Cowboys hope to overcome loss, look to No. 13 Texas

Monday, September 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Despite disappointment, Oklahoma State linebacker Terrence Robinson said he and his teammates aren't letting a 28-6 loss to No. 21 Southern Mississippi keep them down.

"I see a lot of players with their heads held high," Robinson said Monday. "Nobody's giving up."

Oklahoma State (2-1) has little time to get over last Saturday's defeat, which ended a 17-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents. The Cowboys open Big 12 play Saturday at No. 13 Texas (2-1).

The Southern Miss game included a mix of missed opportunities and costly errors for the Cowboys, who failed to score a touchdown on four trips inside the 20. They also gave up three interceptions and a fumble and missed two field goals.

Coach Bob Simmons said Southern Mississippi (2-1) was tough but added that his team could've won with fewer mistakes and by making potentially big plays that included several dropped interceptions by defensive backs.

"To be honest, we let this game slip away," he said.

The Cowboys wanted to make the trip to Austin unbeaten in nonconference play.

There are bright spots for the Cowboys after three games. The run defense, which stuffed Southern Mississippi for minus seven yards on the ground, is No. 1 nationally. The Longhorns running game has yet to get on track, putting up a combined 196 yards in three outings.

Southern Mississippi quarterback Jeff Kelly picked apart a young Oklahoma State secondary for 257 yards and two touchdowns.

Texas quarterbacks Major Applewhite and Chris Simms have combined for 986 yards in the air.

Despite a struggling secondary, Simmons said redshirt freshman strong safety Elbert Craig has played well. Craig is the team's leading tackler, with 17 solos and seven assists. Robinson, a sophomore from Tyler, Texas, has 11 tackles after three games with three tackles resulting in minus 12 yards.

To rebound, the Cowboys have to find ways to score and make plays that allowed the team to play Texas close in Austin two years ago and win big in Stillwater the season before that, Simmons said.

The Longhorns beat Oklahoma State 34-21 last year at Lewis Stadium.

Some of the Oklahoma State players who won against Texas or challenged the Longhorns two years ago are still on the roster, Simmons said.

Texas leads the series 12-2 overall and 9-1 in Austin, with Oklahoma State's only win in the Texas capitol coming in 1944.

Simmons is 1-3 against Texas. Longhorn coach Mack Brown is 2-0 against the Cowboys.

COWBOYS NOTES: The Oklahoma State-Texas game will be televised regionally on ABC. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. The Cowboys plan to fly down to Austin early Friday afternoon and have a light work out at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium shortly after they get there. Texas plans to retire Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams'

jersey in a ceremony during the game.