If Texas Is No. 1, Is OSU No. 1A?

Zac Robinson did not want to talk about moral victories after Oklahoma State's disappointing 28-24 loss to the No. 1-ranked Texas Longhorns. The Cowboy quarterback believes his team should have upset the Longhorns. Robinson, Dez Bryant (left) and the rest of the Cowboys certainly showed everyone that watched Saturday's nationally televised game that they are one of the nation's top teams.

It wasn't until Robinson's desperation pass from midfield on the last play of the game fell to the ground that the record-setting crowd of 98,518 inside Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium was able to breath a sigh of relief. The seventh-ranked Cowboys, now 7-1, certainly had the Longhorn players and coaches, all 98,000 of their fans, and a national television audiences attention throughout Saturday afternoon.

The Oklahoma State offense had two chances in the fourth quarter to drive for game-winning touchdowns after Dan Bailey's 39-yard field goal pulled the Cowboys within 28-24 with just under 13 minutes to play in the game. But the Cowboys were stopped on fourth down at their own 30-yard line with a little less than three minutes to play, and then took over on their own 1 with 33 seconds left on the clock.

Robinson scrambled for 13 yards and completed a couple of passes to Dez Bryant to get the Cowboys to the Texas 49-yard line with eight seconds remaining. The OSU junior quarterback then had to spike the ball because the Cowboys were out of timeouts, and the clocked stopped at six seconds on the clock. Robinson's pass on the last play of the game fell harmlessly to the ground as the Longhorns managed to hold on for their eighth victory of the season, and maintain the nation's No. 1 ranking.

"It just goes to show that if they're No. 1, then we're right there," said Robinson, who 17 of 26 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown.

OSU head coach Mike Gundy was pleased with his team's performance. The Cowboys battled back from a couple of 14-point deficits, including a 28-14 deficit midway through the third quarter.

"We were very proud of our football team. I'm as proud of this team as any team that I've ever coached," Gundy said. "They played well enough, and they played with enough effort, to win the game.

"The decision on a couple of play calls by me late (in the game) could have been better, (and) we told the team that. They deserved to win the game. They played hard. Not taking anything away from Texas because they made the plays in the end but our team had their backs against the wall several times, down by 14, backed up inside our 10-yard line and I think we were down by 14 again later and not in a good situation with third-and-long ...

"Texas is very good on offense and made some plays early in the game, and then our defense in the second half played as good as its ever played, and put the offense in position to score, kept it a one-score game, and then gave us a chance to win the game late," Gundy continued.

The Cowboys fell behind 28-14 when Texas quarterback Colt McCoy scored on a 3-yard draw with 8:10 remaining in the third quarter. But Robinson directed a nine-play, 78-yard drive – which included converting on a second-and-16 – with running back Keith Toston scored on a 1-yard run.

The Cowboys had a chance to tie the game after cornerback Jacob Lacey's made the first interception of a McCoy pass in any of Texas' five home games this season. Lacey's interception gave the OSU offense excellent field position at the Cowboy 42-yard line, and they drove to the Texas 19 before Robinson was sacked on a third-and-six play. Bailey came on to kick the field goal, pulling the Cowboys within 28-24, with 12:58 remaining.

Texas and McCoy (who completed 38 of 45 passes for 391 yards and two TDs) then used up more than seven minutes on the clock by driving from the Texas 22 to the OSU 10. On the 15th play of the drive – a third-and-six play – McCoy was under pressure by the Cowboy defensive line, and Ugo Chinasa stripped the ball from the Longhorn quarterback and defensive tackle Jeray Chatham recovered at the 10.

OSU moved out to the 30 but soon faced a fourth down. Instead of punting the ball back to the Longhorns with less than three minutes to play, Gundy gambled and went for it. But Robinson's slip-screen pass to Dez Bryant was read by a Texas lineman who made the tackle three yards behind the line of scrimmage.

That is probably one of the calls that Gundy wishes he could have back.

But the Cowboy defense wasn't about to let the Longhorns score again, even after McCoy's pass to Jordan Shipley gave Texas a first-and-goal at the 6-yard line. A few plays later, on fourth-and-goal from the 1, McCoy pass into the end zone fell incomplete. Unfortunately, the Cowboys took over on their own 1-yard line with just 33 seconds remaining. Five plays later game game ended on Robinson's pass.

"Our players are emotionally drained right now. Our coaches are emotionally drained. We didn't come here to finish second. There was no question in our mind that if we controlled the football, limited turnovers, forced them into turnovers, that we'd have a chance to win the game, but we just came up a little short," Gundy said.

"This team played very hard and we couldn't be prouder of them.

The Texas defense was allowing only 48 rushing yards per game, but Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston had little trouble running through the Longhorns. Hunter finished with 161 yards on 18 carries, including a 23-yard touchdown run for the Cowboys' first score of the game, and Toston ran for 30 yards on just six attempts. OSU ran for 217 yards against the nation's second-ranked rushing defense.

"I'm proud of Kendall (Hunter). I'm proud of the way (Keith) Toston came in as a back-up," the Cowboy head coach said. "I thought Zac Robinson played well. Without watching tape, I thought our offensive line blocked well. At the receiver position, they played a guy over the top of Dez every single play but he still managed six catches for 70 yards or so while being double-teamed throughout the game."

Gundy also talked about the play of tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who led the Cowboys with eight catches for 83 yards.

"He's not 100 percent but he's pretty good at 70 percent. He's in some pain right now. He deserves to be out there. He's a senior and he loves this football team, and this football team looks up to him as a leader. I think he caught everything we threw at him today," Gundy said.

"I thought overall the defense, even though (Texas) ran up some points and had some numbers ... but I thought our guys hit had. I thought that when they made plays we hit ‘em. I'm proud of that.

"These losses are very hard to take but that's what happens when you put yourself on this kind of a showcase. When you're in an environment like this when you're playing the No. 1-ranked team in the country, and you're ranked in the top 10 and there's a lot to play for, it's hard to take these.

"There aren't many teams in college football that win 14 games in one year and because of that you have to be strong, have great chemistry, which we do, and you have to realize you have to go to work every week. Nobody wanted to win the game more than we did, and we're extremely disappointed but we're not going to stay disappointed very long. I'm very proud of this team and very proud of the way they played."

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