Rice-Oklahoma St. Odds

Stillwater, OKThe biggest opening week in Oklahoma State football history gave the Cowboys the highest preseason ranking ever.

Not to mention it also gave it a jump into the top five for the first time in more than two decades and a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The Cowboys' stint as national darlings, however, was short-lived.

Bet College Football Week 3

Coming off an upset loss to a Conference USA team from Houston, the 16th-ranked Cowboys host another one Saturday night and will look to bounce back as they face Rice.

Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made Oklahoma State -31.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on Oklahoma State -31.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

Oklahoma State (1-1) surged onto the national scene in 2008, starting 7-0 and suffering its only regular-season losses against teams ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3.

The Cowboys appeared ready to build on their 9-4 finish after a season-opening win over then-No. 13 Georgia, but their 11-game winning streak against unranked opponents came to an end with a 45-35 home loss to Houston last Saturday.

The then-No. 5 Cowboys, in the top five for the first time since 1985, were outscored 21-7 in the fourth quarter.

"Everybody's been telling them how good they've been and how good they are, and now they get to see the other side of it," coach Mike Gundy said.

While admitting the defeat is a frustrating setback, the Cowboys don't think it will derail what can still be a great season.

"When you do good, people are always behind you. And when you do bad, people will always be like, 'Man, it was just for one day,'" safety Lucien Antoine said Monday. "But I don't think that. I think we're a good team, we're a great team.

"Sometimes even the great teams, they mess up. They lose games. All we've got to do is just keep working. I know we've got the talent. ... We've just got to go out there and prove to people that we are the team everybody used to talk about."

The Cowboys might have an easier time containing the Owls, whose offense isn't nearly as explosive as the Cougars'. Rice (0-2, 0-1) was held to 257 total yards in a 55-10 loss at Texas Tech last Saturday, its 21st straight defeat against teams currently in the Big 12.

Rice hasn't beaten a current Big 12 team since shocking then-No. 13 Texas on Oct. 16, 1994.

The Owls would love to snap that skid in Stillwater, but they'll face a Cowboys team eager to atone for the many mistakes it made against Houston. Oklahoma State committed four turnovers, missed more than its fair share of tackles and committed penalties at critical times on offense, defense and special teams.

"If we put everything into it and we give effort and we come up short, then we come up short. We don't ever accept losing, but we can't just shut it down and quit," Gundy said. "Now what we need to do is correct mistakes. We've got to eliminate turnovers and play more sound in defense and eliminate penalties."

That defense was stellar in the opener against Georgia - the debut of first-year coordinator Bill Young, hired away from Miami in the offseason. Young took the blame for last week's letdown.

"It's our job to get our players in better position where they can make plays," he said.

Young's unit could get a boost from the return of starting strong safety Markelle Martin, who should be ready after missing the first two games with an undisclosed injury.

Not all the injury news was good, though. Gundy said it's "doubtful" that starting tailback Kendall Hunter will play Saturday after leaving in the second quarter of last week's game with a right leg injury.

"His injury was not as significant as we thought, but the likelihood of him playing is not good," Gundy said.

Hunter rushed for 104 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries in two games this season after leading the Big 12 with 1,555 yards on the ground in 2008. His backups, Keith Toston and Beau Johnson, combined to run for 148 yards and two touchdowns against Houston.

This is the first meeting between Oklahoma State and Rice since 1923. The teams played to a 13-13 tie in 1914 and the Cowboys shut out the Owls in both matchups after that.

Bet College Football Week 3

Posted: 9/15/09 4:25PM ET

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