OSU wins a rugged battle against Tech
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Sunday, November 15, 2009
11/15/09 at 7:02 AM
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STILLWATER — Oklahoma State's season has been about persistence and toughness.
"I've been as proud of this team as any I've been around in 19 years, just for them to overcome adversity and the distractions," OSU coach Mike Gundy said.
The Cowboys used the same formula in a hard-earned struggle against Texas Tech on Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium.
This was about who could win a battle of muscle and determination when the game was on the line in the fourth.
The Cowboys, with one of the top offensive lines in the country, took control up front in the second half and ran to a rugged 24-17 victory.
"We talked at halftime about being able to run the ball in the second half," Gundy said.
However, like most games between the Cowboys and Red Raiders, this wasn't over until the final seconds.
In the end, OSU's much-improved defense was up for one last stop, knocking down a pass near midfield with just a few seconds left in the victory.
"That was one of the better days for our defense around here," Gundy said.
It was a terrific and difficult victory for the Cowboys, who go to 8-2 on the season and are inching ever close to an attractive bowl date.
O-State, ranked 17th, won't have much time to rebound from the hard-hitting, unexpected defensive struggle. The Cowboys, who are trying to get to nine victories for the second straight year, will host to Colorado on Thursday.
"All we can do is get up in the morning and go back to work," Gundy said.
Zac Robinson, the key factor with his running in the second half, left the field in the final minutes after a vicious hit near the Tech goal.
"I know that was a big-time hit," Gundy said.
Even though Robinson fumbled on the play and gave Tech one last shot, it was his running throughout the second half that got control of the game.
Tech led 10-7 at halftime after winning a field position war in the first half.
But, OSU did exactly what it wanted to do in this game. The Cowboys followed the blueprint for beating the Red Raiders. They kept the ball away from them in the second half and ran the clock. OSU's first two possessions of the second half signaled who would win this game. State had drives of 19 and 15 plays to score 10 unanswered points and grab control of the game at 17-10.
Tech ran just six plays until less than 13 minutes remained in the game and it trailed by a touchdown.
That's the way you beat Tech. You don't let the Red Raiders have the ball and run all of those crazy plays.
The Cowboys were able to own this game because of the play of Robinson and the offensive line.
OSU ran for 243 yards, 207 of it in the second half.
OSU dominated the second half and appeared to have the game well in hand at several points late in the game.
Patrick Lavine's 21-yard interception return for a touchdown made it 24-10 with about eight minutes to go, but the Cowboys made a fatal mistake. They started feeling comfortable. Less than two minutes later, Tech had driven 80 yards and was back to within 24-17.
Now, the game was back in the hands of OSU's offensive line and Robinson.
Robinson, fabulous in the second half when he ran for 98 of his 99 yards, was the key player as OSU appeared on the verge of running out the clock in the finals seven minutes of the game.
And he would have finished off the Red Raiders had he not tried to get a few extra yards on a run near the Tech goal. Robinson and a Tech player had a big-time collision and he fumbled.
That gave Tech one last chance but OSU's defense, so good for most of this game, made one last stop in the final minute.