Resilient Cowboys must bounce back again when they face the No. 5 Jayhawks Print
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Tuesday, 06 November 2007 01:08
NCAAF Headline News

 STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -For all the pain that Oklahoma State's unfathomable meltdowns against Texas have brought on, the Cowboys have made a science out of turning those hard feelings into a remarkable resilience.
For the third time in four years, the Cowboys (5-4, 3-2 Big 12) must shake off the heartache from squandering a lead of 19 points or more against the Longhorns and find a way to rebound with a victory against another Big 12 foe.
They're 2-for-2 so far, but the test they'll face in bouncing back this time will be the stiffest yet as No. 5 Kansas (9-0, 5-0) visits Stillwater this week.
``When you go through a loss like last week, it just seems like the best part of it is that it's a quick turnaround. Monday comes quick, and you get over it fast because you have to,'' said Cowboys defensive end Nathan Peterson, who's been through all three painful defeats.
``You have to move on because when you're playing the No. 5 or No. 4 team in the country, you don't really have time to sit around and think about the heart-wrenching loss that you just experienced.''
Peterson said this one might be the toughest loss in the series against the Longhorns, but maybe that's only because it's so fresh in the Cowboys' memory. This time, Oklahoma State led 35-14 in the fourth quarter before allowing Texas to rally back for a 38-35 victory.
In 2005, Oklahoma State led 28-9 before Vince Young led the Longhorns back to a 47-28 win. The year before, Oklahoma State was ahead 35-7 and ended up losing 56-35.
Even in 2003, the Cowboys were up 16-14 before Texas scored 41 unanswered points for a 55-16 win.
``I think that game will probably never be something I ever forget,'' Peterson said. ``When I was sitting in my room and I was thinking about it, frustration just overwhelms me.
``When you work so hard and you go through all the things we do to prepare for a game like that and we're playing so well and then we fold like we did, it's one of the most frustrating things and you'd give anything to go back and play it again.''
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, that's not possible. The next best thing would be coming back to upset the Jayhawks, who jumped to fourth in the BCS standings this week.
The previous debacles against Texas haven't kept the Cowboys down long. In 2005, they followed the Texas loss with a 24-17 upset of then-No. 13 Texas Tech for their only Big 12 win of the season. In 2004, they came back with a 49-21 win against Baylor and in 2003, the Jayhawks were the victim of a 44-21 rout the week after the Longhorns' comeback.
``As painful as it is, we still have to correct everything that happened in the game to make us better for the next week and then get back on track,'' Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. ``The one thing that will work to our advantage this week is it's not every day you get to play a team that's fifth in the BCS or whatever they are.
``I would think that our players would be excited about playing at team that's as highly regarded as they are.''
Gundy said he would rely on the team's senior leaders, who'll be playing their final home game at Boone Pickens Stadium, to rally the team again this week.
Outside of the emotions, the Cowboys must find a way to get a complete game out of a defense that has worn down in the fourth quarter of its past two games against ranked teams. In a 41-39 victory against No. 25 Kansas State two weeks ago, Oklahoma State gave up an 80-yard scoring drive to fall behind with 1:10 left before a late field goal saved the win.
``You have to go out and play as if it's the first play of the game, not playing on your heels with a 21-point lead,'' defensive coordinator Tim Beckman said. ``We're very, very disappointed. I've never been through that before and don't say that I like it at all.
``We've got to get a mind-set to be finishers, and three quarters doesn't get it done. It's got to be four quarters.''
 

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