|ESPN.com: Big 12||[Print without images]|
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
IRVING, Texas -- Watching the video of the Holiday Bowl isn't a very pleasant for Oklahoma State linebacker Andre Sexton or many of his teammates.
The Cowboys still cringe when they watch Oregon charge through them in the second half to claim a 42-31 comeback victory, ripping though their defense for 307 rushing yards and 7.7 yards per carry as the Ducks charged back from a 10-point halftime deficit.
"It really was embarrasing," Oklahoma State linebacker Andre Sexton said. "It really was embarrasing because that quarterback (Oregon's Jeremiah Masoli) made our players look like they had never made a tackle before. That was pretty sad."
But that disappointment helped spur a tougher attitude for the Cowboys all spring. Sexton said that late collapse has spurred them throughout their workouts.
"You get back to the fundamentals of tackling," Sexton said. "You've got to take away what you can and continue to grow and get motivated for the next season. It's been emphasized every day during spring ball. We've gotten back to smash-mouth football -- the roots of good hard-nosed football."
OSU coach Mike Gundy said that having another team dominate his team late in the game brought a significant attitude change for his team.
"What happened to us against Oregon is they hit harder than we did and were tougher than we were in the fourth quarter," Gundy said. "Up front they beat us on both sides of the ball. As a staff we were very disappointed in ourselves in our preparation. And our players were disappointed they outhit us in the fourth quarter."
That game has sparked a point of emphasis for the Cowboys over the last several months.
"I was a quarterback, but I always played with Pat Jones," Gundy said. "Toughness and discipline and structure and being hard-nosed is important to me. That's not been an issue of us being outhit most times. We've been a tough football team, but we weren't in that football game."
One OSU player who Gundy can't fault in that game was OSU quarterback Zac Robinson, who sustained a separated shoulder early in the third quarter but remained in the game.
"I threw about 50 in the game and probably 20 of them came after the injury," Robinson said. "It hurt every time and I had no arm strength. My arm was done after that. I could throw it 35 yards, but it didn't have much zip on it."
Despite the injury, Robinson was determined to remain in the game and was there until the end as he threw a career-high 50 passes.
"I just kept struggling through it and telling them I was fine," Robinson said, chuckling.