Will the 'Horns add insult to injury?

Coming off a Sooner thrashing, Oklahoma State faces a showdown with Texas and its Micheal Vick reincarnate quarterback. Vince Young improves every week, and Saturday, he will attempt to run the table against a banged-up Cowboy defense. Advantage UT: Bevo may be able to escape the dinner plate again this season.

Take a trip back in time this Saturday.


Watch No. 21 Oklahoma State and No. 11 Texas collide in Boone Pickens Stadium.

No doubt it will sport the physical play and hard-nosed running of successful teams of yore.

No wishbone, not much option, but plenty of grinding.


Texas and OSU are ranked ninth and 11th nationally on the ground, respectively. The Longhorns put up 221.6 rushing yards per game, and the Cowboys 220.3.


On the flipside, both rank poorly against the run. OSU's 56th-ranked rush defense gives up 142.8 per game, and Texas allows 153.7 yards, 64th nationally.


Not enough background?


Saturday night's game will also feature three of the Big 12's most prolific rushers. OSU's Tatum Bell has worked for 1,203 yards and 15 touchdowns in what amounts to eight games this season, good enough for second in the country.


Meanwhile, Longhorns Cedric Benson and Vince Young have combined for 1,385 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground.


Enough said? Not really.


All the stats suggest a tight game, but the deciding factors aren't in those numbers. Frame of mind, health and time of possession.


Texas, at this point, wins all these battles.The Longhorns have built confidence by trouncing No. 19 Nebraska 31-7. In that game, Benson and Young became the first pair of Longhorns to post more than 150 yards a piece in the same game.


"Young is one of those guys, athletically, that I don't know if anyone has asked him to do something that he cannot do," OSU coach Les Miles said. "When he gets the ball in his hand and he goes to improvising, mmm, he's very special." 


On the other hand, the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners committed genocide on the Cowboys' confidence, handing them a 52-9 reaming.


Still recovering?


"Anytime that you have sincere effort, you can't just discount the game and say, ‘Oh, just go on,'" Miles said. "It makes for great print, but it's not necessarily the case."


Even tougher to move on when three important defenders leave the game with injuries. Against the run, OSU will have its hands full with linebackers Pagitte McGee and Victor DeGrate along with cornerback and Thorpe Award semifinalist Darrent Williams all leaving the OU game with injuries.


"We're banged and bruised off that game, but it doesn't appear that there's anything major," Miles said. "It remains to be seen if any of the nicks will stop them from playing this Saturday."


The question remains, will they feel 100 percent healthy? Decidedly, all will not. That leaves the Cowboys with one completely healthy linebacker, Paul Duren, and five of their top 11 tacklers with various degrees of hurt.


Five games in, OSU lost linebacker Lawrence Pinson (Still ninth on team in tackles) for the year.


Earlier that week, safety Elbert Craig (11th in tackles) tore his ACL in practice, but has since returned – definitely not 100 percent.


Now, DeGrate (7), McGee (8) and Williams (5), who will all play, might not hit optimal health by Saturday either.


The Longhorns are healthy.


And they control the clock with slight advantage over the Cowboys at 29:41 of offense per game to OSU's 27:30.


Yes, a home crowd can make up for a lot, but it will take more than 48,000 bright-orange T-shirts to down the school with the most doped-up mascot in college football.


It is possible Bevo's pink elephants will cheer a Longhorn victory on Saturday.

Along with the freelance work he does for GoPokes.com and the O-State Sports Report, Matt Palmer is the OSU football beat writer for the Enid News and Eagle. You can reach Matt at datguy01@hotmail.com


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