September 4, 2009

Georgia on their minds: OSU players want revenge?

One of the biggest non-conference games in Oklahoma State history is almost here.

In just a matter of hours, the Cowboys will play host to the Georgia Bulldogs in a matchup of two highly ranked teams that will be in competition for their conference's championship and a BCS bid as well.

Yes, it's very early in the season - the start of it, in fact. But coming out of the day 1-0 could mean a whole lot of bonus points down the line.

This game has been on the radar of OSU players since the end of last season. These days, it's not often you see two quality BCS programs go head-to-head in their non-conference schedules. But here they are, the No. 9 Cowboys and No. 13 Bulldogs, getting ready to bash helmets.

"I'm tired of talking," Andrew Lewis said. "We've talked about this game since January so I'm ready to get to business and see what happens Saturday."

These two teams met back in 2007. In that one, the two played a relatively close first half, before UGA ran off to secure a 35-14 win.

"That was my first start two years ago," Lewis said. "I can remember not playing well and I have it in the back of my head that I want to play well this year and play well for the team."

This week, players admitted remembering the hard lessons learned in Athens, but didn't go so far as to say that this installment is all about revenge.

"I don't know if it's revenge," Zac Robinson said. "I wouldn't look at it like that. But we do feel better coming into this game than we did two years ago for sure. Obviously playing at Georgia was a tough task and we're much more talented now and we feel good about where we're at."

The program has come a long way since that 2007 meeting. Andre Sexton remembers that night well. He said the program just wasn't ready to compete against a big-name opponent at that point.

"I think that when we went down there I don't think the team was ready," Sexton said. "I don't even think the coaches were ready for all of that national attention that was going on and how to take on the game as a whole."

But, as said before, OSU football has come a long way since then.

"As our team was put into that spotlight many times last year, that our players and our coaches know how to react and learn to not focus on the stuff going on outside of the game but just worry about what we can control inside of the game," he said.

That game was a lost opportunity for the Pokes, who wound up going 6-6 in the regular season before beating Indiana in the Insight Bowl. But now the Cowboys are home and arguably have the stronger team - the situations seem almost reversed.

"I'm pumped that it's finally here," Robinson said. "There's no question that we've been waiting for this one for a long time. I remember two years after we played them and everybody was talking about how we'd get them when they come back to Stillwater."

Now they have their chance.

"I feel like we're there," he said. "Our team, from a talent standpoint compared to '07 is not even comparable. I feel like we're a talented team and we've been through a lot as a team and last year was great for us playing in big games and playing well in big games. So I expect the team to come out Saturday and forget about all the hype and stuff like that and just be ready to go."

Now it's time for the Cowboys to giddy up and prove it.

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