OSU prepared to handle deficits if needed
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Thursday, November 17, 2011
11/17/11 at 4:51 AM
STILLWATER - Your halftime score: Oklahoma State 301, Opponents 94.
During the first halves of 10 games this season, the Cowboys have outscored opponents by 207 points. While their fans savor what could become the most successful season in OSU football history, there hasn't been a great deal of drama.
Except for the first 2 1/2 quarters of the Texas A&M game and the Kansas State shootout, the undefeated Cowboys have had comfortable cushions.
Entering Friday's 7 p.m., ESPN-televised Big 12 contest at Iowa State, second-ranked OSU has played 600 minutes this season. The Cowboys trailed on the scoreboard for a total of only 48 minutes and 58 seconds.
In 300 second-half minutes, they trailed for less than 12 minutes.
With each victory, OSU inches closer to its first Big 12 title - and a berth in the Bowl Championship Series national title game.
Each week, the stakes get higher. Pressure intensifies.
If OSU stumbles early, dooming itself to a 17-3 deficit at Iowa State, will the Cowboys react as they did when trailing 20-3 at A&M and 24-14 against Kansas State? And in the Bedlam game, if Oklahoma bolts to a two-touchdown lead at Boone Pickens Stadium, can the Cowboys recover?
"I think we respond well (when trailing)," OSU center Grant Garner said. "I think our offense is built to score when we need it."
Recalling that OSU trailed Kansas State 38-37 with five minutes left to play, Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden said, "We were down. We said, 'Forget it. Let's go score.' And we did."
Only 29 seconds after the Wildcats took that 38-37 lead, jarring the largest crowd in Boone Pickens Stadium history, Weeden passed to wide receiver Justin Blackmon for a 54-yard touchdown. OSU held on for a 52-45 victory.
"From a confidence standpoint, we're in a good place," Weeden said. "What happened in the K-State game was one of the best things that could have happened to this team. We dealt with some adversity and got through it."
When asked whether he sensed fourth-quarter panic on the Cowboy sideline, coach Mike Gundy replied, "I heard the offensive guys say that they were going to score, and the defensive guys said they were going to get a stop. That's what you want your guys to say. It sure made me feel better."
Before Weeden connected with Blackmon for a go-ahead TD, and before running back Joseph Randle scored the victory-clinching touchdown on a 23-yard run with 2:16 remaining, Cowboy defensive tackle Nigel Nicholas says he wasn't hoping for touchdowns from his offense. He says he expected touchdowns.
"I always expect touchdowns. That's the way it is in this organization," Nicholas said. "It's a luxury to have the leading Heisman candidate as our quarterback. Justin Blackmon - I don't even need to tell you what he has done in his career. It's a luxury to have playmakers like that."
After trailing 20-3 against then-No. 9-ranked Texas A&M, Oklahoma State dominated the second half in a 30-29 victory. The Cowboys could have won by a larger margin, but a penalty erased Justin Gilbert's kickoff-return TD and Blackmon lost a fumble on what should have been a touchdown.
With a 17-point halftime deficit at A&M, Cowboy defensive coordinator Bill Young says he and other coaches reminded OSU players that they had beaten A&M a year earlier after trailing 21-7 at halftime.
"Our players believe that we can come back," Young said. "Hopefully, they'll continue to believe that."
Dealing with deficits
In six games this season, Oklahoma State never trailed. In four games, the Cowboys rallied from deficits. A review:
OSU at Tulsa, Sept. 17
OSU trailed 3-0 in the first period.
Go-ahead touchdown: Justin Gilbert 96-yard kickoff return.
Deficit time: 15 seconds.
Final score: OSU 59, Tulsa 33.
OSU at Texas A&M, Sept. 24
OSU trailed 20-3 at halftime.
Go-ahead touchdown: Tracy Moore 4-yard pass from Brandon Weeden.
Deficit time: 41 minutes and 27 seconds.
Final score: OSU 30, Texas A&M 29.
OSU vs. Kansas, Oct. 8
OSU trailed 7-0 in the first period.
Tying touchdown: Josh Cooper 12-yard pass from Weeden.
Deficit time: One minute and 49 seconds.
Final score: OSU 70, Kansas 28.
OSU vs. Kansas State, Nov. 5
OSU trailed 24-14 in the first half.
Tying touchdown: Moore 5-yard pass from Weeden.
OSU trailed 38-37 in the fourth quarter.
Go-ahead touchdown: Justin Blackmon 54-yard pass from Weeden.
Deficit time: Five minutes and 27 seconds.
Final score: OSU 52, Kansas State 45.
At Iowa State
7 p.m. Friday
Radio: KFAQ am1170
Original Print Headline: Cowboys prepared to make a comeback
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397