STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -Considering the season No. 9 Oklahoma State is having, it's to be expected that coach Mike Gundy would get his fair share of congratulatory notes.
The Cowboys (7-1, 3-1 Big 12) started 7-0 for the first time since 1945 and reached the top 10 for the first time since Barry Sanders was darting toward the Heisman Trophy two decades ago.
But after a 28-24 loss at No. 1 Texas, Gundy said he received even more kudos than ever before.
``At times, if it's my mom doing it, I just kind of discard it,'' Gundy said with a laugh.
In defeat, Oklahoma State came away looking impressive yet again - even if Gundy and his players didn't buy into any talk that it was a moral victory.
``If you get used to losing, then it's not worth it to you,'' defensive end Jamie Blatnick said.
ference win. It's a familiar scenario for the Cowboys, who've been facing a rebuilding program one week and a top 10 team the next since Big 12 play started.
M visited to start conference play, there was a game against Missouri looming. Then Baylor came to town as the top-ranked Longhorns lingered on the horizon. And now there's a game at No. 6 Texas Tech a week away that could be a distraction as the Cyclones come calling.
``It always concerns you,'' Gundy said.
M was the first time since 1989 that the Cyclones didn't have to punt, and the 574 yards of total offense were easily the most since Gene Chizik took over as coach before last season.
The best total before that was a 415-yard output against Nebraska last season.
The problem: Iowa State also gave up more than 500 yards for the second straight week and lost 49-35.
``On one night, one thing's kind of clicking and the other one's not. And vice-versa. That seems to be kind of what's happening week in and week out with us,'' Chizik said. ``We're still trying to find that game where we're balanced on both sides of the ball and on special teams to be able to win a game.
the previous weeks and win any of these games in the Big 12. We're just not.''
Iowa State is seeking its second straight victory in the series, having beaten the Cowboys 37-10 in 2005. But a lot has changed since then.
Oklahoma State was still learning a new offense in Gundy's first year at that time, and the defense has shown marked improvement this season under second-year defensive coordinator Tim Beckman.
``The only thing that I can say is that we're better now than we were a year ago and we're much better than we were two years ago and we don't even talk about '05,'' Gundy said.
That's certainly in fans' minds, though, as they revel in Oklahoma State's sudden return to national prominence. A win on Saturday would give the Cowboys at least eight wins in their first nine games for only the fourth time in school history. It would also be their first 4-1 start since Big 12 play began in 1996.
``I'm not trying to sway one way or the other there. We're continuing to get better and build and do things here that are going to be really special, and I think the people out there are excited,'' Gundy said. ``I know I'm excited, and I'm just glad to be along for the ride.''

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