September 25, 2008

'This game actually messed up my life'

Adding insult to injury.

If there's a better phrase to describe last season's 41-23 debacle against Troy, it hasn't been created yet. The game had all the makings of a trap - and it was. National television game. Road trip against one of the better mid-major programs. A change at starting quarterback. Looking back, how did anyone miss this as potentially being a disaster?

Flash forward a season. Things seem almost in reverse. No TV. Home game. Starting QB long since established. Will Oklahoma State be able to get some revenge?

That remains to be seen. But this much is clear: the Pokes are eager to take on the Trojans again and fully put that loss behind them once and for all - though they say they're treating it as just another game.

"It's going to be just another game for me and the rest of the team," Zac Robinson said. "I haven't really thought a whole lot about (that game). It's a year from when I made my first start or team I first started against, but it definitely left us with a bad taste in our mouth last year and we're excited to have them come play here."

And to fully back up the injury part to the final score's insult, look no further than David Washington, who suffered a broken leg in last season's meeting.

"Oh yeah, it's been a bad taste in my mouth," he said. "This game actually messed my life up. I was on course but I didn't even get to have a junior season really, and the loss on top of that just didn't sit right. I just want to go in and correct it."

He'll have that chance Saturday night, as the Trojans make a return trip to Orange Country. And with the Cowboys sitting just outside of the AP Top 25, a win coupled with some losses ahead of them could crack OSU into the rankings next week.

"That'd be nice," Washington said. "We haven't been ranked here in a long time. That'd be really good to be ranked and whatnot, but either way if we're ranked or not ranked, we're still going to fight. That's just how our mindset is."

And the Cowboys have had plenty of time to prepare for this one. After their win over Missouri State, OSU had a bye week to focus on the Trojans. That's given Robinson and the offense time to fine-tune some things.

"Just everything from taking care of the ball and ball security and things like that," Robinson said. "Offensively, just tempos and just overall running our offense and putting in some stuff for Troy. So it was good that we got a week to kind of game-plan for Troy and now we'll kind of fine-tune those things we put in and maybe put in some wrinkles."

This game brings Robinson full-circle. Last year, he got his first collegiate start against Troy. At the time, it was a bold move by head coach Mike Gundy to switch away from Bobby Reid to the then-sophomore from Colorado. But one year later, it's definitely seen as the right choice. Washington agrees and says that Robinson has changed since that game.

"He's grown a lot," Washington said. He has all of us around him have grown and that just provides a unique situation. I think he's a better leader and just takes control (now)."

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