September 19th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ Oklahoma State coach Les Miles is doing all he can to convince his Cowboys they've got quite a challenge on their hands Saturday.

He told them Southern Methodist has a running back averaging 100 yards a game. He pointed out that the Mustangs took a Big 12 team down to the wire last weekend. And he mentioned that this will be their home opener.

What he's tried not to discuss is that SMU is 0-2, with its narrow defeat coming against lowly Baylor. He also probably left out the Mustangs' blowout loss to Texas Tech the week before, and he might have glossed over the fact that if there's a big crowd, many will be wearing orange and black, and rooting on the Cowboys.

The bottom line: Oklahoma State scheduled this game hoping for an easy win, giving it a chance to look good in front of alumni and talented high school players.

``It's an important area for us,'' Miles said. ``So we look forward to going across the border to play a game in an area that's rich with talent and an area that we recruit very strongly.''

The Cowboys (2-1) are still trying to rebound from a season-opening loss to Nebraska. They've pounded Wyoming and Southwest Missouri State, but it hasn't been enough to regain their preseason ranking.

This game probably won't do it either, nor will beating Louisiana-Lafayette next week. But if Oklahoma State can win both games, it will carry a four-game winning streak and some much-needed momentum into its Oct. 11 matchup against No. 6 Kansas State.

``I think if you watch us play you see that if the technique is not perfect the effort is always there. Everyone is giving 100 percent towards the victory,'' offensive lineman Sam Mayes said. ``As long as we're getting better each week, that's what counts.''

The teams played in Stillwater, Okla., last year and OSU scored six touchdowns and a field goal by halftime en route to a 52-16 victory.

Despite their record, the Mustangs are supposed to be better this year and would love to show it Saturday when they unveil new home uniforms and a new hybrid turf.

``My goal is to get better,'' SMU coach Phil Bennett said. ``For us to beat them, we'll have to play extremely well. A year ago, they were one of the few teams that physically dominated us throughout the game. Hopefully that will motivate our players to put on a better performance.''

Mustangs running back Keylon Kincade, who is averaging 103 yards rushing per game, is only 36 shy of 2,000 for his career and needs 86 to crack the top 10 in school history.

``We've got to be run stoppers,'' Cowboys linebacker Paul Dure.