Buffaloes look to start new run

Friday, October 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ The Colorado Buffaloes hope this road trip goes better than their last one.

Colorado went to Texas last week riding a five-game winning streak and ranked 14th in the country. The Buffaloes left town as 41-7 losers after being dominated by the seventh-ranked Longhorns.

``We just went down to Texas and laid an egg, is what happened,'' coach Gary Barnett said. ``It was disappointing for us to go down and play like that with so much on the line.

``We've got to get over that now, and that's the way we're approaching it. I think we were embarrassed as a team.''

Now ranked No. 25, Colorado (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) still has plenty to play for heading into Saturday night's game at Oklahoma State (2-5, 0-4). The Buffaloes are seeking the Big 12 North Division title and a trip to a big-name bowl.

They are expected to be closer to full strength against Oklahoma State than they were against Texas. Quarterback Craig Ochs did not play against the Longhorns because of concussion-related symptoms, but he should be in the lineup this week.

``He's got to play the game and play it the way it's got to be played,'' Barnett said. ``If there's any risk at all, we're certainly not going to put him out there. But at this point we've weighed it and measured it and everything's fine, but we certainly won't take any risks with him.''

The Cowboys saw too much of Ochs a year ago in Boulder. He became the first Colorado player to run for a touchdown, catch a TD pass and throw for a score in the same game. He finished with 336 yards passing and 93 rushing.

The Buffaloes figure to present another tough test for an Oklahoma State defense that has given up more than 400 yards in each of the past three games. The defense carried OSU early in the season, but has struggled of late, particularly against the run.

Coach Les Miles said some personnel changes could be in store on defense. But he also said the offense needs to do a better job sustaining drives, which in turn would give the defense added rest.

``We're going to win and lose things as a team, period,'' he said.

Oklahoma State is averaging just 19 points per game, the second-lowest total in the Big 12. While Aso Pogi has been adequate at quarterback, throwing for about 200 yards per game, the running game has been a no-show. The Cowboys gained just 42 yards last week in a 28-14 loss to Iowa State.

Linebacker Terrence Robinson said the defense seems to have lost its fire in recent weeks, and something has to change for the better.

``With losing, it's tough to keep that fire,'' he said. ``But you have to just overcome those past games and live for the next one. Live for tomorrow. Once we all see that picture, it'll be all right.''

In their losses to Missouri and Texas, the Cowboys got off to good starts before faltering. Robinson and Miles said a quick start is needed again Saturday night, with no letup.

``You've got to maintain your momentum throughout the game,'' Miles said. ``That to me is what this team needs to get done.''