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Archive for Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Oklahoma State feels KU’s pain

Cowboys, Jayhawks enter Saturday’s showdown on heels of similar humbling setbacks

October 10, 2006

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One coach is accepting the fact Saturday's loss keeps eating at his team. The other is asking his squad to kick it out of the memory bank and move forward immediately.

Either way, both Oklahoma State and Kansas University's football teams have to be a little hungrier this week, after both had crushing defeats when victory seemed imminent Saturday.

The Cowboys (3-2 overall, 0-1 Big 12 Conference play) fell to Kansas State, 31-27, after leading 27-17 late. Offensive lineman Corey Hilliard said Monday that he's "still not over it," and OSU coach Mike Gundy seems OK with that.

"When we have players on this team that accept a loss and it does not bother them for a couple of days, then we have a problem," Gundy said. "Anything you work for, pay the price or put a lot into - as a coach, player or anything - and you do not achieve what you want? It should hurt."

Kansas had an equally painful setback, falling to Texas A&M, 21-18, when the Aggies scored a touchdown with 34 seconds left. The difference may be that it's old hat for Kansas - three times this season, the Jayhawks have lost games they led in the fourth quarter. Late-game problems have sprouted in past years, as well.

The Jayhawks (3-3, 0-2) returned to practice Sunday before taking Monday off. And coach Mark Mangino was pleased at the initial response, just 24 hours after being punched in the stomach by Texas A&M.

"I thought the tempo was good," Mangino said of Sunday's workout. "I told the kids after practice that I liked the way they approached things. The kids are hungry for victory. They're not looking so much behind them as they're looking forward."

Two starving teams could make for great football, and that'd be nothing new for KU. The Jayhawks have played six games this season, and five of them have come down to the last possession. As with any coin-flip situation, Kansas is hovering near .500 in those games, too - victories over Louisiana-Monroe and South Florida, and losses to Toledo, Nebraska and Texas A&M.

This week, though, there are similarities in each team's situation. Like Kansas, the Cowboys have lost two in a row after a promising start.

And both are heading into this game wondering how the last one could've possibly gone wrong.

"Every week is a challenge," Hilliard said. "Especially this week with two teams in the same boat.

"We both need this win bad. It's going to be a dogfight."

¢ Baylor game set: KU's game at Baylor on Oct. 21 will start at 2:05 p.m. from Floyd Casey Stadium and not be on television.

It will be the second straight week Kansas isn't on TV, after four straight weeks of televised games. Saturday's game against Oklahoma State isn't on TV, either.

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