K-State gets Oklahoma State coming off its first loss

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma State is facing its first bit of on-field adversity this season.

The

preseason Big 12 favorites were upset 31-20 by West Virginia in their

league opener Saturday and dropped 10 spots in the AP poll to No. 21.

The

loss was largely self-inflicted with the Cowboys missing two field

goals, kicking two punts of 20 yards or less, dropping balls, making

inaccurate throws and coughing up three turnovers. The running game

stumbled, too.

Overcoming the bitterness of losing a game they

feel they should have won will be the first challenge as Oklahoma State

(3-1, 0-1 Big 12) prepares to host defending conference champion Kansas

State (2-2, 0-1) on Saturday.

“We can’t let West Virginia beat us

twice. We just have to move forward and only focus on K-State this

week,” said quarterback J.W. Walsh, who completed 20 of 47 passes for

322 yards, throwing three touchdown passes and two interceptions on

Saturday. “I think the vibe of the team right now is that we’re really

focused and we’re ready to get back to work. We were disappointed after

Saturday and we’re anxious to get back on the field.”

Noting that

there are always positives and negatives that come out of every game,

defensive tackle Calvin Barnett dismissed the notion that the Cowboys

need to simply erase the West Virginia game from their collective

memories.

“We just got to stay positive as a team, stay in the

film room, be accountable for everything that we did wrong, because no

one is going to play a perfect game, win or lose,” said Barnett. “We

have to keep that in our minds.”

Coach Mike Gundy indicated that dealing with the players wouldn’t be any different than usual.

“We

have to approach it the same every week,” Gundy said. “It never really

changes for us. There’s been a considerable number of times in the last

few years where we’re ranked in the top 10 in the country and you’re

worried about looking past an opponent, and now we’re saying that we’ve

got to put that one aside and get ready for the next opponent. It’s the

same thing.”

While plenty of blame could be placed on the running

game, exemplified by starting running back Jeremy Smith’s rough outing,

gaining 1 yard on 15 carries, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said

all aspects of the offense were liable.

“It’s really shared responsibility,” Yurcich said. “It’s really not about one guy, it’s about the whole unit getting better.”

Oklahoma

State fell behind late in the first quarter and spent the majority of

the game trying to battle back, so they were more inclined to pass.

Still, the ground attack, which gained 111 yards overall on 40 carries,

did not move the ball nearly as effectively as when Walsh threw the

ball.

“We have to have a balanced attack,” said Gundy, whose

squad scored a total of 115 points in its previous two outings. “We have

to be effective at play-pass, screens, misdirection, throwing it, quick

game, to allow the run game to work. And then the pass game is based on

that. Because we weren’t really good at one, we weren’t very good at

the other. And then we turn the ball over, we don’t get in a rhythm,

we’re behind in the game and then we’re playing catch-up.”

Doubters make the Cowboys more determined to re-establish themselves as Big 12 contenders.

“We

want to get the taste out of our mouths and move forward and get back

to Oklahoma State football,” Walsh said. “Last week wasn’t really us, we

don’t usually make that many mistakes on the football field and we’re

ready to get back out there and correct those. We want to prove

something, that we aren’t the team that we showed on Saturday.”