Sunday Rewind: Ready For Next Chess Match?

Sure, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have another set of triplets or maybe the Cowboys have offensive sextuplets. There's quarterback Zac Robinson, running backs Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston, who are one-two rushing in the Big 12 Conference after Saturday, Dez Bryant at wide receiver, and Brandon Pettigrew at tight end. Let's see that is five, so where is the sixth?

The Oklahoma State offensive line gets in as the sixth of the sextuplets on offense. They are deserving as the Cowboys lead the nation in rushing at 340.2 yards per game.

That's a load of talent as Troy and its head coach Larry Blakeney will attest after the 55-24 beating at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday night. Blakeney called it a "good wood shedding" that the Cowboys put on the Trojans. It is one thing to have those weapons but it is another to use them in such harmony and precision that you carve up the opposing defense like a surgeon.

"If this were a chess game then Mike Gundy would have every Troy piece on the board and it would be game over," said Oklahoma State play-by-play voice Dave Hunziker just before halftime during the Cowboy Network broadcast of the game.

"We were effective in the plays we called and the adjustments we made throughout the game," said Gundy very matter of factly when asked how he evaluated the play calling and the coaching on offense during the game.

Gundy is a head coach right now that is very determined to keep his head about him as things are beginning to soar for his football program. The Cowboys are off to a 4-0 start and people like Hall of Fame college head coach and ESPN analyst Lou Holtz are passing out compliments.

"You can't forget Oklahoma State as they are playing offense as well as anybody in the country right now," said Holtz on Saturday night when asked to give his top five teams in the country. Holtz listed eight teams, saying it was too tough to narrow to five, and Oklahoma State was the eighth team he mentioned.

"Not really," Gundy said Sunday afternoon when asked if he was excited about comments like that. "I do not put a lot of stock into what those people say. It is good that he is saying that."

Oklahoma State debuted in the polls around noon Sunday with the Cowboys ranked 21st in the Associated Press and stand at 22nd in the USA Today Coaches poll.

"I have not," said Gundy when asked if he knew about the rankings. "I've been in here since this morning and I was not aware of that until you told me."

Gundy agreed that for the exposure, and especially for recruiting , the ranking will be welcomed. You get the sense that Gundy knows he will also, for the first time as a head coach, work hard to make sure his team doesn't read their rankings and believe they can just win on rankings.

That could be true this week with a Texas A&M team that is down and had to fight until the end Saturday to beat 0-4 Army at home at Kyle Field.

It will help that the Cowboys will be on the second week of a tour of vengeance. You could also say revenge but this team certainly knows that after an overtime win in Stillwater in 2006 and a come-from-behind win at Kyle Field last season that the Aggies have won a pair of games the Cowboys felt they should have won. This team works well in trying to get even.

"As a coach you always see where you need to improve," said Gundy, more enthusiastically than he spoke in applauding his team. "I like the chemistry of this team and the effort of the players. Now we are going to be playing teams that are bigger and stronger on both sides of the ball.

"We need to continue to play well," continued Gundy, sounding more enthused but still very reserved. "I am excited for the people that this program means so much to. The administration that has supported football, the players the way they have worked, and the fans, all the people that really come out and support our program. The assistant coaches that have worked hard. I am excited for those people."

This is no time to celebrate for Gundy. He has another opponent to get his team ready for and to bunker in meetings with his staff and get ready for another chess game. This one comes against a coach with fewer talented pieces but Aggies defensive coordinator Joe Kines is a veteran coach with an honored pedigree.

The 64-year-old Kines has been defensive coordinator at Jacksonville State, Florida, Alabama (twice), Arkansas, Georgia, and now Texas A&M. He has been a defensive coordinator 22 years combined. He was also interim head coach at Alabama when Gundy notched his first bowl win as a head coach. The Cowboys beat Bama 34-31 in the Independence Bowl. Kines just might have a little revenge on his mind, but more than likely he will be concerned with how to patch a leaky run defense.

Gundy won't take chances because as any chess player will tell you, every game is different and every player has his own tricks. There's no time to celebrate, just time to get ready for the next Master, and Kines is a Master, not at chess but at defense. Gundy is proving he is a Master at offense.

Fun Numbers
Oklahoma State Team Average Big 12 Rank NCAA Rank
Scoring 51.8 #2 #3
Defensive Scoring 21.8 #7 #53
Rushing Offense 340.2-ypg #1 #1
Rushing Defense 131-8-yapg #8 #56
Pass Offense 222.2-ypg #8 #53
Pass Defense 191.0-yapg #7 #45
Total Offense 562.5-ypg #3 #4
Total Defense 322.8-yapg #5 #42
Net Punt 41.7-ypp #2 #4
Punt Return 24.0-ypr #1 #1
Kickoff Coverage 44.7-ypk #6
Kickoff Return 23.6-ypr #5 #34
Field Goals 83% #7 #33
PAT 100% #1

Individual Rushing Average Big 12 Rank NCAA Rank
Kendall Hunter 154.5-ypg #1 #3
Keith Toston 92.0 #2 #40
Beau Johnson 63.0 #11 #92

Zac Robinson 212-2-ypg #8 #82

Passing Efficiency
Zac Robinson 192.4 rating #4 #5

Reception Yards
Dez Bryant 111.0-ypg #3 #5

Punt Returns
Dez Bryant 18.1-ypr #1 #9

Kickoff Returns 39.2-ypr #1 #4

GoPokes Top Stories