V-Mo the Key?

If there was ever a time for the Oklahoma State Cowboys to make a statement it would be this weekend. And, if there was ever a time for Vernand Morency to make a statement it would be this weekend.

The 20th-ranked Cowboys (6-1) get a chance to show just how good they are when they host the second-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (7-0) in a regionally televised game by ABC Sports on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium. In addition, ESPN's College GameDay with Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler will be broadcast from Stillwater for the first time ever.

Morency, the nation's third-leading rusher (1,153 yards), gets his chance to prove that Oklahoma freshman Adrian Peterson (1,023 yards) is not the only running back in the state who should be mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

"As long as we're winning I could care less about that other stuff," Morency said. "Talk to me after the season and I'll let you know. Right now I'm worrying about the (wins)."

Morency will be asked to do his part if the Cowboys are to defeat the Sooners on Saturday – making it three victories in the past four years over OU.

"The truth is our best players are going to have line up and play for us. And, some of our best players allow us to run the football," OSU head coach Les Miles said. "We're going to look at establishing the run like we do."

Morency is prepared to do his part.

"Whatever coach needs me to do, I'm willing to do," said Morency, who ran for a season-high 261 yards in the season opener against UCLA and has surpassed the 100-yard mark in all seven games this season. "The coaches have a game plan, whether it's pass 30 times or run 60 times."

"He's got to make some big plays for us," Miles said.

That's not going to be easy against a Sooner defense that ranks first in the Big 12 in rushing defense (allowing only 76.4 yards a game).

"It's the most talented and physical defense that we've faced," Miles said. "(They are) well coached, well organized. There's no obvious weakness. It's a tremendous defense, so it is the biggest challenge (we'll have faced thus far)."

"Every week is a challenge,"Morency said. "I don't care who we play, it's going to be a challenge. When you win, the games get bigger and bigger, so every week is a challenge."

Don't expect the Cowboys to back down. Not a team averaging 269.4 yards rushing a game (fourth best in the nation).

It all starts up front with the offensive line – left tackle Corey Hilliard, left guard David Koenig (or Corey Curtis if Koenig is unable to play), center Chris Akin, right guard Sam Mayes and right tackle Kellen Davis. And those guys must believe they can win the battle in the trenches for Morency got have success.

"If they can't do that, and they don't think that we we won't have success," Miles said. "It doesn't come to my mind that we can't run on anybody. We've been capable to this point."

Although Peterson may be receiving the national attention (gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago), don't even think about mentioning the word "underappreciated" in reference to Morency to Miles.

"He's appreciated very much," Miles said. "We know who we got, and we like him. He's been there for us. He's been dependable. He takes hard running, and he takes the easy gains.

"If it's in there, he's going to get it. If it's blocked for 3 (yards), he's going to get 5 (yards). I mean that's the way it is.

"He's a very good college back, I can tell you that."

Miles hasn't allowed the OSU Media Relations Office to do any promotion of Morency just yet. But that could all change by this time next week.

"I would guess that if he had a big day that somebody else will be beating that drum, and beating it louder than I could ever (beat it)," Miles said. "The table's set for Saturday to be a big day."

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