To keep its slim bowl hopes alive today, Oklahoma State will have to do something it has not done this season.
Ã¢ÂÂWe are not winning on the road, and in order to be successful ÃiÂ¿Â½" in order to get to a bowl ÃiÂ¿Â½" you have to win on the road,Ã¢ÂÂ linebacker Terrence Robinson said. Ã¢ÂÂWe have Kansas in Lawrence, and it will be important for us to go and play a good game and come up with a win.Ã¢ÂÂ
TodayÃ¢ÂÂs 1 p.m. game at Memorial Stadium is the season finale for Kansas (2-9, 0-7 Big 12 Conference), but OSU (4-5, 2-3) has three games remaining. After todayÃ¢ÂÂs road game, the Cowboys play host to Baylor (3-7, 1-5) and Oklahoma (8-1, 4-1).
Oklahoma State must win two of its final three games to become bowl-eligible. KU and Baylor are at the bottom of their divisions, and OU slipped a half-game behind South leader Texas (9-1, 5-1) after losing last week at Texas A&M.
Oklahoma State defeated Oklahoma in its season finale last year at Norman, Okla., in a game that did little for OSUÃ¢ÂÂs postseason chances ÃiÂ¿Â½" the Pokes finished 4-7 ÃiÂ¿Â½" but cost OU the Big 12 South title.
Ã¢ÂÂThere is no doubt that these guys are not going to let up on us,Ã¢ÂÂ said Robinson, who is OSUÃ¢ÂÂs fifth-leading tackler. Ã¢ÂÂIt was a great feeling to go to Oklahoma and win in our last game, and that is how Kansas will see it. They will come out and play their hardest and get ready to build on the upcoming season.
Ã¢ÂÂWe expect them to come out and play a tough game and give us their best effort. We know that it will be a dogfight, so we have to go play our best game.Ã¢ÂÂ
This season, the Cowboys have saved their best for Lewis Field. OSU is 4-1 in Stillwater, Okla., and 0-4 everywhere else.
The disparity confounds coach Les Miles, whose team has lost at Louisiana Tech, at Texas, at Kansas State and at Texas Tech.
Before last weekÃ¢ÂÂs loss to the Red Raiders at Lubbock, Texas, the Cowboys had posted consecutive home victories against Nebraska and Texas A&M.
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂve never been around a team that didnÃ¢ÂÂt enjoy going on the road at least in some ways,Ã¢ÂÂ he said. Ã¢ÂÂJust the idea that you can take a small group of guys and band together and make, depending on the size of the crowd, some number of people very unhappy with your good play.
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂve always enjoyed it, every place IÃ¢ÂÂve ever coached or played. WeÃ¢ÂÂve played some very good teams. We played two very good football teams in Kansas State and Texas Tech. It might be a combination of who we played as well as being on the road.Ã¢ÂÂ
Two more victories would give the Cowboys their second bowl berth in 14 years and first since 1997. Postseason dates didnÃ¢ÂÂt used to be scarce for Oklahoma State, which played in six bowls in the 1980s.
Ã¢ÂÂBecoming bowl-eligible is not on my mind,Ã¢ÂÂ Miles said. Ã¢ÂÂRight now, itÃ¢ÂÂs Kansas, and we will worry about those situations later. There is a lot of fun in winning a football game. We havenÃ¢ÂÂt been in this position for a number of years and thatÃ¢ÂÂs a great motivating factor long-term. If you spend time idly thinking about where you may end up, you might not end up anywhere at all.Ã¢ÂÂ
Miles has several weapons at his disposal against a Jayhawk defense that ranks last in the Big 12. Junior Rashaun Woods leads the league with 1,000 receiving yards and is tied for the lead with eight touchdown catches.
Sophomore Josh Fields needs 119 yards to become the second quarterback in school history to pass for 2,000 yards in a season. Junior tailback Tatum Bell has been a force of late, rushing for 490 yards in his last three games.
Ã¢ÂÂI am very impressed with Tatum Bell,Ã¢ÂÂ OSU lineman Sam Mayes said. Ã¢ÂÂHe has learned a lot more about how to follow his blocks instead of relying on his speed to go to the outside. He has learned how to run between the tackles.Ã¢ÂÂ