Redemption Saturday: Can OSU Beat A&M?

STILLWATER – Andrew Lewis, Keith Toston and their Oklahoma State teammates want to stop it – now! The OSU juniors are tired of losing to Texas A&M, especially games in which they believe they were the better team. The 21st-ranked Cowboys, 4-0, will get their chance Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium to avenge a pair of heart-breaking losses to the Aggies, 2-2, each of the past two seasons.

Kickoff for the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The Aggies rallied for an improbable 24-23 victory last season before 86,217 fans at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, after the Cowboys led 17-0 at halftime. OSU had narrowed the lead to one point with 3:11 remaining on a 25-yard field goal from Jason Ricks after facing a fourth-and-goal from the 7-yard line.

The Cowboys had a chance to get the ball back with 1:46 on the clock after stopping the Aggies on their next possession but OSU's Quinton Moore was flagged for a roughing-the-punter penalty which resulted in an A&M first down. A&M was able to run out the clock, and capture the win.

"You're more mad when you walk into the locker room (after a loss like that). Everybody is just kind of quiet, and nobody is really willing to talk," said Lewis, the Cowboys' starting guard from Joplin, Mo. "You just have to get past that. It's one of the worst feelings ever. Between that and the Texas loss last year, it's one of the worst losses.

"But hopefully this year it will be a lot better."

Last season, in College Station, wasn't the only time the Aggies rallied for a victory over the Cowboys. A year earlier, in 2006, Oklahoma State took a 27-20 lead with 3:24 remaining on Dantrell Savage's 60-yard touchdown run.

The Cowboys were just one play away from capturing the victory before a Boone Pickens Stadium homecoming crowd of 43,006, as the Aggies faced a fourth-and-13 from their own 32 with 1:33 left on the clock.

But A&M quarterback Stephen McGee completed a 17-yard pass to Jorvorskie Lane for the first down, and the Aggies scored the tying touchdown with three seconds left. In overtime, both teams scored touchdowns but Ricks' point-after-touchdown kick was blocked as A&M won 34-33.

"It left us with a little bit of a sickness in our stomach," said Toston.

"We were winning that game early (last season), and even late we had a chance to come out and score to win the game," said the Cowboy running back from Angelton, Texas. "We really can't look at last year. We just have to try to go out this year and try to be successful.

"It's been a learning process for the last two years. It's been up and down, up and down. Last year there were several games that we could have won in the fourth quarter but we couldn't quite put it together. I feel like this year we're a whole lot closer as a team, and we're going to try to eliminate those mistakes."

Gundy hopes his team learned from those losses to the Aggies. "I know that they did not like losing down there. They did not like losing being that far ahead (a year ago)," he said.

Lewis, a member of the offensive line for OSU's No. 1-ranked rushing team (averaging 340.25 yards through the first four games of the season), thinks the Cowboys have learned from their past miscues against the Aggies.

"You learn you can't make stupid mistakes, like we did," said Lewis. "You learn you can't make mistakes and you've got to play hard all four quarters because you never know when they're going to come back to bite you.

"I feel like the team has more confidence. I think our offense and defense are playing at a higher level than we were at this time last year."

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