One day after the team’s biggest victory of the season, Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer requested a show of hands among players who were part of the program in 2011, when the Cowboys trumped their national title hopes with a November loss at Iowa State.
Three defenders raised their hands in that Sunday meeting, defensive tackle Vincent Taylor said.
What was Spencer’s point, heading into a Saturday contest in Ames, Iowa, that will carry significant playoff ramifications for No. 8 Oklahoma State (9-0, 6-0 in Big 12) and none for the Cyclones (3-6, 2-4)?
“That’s in the past now,” Taylor said, echoing Spencer’s sentiments. “We don’t want the same thing to happen to us, so we have to prepare and stay focused.”
OSU’s double-overtime loss to Iowa State on Nov. 18, 2011, proved to be the team’s lone setback in a 12-1 season that included a Big 12 title but no berth in a BCS national championship game that featured an SEC rematch between LSU and Alabama.
Saturday’s contest at Iowa State (2:30 p.m., ESPN) marks the final road trip of the regular season for these Cowboys, mirroring the situation that faced the 2011 team.
OSU coach Mike Gundy said he will spend much of this week trying to prevent players from reveling so much in last week’s 49-29 victory over TCU in a battle of then-undefeated teams that they overlook ISU.
“No question. All of those things factor in,” Gundy said. “As a coach, you try to weigh how much of that they’re actually listening to. At some point, they could believe that they’re better than they really are, but you also want them to enjoy their success and continue to build confidence.”
In regard to the challenge of playing at Iowa State, where the Cyclones hold a 3-2 record this season, Gundy said: “I’m not sure it’s tougher than anywhere else in the league on the road. It’s just a road game. The focus of our players will be really important.”