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December 2, 2011

Five keys for OSU to break losing streak

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State is listed as a 3-point favorite.

Forget it.

History gives No. 10 Oklahoma an advantage heading into Saturday’s game at Boone Pickens Stadium. The winner claims the Big 12 Championship.

The No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-1, 7-1 in the Big 12) have never won a Big 12 Championship, never beaten OU with Mike Gundy as head coach and sport just 17 victories in 105 tries. Their last victory was a 38-28 win in 2002.

If that’s not enough, Oklahoma’s defense allows 20.8 points per game (first Big 12) and 373 yards per game (second Big 12).

The Cowboys also are coming of their first loss, a 37-31 double overtime loss to Iowa State on Nov. 18. The loss all but eliminated their hopes for a national title.

All is not lost.

Gundy said his players have put the Iowa State loss behind them. They have practiced well and are excited to play Saturday on national TV.

“There’s a lot of excitement in this state for the game. Obviously, we don’t have professional football here and it’s a fun week for everybody, but our players and our coaches have to stay focused on the task at hand,” Gundy said.

How can Oklahoma State beat Oklahoma, win the Big 12 title and a berth in a BCS bowl game?

OSU fans may find hope in these keys:

n Balance: Oklahoma’s defense is aggressive — attack, attack, attack. The Sooners pressure quarterbacks and force mistakes. The Cowboys must counter with a balanced attack. They have to mount enough of a running game to make the OU defense think run first, rush the passer second.

“They don’t want you to run it. They don’t want you to throw it,” OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. “The real challenge is to try to keep that from happening. If you can, you have a shot.”

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