The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

December 1, 2011

Cowboys feel pain of last year's close loss

STILLWATER — On his left wrist, Jamie Blatnick wears a reminder of just how close Oklahoma State came to finally breaking through against rival Oklahoma.

Inscribed in orange on a wide, black wristband are a series of numbers that refer to what he and his teammates view as a missed opportunity. With 2:51 left in last year’s game, the Cowboys trailed 40-38 when Oklahoma got the ball back.

Instead of getting a stop, Oklahoma State gave up Landry Jones’ 76-yard touchdown pass to James Hanna that put the game away.

“That close, man,” Blatnick said.

For a program that’s been overmatched by OU in most of their 105 meetings, close doesn’t cut it anymore for No. 3 OSU (10-1, 7-1 Big 12).

The 13th-ranked Sooners (9-2, 6-2) are the last ones standing between the Cowboys and their first-ever BCS bowl berth and first Big 12 championship. The school hasn’t won an outright conference title since 1948, when it only needed wins against Wichita State and Tulsa to win the Missouri Valley title.

With a convincing win, OSU might even be able to wiggle its way into the national championship game.

“It’s not like big OU’s coming to town and they’re way better,” Blatnick said. “I think we have the better team and I think we’re going to prepare extremely hard for them and I think that this game’s going to be a great game.”

Blatnick has worn the special wristband, which says “DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS” on the other side, since safety Markelle Martin got them for the team. He had been wearing it on the same wrist as one that reads “One Heart One Family” in memory of linebackers coach Glenn Spencer’s wife, who died during the season.

In the run-up to Saturday night’s Bedlam game, he switched it to the opposite side to serve as a more frequent reminder of what happened last season.

“That was just a rough game for us. Being so close and not getting it, it just hurts,” Blatnick said. “It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth and it’s been there all year long. I’m just excited for this. This is my last one, and we’ve got to get them. Absolutely have to.”

The Cowboys will be the higher-ranked team in the rivalry for the third straight year, but the last two have ended in disappointment. OU ended 11th-ranked OSU’s bid for an at-large BCS berth two years ago with a 27-0 shutout in Norman.

Last year, the Sooners won 47-41 in Stillwater to earn a share of the Big 12 South title. By virtue of a tiebreaker, OU went to the Big 12 championship game — and won it — instead of the Cowboys.

“I’m still upset about that one,” Blatnick said. “But this year, I feel like we’re practicing better. We’re more prepared than we were last year.”

The injury situation has flipped in the Cowboys’ favor this season after they had to play with quarterback Brandon Weeden and All-American receiver Justin Blackmon both at less than 100 percent last season.

The Sooners have lost their own All-American receiver, Ryan Broyles, and leading rusher Dominique Whaley to season-ending injuries. Starting defensive end Ronnell Lewis isn’t expected to play because of a sprained ligament in his left knee.

Yet OU still has won eight straight in the series, and 82 of 105 overall, including one victory that was forfeited later.

OSU still has to get over the hump.

“I think they’ve had a great season this year and I think they’re completely confident going into this game knowing that they’re going to win. We’re just as confident, too,” Sooners center Ben Habern said. “And so, overall, I think it’s going to be a close game, it’s going to be a good game and I think whatever team plays the hardest and holds onto the ball will probably win.”

OU coach Bob Stoops doesn’t buy into the talk his team should have a psychological edge because of the dominance recently. Of course, the Sooners also just lost to Baylor after winning all 20 of the previous games in that series.

“I’ve always been a firm believer and even in some other series where we might have had a run going that each and every year is its own unique body of work and you’ve got to earn it every single time and you’ve got to have a great week of practice and you’ve got to do what’s necessary in the moment, and in crunch time to make the plays that make the difference,” Stoops said.

“Does it give you confidence or an attitude that we’re ready for this? A lot of these guys were just here a year ago and have been in that moment that know what has to be done and how you’ve got to do it and be ready for it. So I think it gives them a sense of confidence that we can do it again.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Moving In? Indoor football coming back to Enid?

    Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers manager Mark Timberlake are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • OU logo color.jpg Probe into incident involving Mixon could last into next week

    The Norman Police investigation into the incident at Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe in which Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is an “involved party” could continue into next week.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Morris Claiborne Claiborne wants to prove worth to Dallas

    Morris Claiborne had already told reporters he was ready to prove he was worthy of Dallas’ dramatic move up the draft board to get him with the sixth overall pick in 2012. He didn’t waste any time showing some urgency.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tim Tebow NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far enough.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Attorney: OU's Mixon acted in self defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon said the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 29, 2014

  • OSU no longer faces APR restrictions

    NCAA officials say Oklahoma State’s football program no longer faces restrictions for the upcoming school year because its Academic Progress Rate has been amended.

    July 29, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-30-14

    July 29, 2014

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rice's punishment hardly fit the crime

    Two games, just over 12 percent of the 16-game regular season. Two games for hitting a woman hard enough to knock her out cold.
    Rice said Monday he will not appeal his suspension, which could wind up costing him $529,411 in fines and salary. And why wouldn’t he? He must feel like he got off scot-free.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SamBradfordpicturejpeg Bradford used to being at 'career crossroads'

    It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.
    Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • TU wins C-USA academic honor

    The University of Tulsa earned the 2013-14 Conference USA Institutional Excellence award by posting the highest grade point average during the 2013-14 academic year for all student athletes in conference-sponsored athletes, the school announced on Monday.

    July 28, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.