Oklahoma State frustrated by loss in Big 12 opener

Monday, October 9th 2006, 9:50 pm
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ Anger and frustration from Oklahoma State's deflating Big 12 opener were still plentiful Monday as the Cowboys tried to move forward with preparations for their third straight road game.

Oklahoma State had a 10-point lead when Kansas State took over possession with 4:25 left for its first of two late scoring drives in a 31-27 win Saturday that prevented the Cowboys' first road win in a conference opener since 1998.

``This is probably the most frustrating loss I've ever had,'' defensive end Nathan Peterson said Monday. ``I've never been in a position like that where we were up with that much time left. That's probably the most frustrating part. I want to get out there and play right away.''

Instead, the Cowboys (3-2, 0-1 Big 12) have all week to wait before playing at Kansas (3-3, 0-2). And beyond that, they have extra time to dwell on the loss because students are on fall break at Oklahoma State until Tuesday.

``I'm still not over it, honestly,'' said right tackle Corey Hilliard, a senior. ``That's probably the most painful loss I've had since we've been here. Trying to take a turn in the right direction after all the stuff last year, to me it was a must-win game. It just hurts. It still hurts.''

It's the second straight season that Oklahoma State has started with three straight wins, then back-to-back losses. But last year, that losing streak stretched to five before the Cowboys upset No. 13 Texas Tech in Stillwater.

``I think we're significantly better than we were last year,'' Peterson said. ``Once we get all aspects of our game clicking together, we're going to be a tough team to beat.''

Last season, the Cowboys opened Big 12 play with a 34-0 loss to Colorado _ and that was at home. This time, they seemed in control until the closing minutes.

``All I can say is we're still confident about our chances of winning every week. If anything, the past two weeks we still were right there in the game and we had a chance to win. It's not like we were blown out like last year,'' Hilliard said.

``That's the only good thing that you can take away from these past two weeks. We just look at that as a positive and try to move forward.''

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said his coaching staff will stick to the normal routine of telling players what they did well and what they could've done better. There will be no special treatment because of the nature of the loss.

``When we have players on this team that accept a loss and it doesn't bother them for a couple days, then we have a problem because anything that you work for and pay the price and put a lot into as a coach or a player _ or anything it may be _ and you don't achieve what you want, it should hurt,'' Gundy said.

Players were in the weight room Monday morning, and linebacker Rodrick Johnson said some would get together on their own for a film session before they were required to report back for practice later in the evening.

``All of the guys are disappointed about this loss and pointing fingers at themselves, no one else but themselves,'' Johnson said. ``This is just another steppingstone that we have to get over. This team will get better, the defense will get better. This team is 10 times better than it was last year at this point.

``I don't see us taking any backward steps. We're going to be moving forward from here.''