Robinson, Bryant Hurting After Bowl Loss

Zac Robinson has been outstanding as Oklahoma State's starting quarterback the past two seasons. The junior broke the school's career total offense record in Tuesday's Holiday Bowl despite playing most of the game with a separated shoulder. Given the choice between a win over Oregon or the school record, Robinson would have much rather left San Diego with a win and not a 42-31 loss to the Ducks.

Robinson accumulted 383 total yards (330 passing and 53 rushing) to become Oklahoma State's all-time total offense leader with 7,786 yards, breaking the previous record of 7,749 held by current Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy (who played from 1986-89).

Gundy said after the game that Robinson suffered the shoulder injury in the second quarter and played in pain the rest of the game.

"Zac became very inaccurate late in the game. Zac got an AC (shoulder) separation and he played through it, and I admire him for playing through it. As a quarterback, knowing when you get an AC separation than you're going to lose velocity on the ball and your accuracy is going to get cut down dramatically.

But he wanted to play and they said he could go ahead and play with it if he could take the pain," Gundy said of Robinson, who attempted a career-high 50 passes, completing 27 for 330 yards, including a 33-yard scoring toss to Dez Bryant in the first quarter.

Bryant, the sophomore receiver from Lufkin, Texas, set Holiday Bowl records for most catches (13) and most yards (167), but he suffered a knee injury in the second quarter. He came back to play and made a huge 31-yard catch that led to a Cowboy touchdown in the third quarter, but he aggravated the injury on the play and was used as a decoy for much of the fourth quarter.

"You'll never hear us make excuses about injuries at any time because it doesn't matter anyway.," Gundy said. "Ultimately you have to be productive. But (Robinson) chose to stay in the game, and we thought that we'd come so far with him that we owed him that opportunity. It was difficult for him but he continued to fight and stayed in there with everything he had.

"I think (Robinson's injury) was the second quarter and it continued to get worse as the game goes on. He had a grade two (separation), which is a pretty good separation. Now it's not going to affect him in the long run but he's not going to overthrow people like he was overthrowing them in this game. That's not going to happen," Gundy continued.

"But he was able to come back and make some plays, and he gave us the ability to run some option. So we left him in and tried to run some option. We could have took him out but I think when you're in a situation like that as a coach you owe it to the guy who got you there. So we gave him the opportunity to finish the game."

With Robinson and Bryant both healthy the Cowboys scored on their first three possessions of the game to go up 17-7.

Oklahoma State took a 3-0 lead on Dan Bailey's 45-yard field goal on the game's first possession. A few minutes later, Robinson teamed up with Bryant on a 33-yard catch and run for a touchdown, capping an 11-play, 99-yard drive, to give the Cowboys a 10-0 lead. Then Kendall Hunter's 3-yard dive into the end zone for a touchdown after taking an option pitch from Robinson gave Oklahoma State a 17-7 lead with 1:03 still remaining in the first quarter.

At that point, the Cowboys not only led 17-7 but had 205 yards of total offense. The OSU offense would have only 269 yards in the final three quarters, while Oregon got going behind the nation's fourth-ranked rushing offense (which averaged better than 277 yards on the ground).

Oklahoma State was averaging 256 rushing yards a game and had the nation's sixth-best runner in sophomore Kendall Hunter, but it was the Ducks who won the battle on the ground. Oregon running back Jeremiah Johnson (119 yards) and quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (106) each rushed for more than 100 yards, and LaGarrette Blount (74) as the Ducks ran for 310 yards against the Cowboy defense.

Hunter, who had run for 100 yards or more in nine of the Cowboys' 12 regular season games, finished with a season-low 36 yards on 13 carries. The Cowboys averaged just 3.2 yards on the ground (117 yards on 37 carries) after averaging 5.6 during the season.

"They were more physical than we were in the second half ... on both sides of the ball from the middle of the third quarter on," Gundy said. "We couldn't run the ball. They were playing more people than we were up front, they were playing down low because they knew that Dez wasn't full speed, and we weren't physical enough up front to run the ball. And then defensively they were much more physical than we were. Really both sides of the ball we weren't physical enough.

"They were just more physical than us in the second half in running the ball and stopping the run. That's just a fact. That's what happened," Gundy continued.

The Cowboys were attempting to become just the fourth team to win 10 games in the 108 years that the school has been playing football and finish the 2008 season with a 9-4 record. Oregon wraps up the season with a 10-3 record.

"I'm very proud of our football team. I'm not very happy with the way we tackled late in the game and I'm not very happy with the way we were unable to run the football, but overall this year I'm very proud of what they were able to accomplish, the way they played, and the way their carried themselves," Gundy added.

"The true sign of a man is how he handles adversity, and these players need to understand that. No one hurts more than the players and the coaches. We feel sorry and we feel bad for the Oklahoma State people who traveled out here and we didn't win the football game. The only thing we know to do as coaches and players is we're going to have good body language, we're going to hold our heads up and we're going to move on.

"I told the seniors that I hated that we couldn't send them out on a winning note but they have a responsibility. They have a responsibility to continue their education, then go out there in the real world and be as successful as possible, and they'll be a part of Oklahoma State football forever."

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