Sunday Rewind: Sure Sign Of Success

There was a little talk on the Sunday teleconference with Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy of his team's 34-8 win over Iowa State because it didn't take long for the conversation and questions to shift to this week's opponent Texas Tech. That is a sure sign that things are moving along well. When all the talk is forward then there wasn't much for the media to pick over on Saturday.

The Cowboys will host the Red Raiders this Saturday night at 7 at Boone Pickens Stadium on ABC Sports. While the Cowboys were moving to 7-2 overall, 4-1 in the Big 12, with the win at Iowa State, Texas Tech (6-3/3-2) had the weekend off.

As for the win over the Cyclones, Gundy said the tape revealed what was pretty apparent on Saturday in sunny Iowa.

"The defense played well," said Gundy. "They tackled well and stopped the run. On offense we blocked it well up front and I was pleased with Andrew Mitchell in his first start at offensive tackle. Keith Toston ran hard and had a really productive day. Zac (Robinson) made good decisions, and overall I felt good about the way we played."

Oklahoma State comes out of the win over Iowa State with little improvement in the polls. The Cowboys are now 17th in the Associated Press poll while staying at 18th in the USA Today Coaches' poll and holding at 19th in the BCS standings.

Bowl possibilities are a conversation now and Oklahoma State will be going to a record fourth in a row. One source confirmed that the Fiesta Bowl still has its eyes cast on Oklahoma State. If Texas remains undefeated and wins the Big 12 Championship game, the Longhorns will take a spot in the BCS Championship, and if OSU wins out and climbs into the top 13 in the BCS standings then look for the Fiesta to seriously work for the Cowboys.

If not, the Cotton Bowl looks extremely strong and the Holiday is also in the mix. The Big 12 athletic directors meet for the first time by teleconference on bowls this week with the bowl reps.

Gundy wasn't talking bowls on Sunday, but elaborated on Mitchell's play while filling in at right tackle for Brady Bond, who has a sprained ankle.

"We liked him and we felt good about what we thought he would do," said Gundy of the senior that was a junior college All-American at Snow J.C. in Utah. "We've had two guys (Okung and Bond) play about 40 straight games at offensive tackle, but Mitchell has worked hard the last five or six weeks and has shown signs that he can make plays. You're not sure, but we felt good about it and he proved that we should have."

As for the offense, which featured 473 yards and a whopping 331 yards on the ground, Gundy had good words on everybody but said this about Keith Toston and his 206 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.

"He got a significant amount of his yards after contact," said Gundy. "Since (Kendall) Hunter got hurt, Keith has come in and done the job and hasn't said much of anything. He has just played well and done his job especially on the road."

Gundy was happy to get Hunter back in the mix. Hunter had nine carries for 47 yards and had three catches of 12 yards.

"It was good to get him back out there," said Gundy. "We had talked during the week and thought we could get him eight or nine carries and I think that is about what he had. He's not running near where he was the middle of last season. It was good to get him out there to compete. He gave us something and made a few plays."

Besides those questions much of the rest of the 10-minute conversation focused on Texas Tech, beginning with Gundy being asked about his pass defense improving and his thoughts on Texas Tech and also about getting back to Big 12 South play where it feels like every game except Baylor is against a rival.

"They're all the same, each week," said Gundy. "The next game is always the biggest. The focus of each player and the need for hard work is so important each week."

For Oklahoma State there is plenty to still play for, especially with a BCS bowl still possible, with a chance for a 10-win season and then with a bowl win a never before experienced 11-win season. That is why a sure sign of success is looking ahead and not looking back on Sunday.

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