No. 22 Cowboys finally hit road vs La-Lafayette
Ask Brandon Weeden the biggest challenge that No. 22 Oklahoma
State will face as it heads on the road for the first time this
season and the quarterback can only hazard a guess.
”It’s hard to say,” Weeden said, ”without going on the
Weeden is one of 14 players expected to make their first road
start for the Cowboys (4-0) on Friday night when they face
Louisiana-Lafayette (2-2), their first game since cracking the Top
25 this season. Oklahoma State started with four consecutive home
games, but will now play five of its next seven games away from
Boone Pickens Stadium.
Besides Weeden, others making their first road start for
Oklahoma Sate are four of the five offensive linemen and
three-fourths of the defensive secondary after safety Victor
Johnson was lost to a knee injury last week.
Even Justin Blackmon, the nation’s top receiver with 139.5 yards
per game and 10 total touchdowns, hasn’t started on the road –
although he’s had eight starts at home and played in a reserve role
in away games last season.
”Hopefully, the other players that have traveled and played on
the road will help them through that,” coach Mike Gundy said.
”It’s not going to change at this point, so as a coaching staff
we’ve got to do a good job of getting them prepared and find a way
to make them understand that once we get out there and kick off,
it’s the same.”
Oklahoma State followers may see some similarities to the team’s
last trip to face a Sun Belt Conference opponent, a 41-23 defeat at
Troy in 2007. That was also on a Friday night, and against a team
with a good track record against Big 12 competition.
The Ragin’ Cajuns knocked off Kansas State last year at Cajun
Field, a 31,000-seat stadium that Gundy expects to be as noisy as
any Big 12 venue. Until this week, the only ranked team to visit
Lafayette was No. 25 Texas A&M in 1996 – and the Aggies lost
”The fans we have there, I know will be loud,”
Louisiana-Lafayette coach Rickey Bustle said. ”Our crowd is like
spinach to Popeye, and it helps them.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns beat K-State 17-15 last year by allowing the
Wildcats to convert only 3 of 16 third down attempts and kicking a
48-yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining.
”I think the biggest thing is just to get in your kids’ minds
that you can do this,” Bustle said. ”This whole conference plays
a lot of great people. (Oklahoma State) had a heck of a game with
Troy already this year, and Oklahoma State is playing extremely
well. The good thing is we get them at home, and we like playing at
Gundy’s first college game back in 1986 was played at
Louisiana-Lafayette, with a Cowboys squad featuring future NFL
stars Thurman Thomas and Hart Lee Dykes needing to rally from 11
points down in the final 3:09 for a 21-20 victory.
But that history, and the Cowboys’ 2007 loss at Troy, means
little to Gundy. Some of his players remember the Troy game, too,
but say it was a valuable lesson.
”Just stay focused, work hard and don’t underestimate your
opponent because it’s their house, they’re going to be wanting to
win the game,” said Dan Bailey, whose 40-yard field goal as time
expired lifted Oklahoma State to a 38-35 win against Texas A&M