Zac Leads Cowboys To Victory

STILLWATER – Zac Robinson saved one of his best performances at Boone Pickens Stadium for what all Cowboy fans hope is going to be his next-to-last game at home. It would be disappointing if Oklahoma State's starting quarterback the past three years is unable to play in Thursday night's home finale against Colorado. Robinson deserves to be honored following Saturday night's performance.

The fifth-year senior from Littleton, Colo., was outstanding in rushing for 99 yards – his best rushing outing in more than two years – in helping the 17th-ranked Cowboys to a 24-17 victory over Texas Tech in front of a Boone Pickens Stadium crowd of 52,811.

OSU improves to 8-2 and keeps its BCS hopes alive, while Tech falls to 6-4 with the loss. Executive Editor Robert Allen watched Robinson walk out of the locker room in good shape late Saturday night, and the OSU quarterback was preparing to get his school-provided meal and meet with his family following a scary situation late in the win over the Red Raiders.

Robinson was helped off the field with 1:38 remaining in the game after suffering a devastating hit from Texas Tech cornerback Jamar Wall while attempting to score what would have been a game-clinching touchdown. Wall's hit at the end of Robinson's 9-yard gain inside the Tech 5-yard line led to Robinson fumbling the ball and left both players motionless for several moments.

Members of the training staffs from both benches rushed onto the field to assist the two players, and Wall initially sat up and was helped off the field. Robinson lay still for several minutes while OSU team doctor Val Gene Iven and team trainer Rob Hunt, along with other training staff personnel, attended to him. He eventually sat up and was helped off the field by Hunt.

The Red Raiders recovered the ball and the Cowboy defense – which was outstanding all night – came back on the field to make one last stand. Tech drove to the Cowboy 49-yard line but quarterback Taylor Potts' pass was dropped by Tramain Swindall on a fourth-and-four play with just 16 seconds remaining. OSU backup quarterback Alex Cate came on to take the snap on the game's final play.

Robinson had rushed for just 258 yards and was averaging only 2.7 yards a carry in the Cowboys' first nine games of the season. But he ran for 99 yards – the most in the past 25 games (since he ran for 116 yards against Texas Tech on Sept. 22, 2007 – and averaged 5.2 yards per carry against the Red Raiders.

"I just kind of looked at all the doctors and they just nodded their heads to say he'll be OK, and that made me feel good," OSU head coach Mike Gundy said in his postgame news conference of Robinson.

"They went through all the precautions. One thing that comforted me somewhat was that they got him up and walked him off.It makes me feel a lot better. Our medical staff is obviously top notch, and if there are any concerns they cart you or board you, which everybody hates to see. But that made me feel good … I know that was a big-time hit (by Wall).

"I have a lot of respect for the Texas Tech coaches and the Texas Tech players who came over (to check) when Zac was down. I think that shows a lot of class … especially the defensive coordinator (Ruffin McNeill) who walked all the way out onto the field to check on him," Gundy continued.

Gundy was asked if he thought Robinson would be able to recover in time to play Thursday night against the Buffaloes. "That's hard for me to say. Our medical staff is going to take every precaution for Zac. Without talking to them with what has transpired … my guess is that for the next couple of days he won't be out there," the OSU head coach said.

The Cowboy offense struggled in the first half against the Red Raiders, gaining just 95 yards and rushing for only 36 yards on 21 attempts but still just trailed 10-7 at halftime.

But the second half was a different story, beginning with a 19-play (14 rushes), 73-yard drive that used 8:08 off the clock and led to Dan Bailey's 26-yard field goal to tie the game 10-10. The Cowboy defense forced a punt a few plays later, and Robinson and the offense came back on the field. This time, they marched 66 yards in 15 plays (12 rushes) to take a 17-10 lead on Keith Toston's 1-yard scoring run. Robinson had carries of 1, 13, 19 and 6 yards on that drive.

As important as those two drives were, the last drive – in which Robinson fumbled the ball after the hit from Wall – was even more important. The Red Raiders had just driven the length of the field in just a little over one minute to pull within 24-17 when the Cowboys took over on their own 25 with 6:59 left in the game.

Robinson led an 11-play drive that forced Texas Tech to use its final two timeouts and all but clinched the victory before the fumble with 1:38 remaining. The OSU quarterback had kept the ball on a second-and-10 play from the 14-yard line and could have slid to the ground for a game-clinching first down but he wanted more than just a first down, he wanted a touchdown.

The Cowboys finished the game with 333 total yards (243 rushing and 90 passing) after having just 95 at halftime. They rushed for 207 yards in the second half, and had 238 total yards in the final 30 minutes. Robinson led all Cowboy rushers with 99 yards, while Toston added 76 yards on 22 carries and Kendall Hunter contributed 68 yards on 17 attempts.

"Hopefully, his head's OK and I can pound on it a little bit (for not sliding to the ground)," Gundy said with a laugh when asked why Robinson didn't slide to the ground before fumbling.

"He ran tonight like he did when he was a sophomore. He was able to accelerate and convert key third downs and keep drives alive, (and) because of that we were able to win the football game. There were times where we were ineffective in running or moving the football, and his ability to scramble was the difference," Gundy added.

Hopefully, it will be the difference again Thursday night when Cowboy fans get one final opportunity to show their appreciation to Robinson.

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