Are We In A Time Machine?

STIILWATER - After Saturday night's game the Allen family went to dinner at Aggie's Big House. It was great because Matt Fodge and his family were also there. So were the Baileys, eating with their son and OSU kicker Dan Bailey and his girl friend. It was a festive scene that the Allens were happy to experience. Then while we were waiting on dinner, my daughter, Katy, asked a question.

You see Katy just turned 17 this past week and she is by far the most emotional of Cowboy football fans in the house. A loss can send her into the depths of despair only a teenager can relate to, and a win means a smile that won't come off the face for days.

Katy is also pretty football savvy and I will match her against most boys her age and adults too. She can draw up defensive coverages from cover zero to cover six. She knows more than a few fronts, understands zone blitzes and zone dogs, and the difference between "Wheeler" and "Steeler" blitzes. She also knows offense but defense is more fun for her. That is what made her question so astute.

"Dad," she started, "was this what it was like in 1988?"

I started to say, "Bite your tongue, little girl." I wanted to say that Superman, aka Barry Sanders, was playing for the Cowboys and with Sanders we knew there was a chance to beat everybody. Then before I shut her down on her question I started thinking and the more I thought the more I began to think that this does feel a little like 1988.

Zac Robinson plays the role of Mike Gundy, and he plays it perhaps even better than Gundy. Robinson is taller and faster than Gundy the player. He might not be as football smart as Gundy, but that's okay because he has that with Gundy on the sideline. Robinson throws well enough, 16-of-21 for 254 yards and three touchdowns in the revenge win over Troy. He also carried 11 times for 39 yards on the ground, the most for Robinson since last season.

"We were excited to play this game and everything was clicking on offense," said Robinson. "It felt good to get out there and run and get hit a little bit. They (running backs) are playing great right now and I feel like whoever is in the game on offense for us right now is going to make a play and they continue to do that."

Dez Bryant plays the role of Hart Lee Dykes, and again, the current performer is better than the former player. Dykes was taller but Bryant is faster and more explosive. The win over Troy gave Bryant his second 100-plus yard receiving game of the season, and the fourth of his career. His three touchdowns tied his career high set earlier this season against Houston. He is already up to 1,066 yards receiving as a sophomore ranking him in the all-time receiving top twenty at OSU.

"I think he is really good," said Troy head coach Larry Blakeney. "He is a Sunday guy, I don't know what round and all that kind of stuff, but he runs fast and he catches the ball."

As previously mentioned, the 1988 Cowboys had Superman in cleats in Sanders. But the 2008 team has a rare combination in Kendall Hunter (24 carries for 169 yards), who had his fourth 100-yard plus game of the season, and Keith Toston (17 carries for 114 yards) had his second 100-yard plus night.

The pair each had two touchdowns and Beau Johnson also played well with eight carries for 20 yards. It's a three-headed monster at running back and in this case three might be able to equal one really great runner. If they don't, that's okay too, because we didn't mention that All-Big 12 tight end Brandon Pettigrew will be available for Texas A&M.

Pettigrew suffered an ankle sprain in practice during the open week. It was kept fairly quiet but while he practiced during the week, the conservative approach was to hold him out of the Troy game so he'd be ready for conference play and not risk re-injuring it which could have cost him a bunch of games.

"(Troy) last year was like my first game coming in here and I didn't know what to expect," said Hunter of his 125-yard game last season at Troy. "We came together in this game and talked as a team that we were going to handle the business. We mostly help each other every day, talking to each other, making suggestions. We (running backs) aren't selfish."

The "War Pigs" are being played by a veteran offensive line consisting of center David Washington, guards Steve Denning and Andrew Lewis, and tackles Brandy Bond and Russell Okung. They really have that part of it down pat.

"Our offensive line continues to get better each week," said Gundy. "Those guys are in great physical shape. Rob Glass does a tremendous job with them. They run a lot in practice. They don't even know it but they are in great shape and can play hard for 50, 60, 70 plays."

"Well, it was pretty obvious that we got a pretty good wood shedding tonight," said Troy head coach Larry Blakeney. "(They have) one of the best offenses we've faced period. They are a good, very prolific offensive football team They can do about anything. The quarterback really is the catalyst, but they've got talent running the zone play and the other runs they have. They've got a great player at wideout. The offensive line, they are pretty good, obviously, they blocked us all night long."

I know even with the coach's compliments you're thinking you can't compare it to '88, but you can. The 612-yard total offense and the 358 yards rushing remind you of that season in more ways than one. The three straight games of over 500 yards can only be equaled by the 1988 team.

2008 1988
Washington State 39 points and 367-yards
Houston 56 points and 699-yards
Missouri State 57 points and 545-yards
Troy 55 points and 612-yards

Miami (Ohio) 52 points and 548-yards
Texas A&M 52 points and 471-yards
Tulsa 56 points and 545-yards
Colorado 41 points and ? yards

With the Missouri State game featuring three running backs all going for more than 100 yards, the Houston game featuring the 200-yard back (Hunter) and the 200-yard receiver (Bryant), and the Troy game another two backs and one wide receiver going over 100 yards, this season is producing some crazy accomplishments including now six scoring drives on offense under a minute and against the Trojans, an 11-play, 99-yards touchdown drive, all runs that burned up 5:25.

"We're looking for two first downs in that situation," said Robinson of that drive that started on the one-yard line. "But then we get two first downs and the line is blocking everything well and the backs are running hard and anytime you can get 99 yards on the ground like that it makes my job easier."

"We're trying to take steps here and do things better than ever before in this program," said Gundy. "For them to do things so well without Brandon Pettigrew and Jeray Chatham out on the field I was very proud oif them."

Maybe Katy isn't that far off. Maybe this is the start of one of those special kind of seasons, and maybe 1988 isn't such a crazy comparison.

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