November 1, 2007

'We know we control our own destiny'

After a week off to rest, Oklahoma State is getting back into its normal week-long game routine this week in preparation for Texas.

The last anyone saw the Cowboys, they were calmly and confidently moving the football, down 39-38 to Kansas State with only 1:10 to go. You know the rest: Zac Robinson breaks off a 14-yard run, then a 24-yard pass to Dantrell Savage, who follows that up with a seven-yard run, which eventually sets up a 26-yard Jason Ricks field goal. Ballgame.

"Us having two time outs, we definitely had a lot of confidence," said Robinson, reflecting on that final drive of the game. "We go through that situation weekly. That's actually my favorite part of practice, is when we do the two-minute drill. That's where I feel most comfortable. So I knew it'd not be any different than practice and we just had to go out there and execute."

Nearly two weeks later, the Pokes still seem to be riding the wave from the K-State win, their fourth in the past five games. Being able to ride that wave into this weekend could be key to OSU's bowl hopes. With a game against Baylor still left, it's pretty safe to say the Pokes have six wins in the bag. But getting a seventh win would really open things up as far as destinations go in the Big 12 bowl pecking order. A win over the Longhorns probably gets OSU to at least seven wins, where a bowl like the Alamo would likely be interested in a team with a big-time offense and a fan base that travels to postseason destinations very well.

Stuff like that isn't lost on the Pokes.

"Starting this week, it's definitely a must-win," Robinson said. "We know we control our own destiny. Starting this week, we're not really looking ahead, but we know where our situation is and we need to win this game in order to keep our goals in sight."

To be at this point seems almost surreal for a team that was beaten down so severely by Troy. But the Pokes have come together, as the offense has taken off and the defense has improved in spots.

"We forgot about that Troy game as quick as we could," Robinson said. "It was definitely a big setback. We just weren't really expecting to go out there and play that bad. But we forgot about it. The coaches did a great job preparing us for the next week. From there, we knew we were starting with the Big 12. So the Big 12, we got a clean slate, 0-0, so we knew we had all our goals in sight and we just kept playing."

And because they kept playing, many goals still remain. After a rough non-conference run, OSU has managed to get things clicking in league play, where they're now 3-1 and tied with Bedlam rival Oklahoma for first place in the Big 12 South. Beating the Longhorns - something the Pokes haven't done since 1997 - would go a long way in keeping in that South race. The recent past against the Horns has been vexing for OSU, which had realistic chances to win four of the past five before things fell apart. Some fans might get a little freaked if the Pokes jump out to another decent-sized lead against UT. But against a team as athletic and talented - albeit underachieving this year - as the Horns, it's never bad to do that. Against KSU, the Pokes got off to a slow start before picking things up as the game went along.

"I think every week we preach getting off to a good start, because that helps a lot as far as the flow in the game," Robinson said. "Last week, we were just kind of beating ourselves early. I missed a few throws and we just weren't clicking. Hopefully we can get that back this week."

Another hope is to keep up the winning. OSU seems to be at the right place mentally.

"This team is having a lot of fun," Robinson said. "I'm having a lot of fun. We just hope to keep it going."

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