Big 12: Frank Robinson

Cowboys' Robinson pressing on without Bryant, Hunter

October, 15, 2009
10/15/09
5:44
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin


You might not recognize their names -- yet.
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
Zac Robinson threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score against A&M.

But Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson said his group of runners and receivers who have taken over in the absences of Dez Bryant and Kendall Hunter has played well so far.

The Cowboys’ makeshift rotation came up big in their 36-31 victory at Texas A&M last week. And they likely will use them again this week as Hunter shows no signs of immediate recovery from his foot injury and Bryant remains ensnared in his NCAA suspension.

“We have some other players and everybody is doing a little bit more,” Robinson said. “And the guys who are going out there are just getting a little bit better.”

Keith Toston emerged at running back, producing a game-high 130 rushing yards and adding two receptions for 74 yards. And a rotation of receivers headed by Hubert Anyiam, Dameron Fooks, Tracy Moore, Justin Blackmon and Wilson Youman combined for nine catches for 192 yards as they capably filled in for Bryant.

“Look around the league and there’s always something that’s going on,” Robinson said. “Coach Gundy always stressed that the next guy has to make the most of his opportunity to make plays. Our guys have embraced that and have the ability to step up. They feel good about where they are at and their opportunities.”

It was a traumatic week for Robinson and his family, even discounting the Cowboys’ football injury woes. His grandfather, Frank Robinson, passed away last week after being diagnosed with a brain tumor two months earlier. His grandson told him goodbye for the last time earlier in the week when he visited him at an Oklahoma City hospital.

Robinson paid tribute to him by wearing the words “Press On” written on his eye black strips at the A&M game.

“That was always a saying he had for my family,” Robinson said. “Every time I saw him, he would tell us to ‘Press on.’ That was my tribute to him.”

And much like their quarterback, the Cowboys are doing the same as they try to keep winning with the substitute skill-position players around him.

“That game was huge for us,” Robinson said. “Texas A&M is always a huge game for us and under the circumstances with his death and all of the injuries; it was good for us to get a big win. Our offense play well and we were excited to get the win. A lot of guys got more confidence. We feel good where we are at.”

Despite the heavy emotion, Robinson threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score in his personal tribute to his late grandfather.

"Believe it or not,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told reporters after OSU’s victory, “there are a few more things more important than college football. Family is one of them.”

The Cowboys will attempt to build on that victory Saturday night against Missouri. An OSU win would keep the Cowboys undefeated in South Division play and keep the tam on pace with the Texas-Oklahoma winner as the divisional favorite.

Last season, Oklahoma State gained national credibility when they stunned then-No 3 Missouri in Columbia in a 28-23 upset.

That triumph helped catapult the Cowboys on a 7-0 start that saw them raise as high as No. 7 in the national polls.

“The Missouri game was huge for us,” Robinson said. “It jump-started our season and put us on the map of where we are now. Going up and winning that game was a huge confidence booster for the team. And it’s helped us out ever since.”

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