Is Robinson Ready For Big Game Atmosphere?

Zac Robinson began preparations Monday for the biggest game of his young career. But this past weekend he got a taste of what he may experience Saturday when Oklahoma State hosts the 12th-ranked Texas Longhorns at Boone Pickens Stadium. Robinson returned to his home in Colorado on the Cowboys' weekend off and attended Game 3 of the World Series involving the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox.

But the Littleton, Colo., resident knows that sitting in the stands watching is completely different than participating on the field. Robinson was redshirting the last time the Longhorns made the trip to Stillwater. He watched as rallied Vince Young led Texas back from a 28-9 halftime deficit with 35 unanswered points in the second half for a 47-28 victory. A year ago, he was on the sideline in Austin as Texas defeated OSU 36-10.

The Cowboys have lost nine in a row to the Longhorns since winning 42-16 in Stillwater during the 1997 season.

"Any time you play the University of Texas it's a big game," said the Cowboys' 6-3, 205-pound starting quarterback. "They are playing well right now. They're not in the national title hunt like they've been in previous year but they're still a very good football. Defensively, they're playing great. We'll definitely have our hands full, but we're looking forward to it."

Just eight weeks ago, after a disappointing season-opening 35-14 loss to Georgia, OSU head coach Mike Gundy said that his team wasn't ready for the big time. In the last five games – four wins and a one-point loss to Texas A&M – the Cowboy offense has been rolling along. OSU, with Robinson behind center, is averaging 39.4 points per game since opening the season 1-2.

Robinson, who rushed for a career-high 116 yards against Texas Tech and followed that up with a 16-carry, 109-yard performance against Kansas State, is one reason for that success. But another major reason is the return of Dantrell Savage from an early season injury.

Savage is the Big 12's leading rusher (124.3 yards per game), and has rushed for 691 yards over the last five games.

"I think Dantrell makes a big difference," Gundy said when asked about the offense's improvement in recent weeks. "I get asked the question a lot but I'm not sure what the answer is other than when he's healthy he obviously provides us with something on offense that we need. Obviously Dantrell can make plays and when he's up and running full speed we're a different team. If he's not full speed, obviously we're probably not the same offense."

Robinson said, "It's been big to have (Dantrell) Savage back. Ever since we've had him back our offense has kinda sparked. Being able to run the football takes a lot of pressure off me."

But the pressure will be placed directly on Robinson's shoulders Saturday afternoon when the Longhorns make the trip to Stillwater. Texas only allows 94.1 rushing yards per game (14th best among all Division I schools) and is allowing its opponents less than 20 points per contest (28th best in the nation).

Although the Cowboys are averaging 256 rushing yards per game (fifth best in the nation), it may be the passing arm of Robinson that determines whether the Cowboys can break the nine-game losing skid to the Longhorns. He has completed 101 of 179 passes for 1,509 yards while throwing 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His passing efficiency rating of 143.4 is 23rd-best in the nation.

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