|Oklahoma State looks to recapture glory|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 01 October 2008 12:49|
They're doing their best to change that this season.
M unbeaten and with lots of mojo. The Cowboys have their first Top 25 ranking in four years, a streak of three straight games with at least 55 points and a fan base that's perking up.
Oklahoma State hasn't had much staying power on the national scene since Barry Sanders and Hart Lee Dykes starred in Stillwater during those 10-win seasons of the 1980s in the old Big Eight.
With a massive facilities project to be completed in 2009, thanks largely to the generosity of billionaire booster T. Boone Pickens, the Cowboys are positioning themselves to challenge Oklahoma and Texas.
This week's national ranking is a sign of progress.
d here. We've had a plan in place for several years, and we've got a ways to go. We're taking steps each day, each game, each year in accomplishing our goal.''
The school has set a record by selling 40,000 season tickets, and a single-game record crowd of 52,463 showed up for Saturday's 55-24 win over Troy.
Oklahoma State has the nation's top ground game, the third-leading rusher in Kendall Hunter, No. 3 scoring offense, fourth-most efficient passer and a defense that's been good enough to beat the likes of Washington State, Houston, Missouri State and Troy.
``I was amazed Oklahoma State wasn't rated until this week. That's because they haven't beaten notable teams,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said. ``We've seen Oklahoma State for the last couple years, and Missouri and Kansas got all that credit. Oklahoma State is going to be right in the mix of a lot of things.''
Oklahoma State, which has never finished higher than third in the South Division, must go on the road to play Missouri, Texas and Texas Tech. The Cowboys play top-ranked rival Oklahoma at home.
INJURY REPORTS: Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Texas' Mack Brown aren't big on the idea of conferences issuing weekly injury reports.
n Mondays. A list of players who are probable, questionable, doubtful or out is released on Thursdays.
Stoops said he wouldn't participate in such a system if given the choice.
``If a guy is going to play, it doesn't need to be detailed how injured he is, just for his protection,'' Stoops said. ``The only reason you would have to is for bettors. It's a college game. I don't believe that should be a factor in what we have to participate in.''
Brown also worries that the information would primarily benefit gamblers.
``We should be talking about the young men who are playing rather than the ones who may or may not be playing,'' he said.
MOORE MORE: The return of safety William Moore comes at a good time for Missouri, as the fourth-ranked Tigers prepare for their Big 12 opener at Nebraska.
Moore sprained a foot in the season-opening win over Illinois, then aggravated the injury in a 69-17 win over Nevada on Sept. 13. He didn't play in Missouri's 42-21 win over Buffalo on Sept. 20.
The Tigers (4-0) was off last week, giving Moore an extra week to heal in preparation for Nebraska (3-1).
His return to the lineup is expected to help Missouri's defense that ranks 112th against the pass and 80th overall.
``We can do a lot of things with a healthy William Moore,'' coach Gary Pinkel said. ``You lose a player like that it effects you. But the good news is he is back.''
Moore said he is at about ``85 percent'' right now. He hopes to help the defense get over its tendency to give up big plays.
``I can bring leadership and keep the guys enthused,'' Moore said. ``I think that's one thing, telling them to fight harder and never give up.''
CHANGING THE CULTURE: First-year Baylor coach Art Briles said one of his main jobs is make the Bears and their fans believe they can win in the Big 12.
The Bears were 2-2 in nonconference play, but this week they get top-ranked Oklahoma at home for their conference opener.
Briles took over a program that is 11-85 in the Big 12, so there is a lot of work to do to change the Baylor image.
``Our guys are accepting that role and facing it head on,'' Briles said. ``We understand that our judgment will come through these next eight games, not these first four. We live in the Big 12 South. What we have to do is be a player in the Big 12, not just a member.''
M safety Trent Hunter and Nebraska receiver and punt returner Nate Swift are the Big 12 players of the week.
Johnson set a school record with 206 receiving yards on five receptions against TCU. He broke Mark Clayton's record of 190 yards against Texas in 2003.
Swift had an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown and three catches for 58 yards against Virginia Tech. His punt return was the fourth-longest in school history and first Nebraska punt return for a touchdown since the 2002 Independence Bowl.