No. 6 Oklahoma State a win away from Big 12 title

Oklahoma State’s loss to West Virginia just appears more

inexplicable in retrospect. And it was bad enough at the time that

the Cowboys’ Big 12 title hopes appeared over.

But the No. 6 Cowboys (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) responded by winning

seven straight, including a dominant 49-17 blowout over then-No. 3

Baylor Nov. 23, and now have just one more obstacle to overcome

before claiming their second conference title in three years.

Only their cross-state rivals, No. 18 Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2), can

spoil the storybook ending for Oklahoma State, which has lost nine

of the schools’ past 10 meetings.

A win Saturday would land Oklahoma State a major BCS bowl game

and help solidify its newly earned status as a national power, and

demonstrate how it has closed the gap on its more celebrated foes.

Even if its only blemish is from a team that finished 2-7 in the

conference.

”I feel as if we’ve helped take Oklahoma State to a new level.

It wasn’t really well-known back when I got here,” said OSU senior

fullback Kye Staley, who rushed for 25 yards and two touchdowns

against Baylor. ”Every year we’ve progressed as a team. I feel

like we’ve put Oklahoma State on the map and they’re going to

accomplish more as the years go on.”

With both squads coming off bye weeks, each should be

well-rested and ready to go.

”We understand that it’s a big challenge,” OU coach Bob Stoops

said. ”I feel like that week off should have hopefully helped us

just with some of those nagging injuries and hopefully that will

make us a little stronger coming into this game.”

Five things to watch for as Oklahoma State seeks its 10th

straight win at home:

1. COLD PLAY: With the temperature expected to be around 20

degrees Fahrenheit and with winds of 10 mph, the conditions won’t

be pleasant, although the Cowboys defeated Baylor in similar

weather. ”Our view is both teams have to deal with it. It’s not

like it’s bad for one and not the other,” Stoops said. ”I think

the wind affects the game much more than just the cold does.”

2. KNIGHT RIDERS: Since replacing Blake Bell at QB early in the

second quarter on Nov. 16 against Iowa State, freshman Trevor

Knight has sparked the Sooners’ offense. He rushed for 123 yards

and a touchdown on 10 carries that day, while passing for 61 yards,

and then at Kansas State on Nov. 23, Knight added another 82 yards

and a score on 14 rushes, while also completing 14 of 20 passes for

171 yards.

3. TRICK OR TREAT?: Oklahoma State added some gadgetry to their

offense, catching Baylor off-balance defensively, and may do so

again. In addition to adding Staley to the mix as a runner, OSU

tried a flea-flicker pass and had receivers Josh Stewart and

Charlie Moore each complete passes, one of them to QB Clint Chelf

for 48 yards.

4. TOUGH IT OUT: Oklahoma senior cornerback Aaron Colvin fought

through the pain of a shoulder injury against K-State and despite

healing some during the bye week, will try to do so again. ”I feel

better, but being able to play through that type of pain, I just

can’t think about it,” Colvin said. ”I don’t want to have any

regrets when I leave this university. I’ve just got to leave it in

God’s hands and try to grind through it.”

5. BROTHERLY LOVE: Even though he’ll be facing his younger

brother Cale, who has been OU’s running backs coach since 1999, on

the other sideline, OSU head coach Mike Gundy downplays any

discomfort that might cause family relations. ”The truth is, a lot

of times, I forget he’s even over there,” said Gundy. ”You’re

always thinking about the next play and the call you’re going to

make.”