Oklahoma St.-Texas Preview

Next in line for Texas’ miserable season: fast-rising No. 12

Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys (8-1, 4-1 Big 12) roll into Austin with an express

train of an offense and serious payback on their minds after a

12-year losing streak to the Longhorns that includes some

excruciating defeats.

A win Saturday night would also tighten their surprising grip on

first place in the Big 12 South.

That’s where most expected the Longhorns (4-5, 2-4) to be. But

losers of five of their last six games, including three in a row at

home, they’re stuck in last place just one season after winning the

Big 12 title.

”Everybody is enjoying us struggling right now,” Texas coach

Mack Brown said. ”We’ve got to turn it around.”

The Longhorns have been so bad – they trailed Kansas State 39-0

last week before scoring two late touchdowns – that Texas won’t

even get to a bowl game unless they win two of their final three

games.

Oklahoma State players say they won’t allow themselves to

consider Texas’ record. The program has been burned too many times

in a series that Texas dominates 22-2.

In 2004, Oklahoma State led 35-7 in the first half and lost

56-35. In 2005, the Cowboys were up 28-9 before losing 47-28. In

2007, Oklahoma State led 35-14 before losing 38-35.

And in 2008, Oklahoma State’s best team in years came into

Austin ranked No. 6 and lost to No. 1 Texas 28-24. The Cowboys are

just 1-14 in Austin and that lone win came back in 1944.

That kind of history won’t let this group of Cowboys assume

they’ll beat a Texas team that seems to be getting worse every

week.

”There’s not been a game that I’ve played Texas that they have

not come out and played hard-nosed, smashmouth football,” Oklahoma

State senior defensive tackle Shane Jarka. ”There’s no overlooking

Texas at all.”

Texas is a home underdog for the first time since Oct. 23, 1999,

against No. 3 Nebraska, according to oddsmaker RJ Bell at

Pregame.com. The Cowboys might want to note Texas won that game,

and the Longhorns haven’t lost four in a row at home in a single

season since 1956.

Of course, Texas hasn’t won this season since they upset the

Cornhuskers 20-13 back on Oct. 16. That win was supposed to turn

things around, but looks more and more like an aberration in a

season full of home losses to UCLA, Iowa State and Baylor. Last

week, Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert tied a dubious school

record by throwing give interceptions.

Oklahoma State’s rise to the top of the division has been nearly

as big a surprise.

The Cowboys were picked to finish near the bottom of the league

but new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorson’s group is scoring in

bunches behind 27-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden, senior

running back Kendall Hunter and sophomore wide receiver Justin

Blackmon, who has 1,285 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.

Oklahoma State is averaging 46 points and 550 yards per game.

Both marks are best in the Big 12.

The Cowboys have never won the Big 12 South and they are the

only team in the division with one loss.

”We believe in what we’re capable of,” said Cowboys senior

safety Markelle Martin, one of more than 50 Oklahoma State players

from Texas. ”I felt like if I ever had the chance to beat Texas,

that would be one of the greatest feelings to ever have.”