Sunday Rewind: Gundy Talks About Tough Loss

There were a lot of questions in Saturday's loss and blown opportunity for a road victory at Texas A&M. Among the questions asked were about the blocked punt that kept Oklahoma State from having a shot at the end, the problems on a late third quarter drive near the goal line that could have made a difference, the play of the defense in the second half, and the status of quarterback Zac Robinson.

In the end, regardless of the answers, one thing that must happen is that the football team move on towar this week's game at Nebraska.

The most glaring play in the final minutes of the 24-23 come-from-behind win by the Aggies was a roughing the punter penalty on Cowboy safety Quinton Moore. The Cowboys had the Aggies stopped at their own 35-yard line, forcing a fourth-and-five.

There was 1:57 on the clock and the Cowboys were still in possession of a time out. All they would need would be a drive to get kicker Jason Ricks a decent shot at a game-winning field goal. Several OSU players charged up the middle at the A&M shield punt formation and Moore appeared to try to jump over the shield and in doing so flew into A&M punter Justin Brantly, and referee Clete Blakeman threw the flag and ruled it a personal foul roughing penalty.

"We go after a punt every single game," Gundy said Sunday when asked about going for a block.

Actually, Gundy would not confirm a block was on, but if there wasn't a block on then several players got the wrong call. The Cowboys head coach also said they weigh several factors in deciding whether to put the block on or not.

He did say that the Aggies trouble on some punts with high snaps and the shank in the first half by Brantly weren't considered. He was not asked if the fact that Perrish Cox wasn't available to return the punt was a factor. Cox had some minor injury and was playing on defense at corner with it, but was taken off returns during the second half.

The decision of going for the field goal versus trying for a touchdown scoring play on fourth-and-goal at the 8-yard line with three minutes left and three time outs was not asked, probably because it was a strong call and would have worked like a charm if not for the roughing penalty.

The previous choice scoring opportunity came at the end of the third quarter with the Cowboys as close as six inches from a touchdown away after Dantrell Savage tried a leap over the goal line.

Where was Julius Crosslin and heavy or jumbo package in the situation? "We didn't go into this game with that," said Gundy. "We didn't have the heavy package in for the game."

While Gundy didn't elaborate the consensus of the offensive staff was that it was better to attack A&M outside the tackles than inside. But the question begs that Crosslin or even another back with the heavy personnel for blocking might have had a strong opportunity to score.

What really hurts is that the Cowboys didn't deserve to go home from College Station empty handed and disappointed. They did several things they really needed to do to win a major contest on the road. In the first half the defense held Texas A&M to 132 yards of total offense, really harmless yards as the Aggies couldn't get close. Of those 132 yards, 48 came on a desperation heave on the last play of the half. It was very close to being 84 yards of total offense at the half for the Aggies.

The offense ran the ball, protected the ball, and hit on big plays. The combination took the sixth-largest crowd in Kyle Field history of 86,217 out of it as OSU led 17-0 at half. The second half did not go as well, but the defense was not as culpable as you might think.

"After that first drive where they hit a couple of passes, we gave them a short field on the fumble by Savage," said Gundy. "Then they hit the big play that (Jorvorskie) Lane threw. I thought we tackled better. We had better proximity in the passing game, but they just had the nice play on the option pass. It was the best game for the defense."

It came with defensive tackles Maurice Cummings, Jeray Chatham and Tonga Tea playing a lot of snaps -- nearly 60..

"They wore down some and that was why A&M was able to run the ball better in the second half," said Gundy of the Cowboy trio. "We had nobody to put in and those guys are giving us a lot. I can tell you there were no effort problems at all."

Now to quarterback Zac Robinson, who was ruled out for the rest of the game on the sidelines and appeared to suffer some sort of head injury after a huge hit early in the fourth quarter.

"No comment on injuries," said Gundy when asked about Robinson. "We'll never comment on injuries.'

Later Gundy relaxed some on discussing Robinson. "I don't have any clue (on the injury) because I haven't seen them today," said Gundy. "I meet with them tomorrow. We'll have a better idea tomorrow morning where he is at. I thought he was fine on the plane on the way back last night, but that can change overnight."

It is unlikely that Gundy will be definitive on who starts at quarterback this week when the Cowboys make the trip to Nebraska. If it is Bobby Reid instead of Robinson, Reid handled himself well coming off the bench and hitting 6-of-9 passing for 72 yards.

"I thought he played pretty good, " said Gundy. "He had that one mistake where he should have thrown the ball away and took the sack. I thought he handled himself well."

Now the hard part, in which the coaching staff started Sunday, putting the game behind you and moving on. It could be easy to say, tough breaks, 3-3 record, season is over. Some fans are saying that, but fortunately, players and coaches regroup every week and have practice doing it.

"They were very disappointed," Gundy said of the players in the locker room on Saturday night. "It was emotional and disappointing with the players and coaches, and it's supposed to be that way. The coaches had to get over it when they came in this morning. The players have to get over it tomorrow morning."

Yes, they do because while this season is far from over, it is on the edge.

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