LUBBOCK (AP) – Oklahoma State is one game closer to taking on in-state rival Oklahoma to close a record-setting regular season and possibly play for the national title.
The Cowboys are No. 2 in the AP Top 25 for a second straight week, and coach Mike Gundy said he doesn’t think his players are looking beyond their game Friday night against Iowa State.
And he’s not changing his mantra.
“I haven’t had to mention anything other than one week ahead,” he said when asked if he’s heard any chatter from players about the game against the Sooners in Stillwater on Dec. 3. “I’d much rather have this pressure than sitting around and having a tough season and trying to find a way to win enough games to keep your head above water.”
The Cyclones were off this past weekend and will have had two weeks to prepare for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are 10-0 for the first time after blowing out Texas Tech 66-6 on Saturday.
The Cowboys, second in the BCS standings, haven’t beaten the Sooners since a 38-28 win in 2003 at home. Oklahoma State (7-0 Big 12) is off the Saturday before the Bedlam game.
Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1) also was off this past week and next plays Baylor, which beat Kansas 31-30 in overtime Saturday.
Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 423 yards and five touchdowns in gusting, swirling wind, and Joseph Randle ran for three more scores to give him 14 rushing TDs in the last 16 quarters.
Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper each had more than 100 receiving yards. Blackmon and Josh Stewart each caught two touchdown passes and Isaiah Anderson had one.
Weeden, who passed for more than 400 yards for the third time this season, said the win at Tech wasn’t a “nail-biter” like the 45-38 win over Kansas State last week. But he’s found a benefit to the early game time Saturday.
“I was really pleased with how fast we started and Coach Gundy really stressed that and the older guys were really stressing it and that’s half the battle with an 11 o’clock game,” said Weeden, whose performance overtook Zac Robinson as OSU’s career leader with 69 TD passes. “You have to get your body going and we were able to do that today.”
The Cowboys got three turnovers against the Red Raiders (5-5, 2-5) and converted all three. They led the nation in turnovers (31) coming into the game.
“I think anytime you can add a possession and win a turnover battle and add a possession or two and then score off those turnovers that’s huge,” Weeden said. “That’s just one less possession they get and it flips the script.”
Gundy is content with his defense’s progress this season.
“They have continued to work hard and there is a lot of leadership and they take a lot of pride on that side of the ball,” he said. “There is a lot of talk about them but as I said a few weeks ago, I think they are playing better than what most people would think they are.”
Coming into the game against the Red Raiders, the Cowboys’ total defense was ranked No. 110, giving up 461.3 yards per game. They held Texas Tech to a season-low 270 total yards and left the Red Raiders’ potent offense scoreless.
Weeden said his team knew how quickly Texas Tech’s offense could score.
“I was really happy for the guys on defense,” he said. “They didn’t give up a touchdown, they had a shutout (going) and they played great.”
Tech’s lone score came on a 37-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Cornelius Douglas. The Red Raiders were down 49-0 at halftime and their fans started leaving in droves early in the third quarter.
Iowa State (5-4, 2-4) has shown it isn’t intimidated by rankings. The Cyclones beat then-No. 19 Texas Tech 41-7 a week after the Red Raiders stunned the then-No. 3 Sooners 41-38 in Norman. The loss for Oklahoma broke a 39-game win streak at home.
The Cowboys’ close win last week gave offensive and defensive players confidence and focus.
“The win last week kind of proves that point because it was a really big win for us, but that’s part of when you make a run you’re going to have some ups and downs,” Weeden said. “The guys in the locker room never feel like we are out of it.”
Players are keying in on what they can control and Gundy couldn’t be more pleased.
“Our guys just keep rolling,” he said. “I think they understand they are responsible for what they do Sunday through Thursday and they have to go play hard on game days, which would be Friday next week.”
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