Will Cowboys or Jayhawks Regroup Quickest?

STILLWATER – Corey Hilliard knows how Bob Whitaker and David Ochoa – two of his counterparts on the Kansas offensive line – are feeling today. The Cowboys and Jayhawks both lost heart-breaking Big 12 Conference games in the final minute this past Saturday. Hilliard knows who wins when OSU travels to KU could be determined by which team gets over the hurt and disappointment the quickest.

Oklahoma State, 3-2, led by 10 points late in the fourth quarter before Kansas State rallied with two late touchdowns for a 31-27 victory. Kansas is now 3-3 after blowing an 18-3 lead only to see Texas A&M score with 34 seconds left for an improbably 21-18 win. The Jayhawks' other two losses have both come in overtime (at Toledo, 37-31 in double overtime, and at Nebraska, 39-32).

But don't tell Hilliard, the senior offensive tackle who will be making his 29th consecutive start when the Cowboys travel to Lawrence, Kan., that Whitaker, Ochoa and the Jayhawks are hurting more than he and members of the OSU offense.

"I'm still not over it, honestly," Hilliard said Monday afternoon. "That's probably the most painful loss I've had since we've been here. To me it was a must-win game, and it hurts. It still hurts.

"We've just got to put it behind us somehow. We've got another team this weekend. Sitting here and worrying about what we should have done is not going to help us. We've got to go out here and practice and get better for this next game," Hilliard continued.

That's exactly what Mike Gundy and the Cowboy staff plan to do, beginning tonight when the team returns to the practice field at 7 p.m.

"They understand that unfortunately this won't be the last time in life that something happens to them that they don't want to happen, or that's difficult to swallow," Gundy said. "And let me remind everybody that when we have players on this team that accept a loss, and it doesn't bother them for a couple of days, then we have a problem. Because anything that you work for and pay that price and put a lot into, as a coach or a player, and you don't achieve what you want, it should hurt. But I'm not worried one second about Corey."

The Cowboy defense will have to prepare to face either senior Adam Barmann or redshirt freshman Kerry Meier at quarterback for the Jayhawks. Barmann, who has completed nearly 55 percent of his passes for 813 yards, has started the last two games – the overtime loss to Nebraska and the loss to Texas A&M – after replacing the injured Meier, who is expected to be available this weekend.

But Hilliard thinks Saturday's outcome will be decided by a battle of wills – or the team that wants it more.

"They lost some close ones too. I watched the game against Toledo, a game which I think they should have won. Every week's a challenge, especially with this week. We're two teams in the same boat. We both need to win bad. It's going to be another dogfight," Hilliard said. "I'm sure they want it just as bad as we do. Nothing but our best effort is going to win this game - our best effort and our best preparation, watching film, putting this other game behind us."

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