Cowboys Confident On The Road

With all the talk of conference realignment talk this week it seems like the national media has forgotten that two top 10 teams are set to square off in College Station, Texas, Saturday afternoon.

All the conference buzz is affecting the media, message boards and college football fans across the country. That said, there exists a place where the volume has been turned up louder than the realignment buzz - the Cowboys' practice field.

In preparations for a trip to always raucous Kyle Field, the Cowboys have been practicing with artificial crowd noise and they've turned the dial up to 11 in anticipation of perhaps the best home-field advantage in the conference.

"That's a heck of a place to play, there's no doubt about it," defensive coordinator Bill Young said. "They march the Corps in there and their crowd gets behind the team. It's a tough place and we have to get ready for some noise."

This group of Cowboys knows how to make a little noise of their own on the road.

OSU has won 10 of its past 11 road games and its six-straight wins is the third longest streak in the country.

Not only do these Cowboys know how to win away from home, they know how to beat the Aggies. The Cowboys are winners of three straight in the series, including last year's thrilling 38-35 victory in Stillwater.

That experience and confidence will be needed Saturday afternoon.

"It's a great home-field advantage. We've had success there and won before. Fortunately we have mature players and I expect them to play well," coach Mike Gundy said. "You never know, obviously some guys will be playing on the road for the first time but there should be enough leadership in our locker room and guys that when you get on the field between those lines, we're 11-on-11."

Even though the noise will be daunting for this matchup of top 10 teams, OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden said it's their ability to focus on what they can control on the field rather than the deafening noise that has led to their success on the road.

"I think that we're oblivious to what goes on around us," Weeden said. "Guys don't really think about the fact that we're on the road. We prepare the same way we do at home. We're basically like clockwork. It is like Groundhog Day every day. Every Friday and Saturday because we're on the same routine and the only difference is when we do something well, not as many people cheer. That's the only real difference and that is fine, we enjoy that."

But junior receiver Tracy Moore said there are certainly challenges in such a hostile environment but the offense has learned to communicate under the circumstances.

"When you play on the road, especially at A&M, it gets so loud that you can't really hear," Moore said. "You get that little ringing in your ear, but it just becomes noise. The game goes on. With all the reps we do in practice, it becomes natural. I don't pay as much attention to what the crowd does now as I did when I was a young guy."

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken agreed with his players' assessments of their reasons for success but he added that this is a very solid Aggie squad. Monken said in order for the offense to get rolling, it will have to avoid the types of plays that get the crowd involved.

"You don't want to go backwards. You don't want to give up lost yardage plays, you don't want to give up pre-snap penalties. You have to commit to what you're going to do offensively, you have to keep it simple, you don't want to have a lot of checks for your quarterback," Monken said. "If you look at last year at the start of the game against A&M - pre-snap penalties, lost yardage plays, quarterback getting hit - that's what they try to do, they try to disrupt your rhythm and try to get after the quarterback, which is smart.

"And they come from all angles; there's not one guy on their team that won't blitz. You have to be sound in everything you do and make sure you're able to run the ball and throw the ball with equal efficiency."

But this team isn't scared heading into College Station. In fact, sophomore running back Joseph Randle made a statement that exudes the confidence the Cowboys have on the road, no matter where they're playing.

"We don't care about their crowd," Randle said. "We're going to try and go in there and take the crowd away."


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