OSU's 2008 Victory At Mizzou Was A Milestone

When looking for an exact date to point to for Oklahoma State's football renaissance, Oct. 11, 2008 is a good place to start.

No. 17 Oklahoma State traveled to Columbia, Mo., to face the third-ranked Missouri looking for a little respect and they found it, beating the Tigers 28-23 in arguably the biggest win of the Gundy era.

Jeremy Smith remembers sitting on his parent's couch in Tulsa and watching Kendall Hunter take a Zac Robinson pitch and explode up the right side for a 68-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys a 14-10 lead.

Hubert Anyiam remembers the two long touchdown grabs by former Cowboy receiver Damian Davis and also getting into the game for seven plays.

Jamie Blatnick remembers the OSU defense forcing three second-half interceptions, including Pat Lavine's late in the fourth quarter to seal OSU's victory. A turnover trend he's helped continue.

But regardless of what individual plays or performances are remembered from that day, the overall message remained the same — that was the day this program arrived under Mike Gundy.

"I was already committed to play here and I thought OSU was on the rise from way before that," Smith said. "Coach Gundy was already doing things and this program was headed somewhere. That game made other people take notice."

Gundy agreed in principle to what Smith said.

"It was a win against a quality team that had national recognition," he said. "Our players worked for that victory. From that point on we have played fairly well on the road. Things happen for a reason. I think our players understand that they're better because of that game."

Playing fairly well on the road might not be giving it enough credit.

Coach Gundy's teams were 6-12 on the road since he took over as head coach in 2005. When they went into Missouri and won, it changed the tone of the program, especially on the road. Including that victory, OSU is 13-3 on the road since with the only losses coming to Oklahoma, No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Texas Tech. The Pokes have won eight-consecutive true road games.

"That was a very big game. We went in there as an underdog and everybody thought Missouri was going to beat us, especially with it being a road game," Anyiam said. "We went in there and handled our business.

"That was a big program changing win. I think it's still the biggest win I've been a part of. At that point we were on the rise and we came out of that with a lot of confidence. Unfortunately the rest of the season didn't go as planned but that was a program changing win for sure. I really do believe it changed how we approached road games."

Now the Cowboys head into Columbia again, but return a much different program than the one that upset the Tigers in 2008.

OSU is ranked No. 4 in the BCS and controls it's own destiny should it win out. Anyiam and Blatnick are the only two Cowboys on the current roster who played in that game but others, like senior defensive end Richetti Jones, remember the impact it had.

"I think that game and that win was something that really showed us that we can do anything," Jones said. "We can not only play with anybody, we can beat anybody if we just work hard and stay together. I feel that's what happened that day. That day was confirmation."

Confirmation that the Cowboys had arrived, yes, but now the stakes have changed. OSU is an established national power over the past few years and has a different set of goals.

The Cowboys last went to Columbia looking for respect and found it. This time the Pokes are looking for respect again, but not simply from beating the Tigers. The respect they want is that of a national champion and the next obstacle in their way just so happens to be in Columbia.

And the focus is there, just as it was last time.

"In order for us to get the respect we want we have to win the whole thing," Jones said. "That starts with Missouri. We're ready to go."

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