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Published: November 03, 2007 11:57 pm    print this story   email this story   comment on this story  

How much can one football fanbase take?

Roger Moore - NewsPress

It’s almost too much to take, hearing that Twilight Zone music playing as it happens in front of you.

There’s not enough antacid in this community for Oklahoma State football fans, as they were witness to another gut-grinder at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

This Saturday started with such promise: an appearance by Challenger, the first bald eagle in U.S. history trained to free-fly into sports stadiums; a fly-over by four F-16s from the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s 138th Fighter Wing piloted by OSU alums; and 41,000-plus amped-up fans entertaining thoughts of playing in San Antonio the first Saturday in December.

Instead, it was an all-too-common Halloween horror flick with Texas rallying to beat Oklahoma State, 38-35.

It looked like the Pokes may have delivered the knockout blow with 8:40 to play in the third quarter when a wide-open Adarius Bowman sprinted into the end zone for a 35-14 lead.

Moments earlier, UT was driving to possibly make it 28-21 when Jacob Lacey intercepted his third pass of the game, a call that needed an official review.

Derek Burton’s sack on third-and-7 ended Texas’ next drive and a Matt Fodge punt put UT at its own 1-yard line for its next series.

All the breaks were going OSU’s way.

However, when UT scored to make it 35-21, the discomfort of 2004 and 2005 returned when Mack Brown’s squads scored 38 unanswered in ’04 and trailed 35-7 at halftime in ’05.

Jamaal Charles’ 75-yard burst with 7:30 to play in the game cut the Cowboys’ lead to 35-28. It ended a 99-yard drive.

An advantage that was 35-14 with 8:40 to play in the third quarter was gone in that Vince Young nightmare that just won’t go away for OSU football fans when it comes to Texas orange.

And then Jordan Shipley got behind Lacey for a 61-yard reception and Vondrell McGee’s 1-yard run, and an extra point, tied the game with 3:22 remaining.

Most O-State fans knew the outcome when Jason Ricks’ 32-yard field went wide right.

On a third-and-11, Colt McCoy’s scramble gave UT a first down at the 27-yard line with :19 to play. Ryan Bailey put the final nail in the coffin with a 40-yard field goal that sent fans to the parking lots in a dazed and confused state of mind.

24 unanswered points, all coming in a 311-yard fourth quarter for the Longhorns. It was the kind of comeback that probably made a lot of people in attendance want to puke.

During a 7-6 campaign in 2006, O-State lost four games on the final play. But they turned that around with one final drive to beat Alabama in the Independence Bowl. Ricks’ field goal was the difference last December and it sent OSU into the offseason with thoughts of something special for 2007.

The loss at Texas A&M stung — not as much as this one — but OSU responded with a dominating victory at Nebraska a week later. The Kansas State victory, another down-to-the-wire affair, put OSU in position to compete for a Big 12 championship.

Split with Texas and Kansas and beat Baylor and the Bedlam game on Thanksgiving weekend turns into the Big 12 South title game.

Did you hear that? Split with UT and KU, beat the Bears and go give everything you have in Norman.

So, believe it or not, there is still a possibility for O-State to win the South. Win three games and get a little help from A&M or Tech and this rollercoaster of a season would be more than adequate for a Twilight Zone script.

Kansas made Tom Osborne’s decision a little easier with a 76-39 beatdown of the Huskers. It pushed the Jayhawks’ record to 9-0 with a date with the Cowboys at Pickens Stadium next Saturday.

As if OSU fans needed anymore nightmares, consider the possibilities of losing to the Jayhawks. Mike Gundy’s third team would face the prospect of going to Baylor with a 5-5 record. Beat the Bears ... lose to the Sooners ... and take a 6-6 record to the bowl committees with a possible eight or nine teams bowl eligible in the Big 12 Conference.

Can you imagine this team not qualifying for a bowl?

Unfortunately, unless the Pokes find a way to deliver a knockout blow, this season could be remembered as one of the most disappointing in many years.

Much like the days after the Troy loss, we’ll find out soon enough if this Cowboy team has some fight in it.

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