Oklahoma State broke into the Top 25 for the first time in four years thanks to one of the nation’s most prolific offenses. It’s hoping to be just as successful in Big 12 play despite a frustrating recent history against its next opponent.
The 21st-ranked Cowboys look to avoid a fifth straight loss to Texas A&M when the teams meet on Saturday in Stillwater.
The Cowboys (4-0) come in having outscored their opponents by an average of 30 points, and have scored more than 50 in each of the past three games for the first time since the first three games of Barry Sanders’ Heisman Trophy season in 1988.
Oklahoma State ranks third in the nation in points per game (51.8) and fourth in total yards per game (562.5).
A 55-24 win over Troy last Saturday moved Oklahoma State into the Top 25 for the first time since 2004. Zac Robinson was 16-of-21 for 254 yards and three touchdowns to Dez Bryant, while Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston each rushed for two scores.
The Cowboys had 612 yards of offense, the eighth-highest total in school history, including 358 on the ground. Hunter, who ranks third in the nation in rushing yards per game (154.5), had 169 on 24 carries while Toston had 114 on 17.
“To me, the sky is the limit for our offense,” Toston said. “We just have to make sure we get better every weekend and are ready to play on Saturday.”
Toston, who is second in the Big 12 in rushing yards behind Hunter, struggled last season and was benched before undergoing knee surgery in November. Coach Mike Gundy is pleased to see the junior’s growth.
“He has really matured as a player,” he said. “He has a knee injury, which is a real downer for an athlete. It’s like having a bird dog but never taking them hunting. They just mope around all the time because they like to hunt. It’s the same for an athlete. They like to go play.
“He lost that for a little while but he really reached down deep and has done a nice job coming back.”
Gundy’s team is looking for its first winning record in conference play since going 5-3 in 2003. The Cowboys have also lost four straight and 10 of its last 12 meetings against Texas A&M, including one-point losses in each of the last two seasons.
Oklahoma State led 20-10 after three quarters on Oct. 6 before falling 24-23 to the Aggies.
“It’s always going to be on your mind that the team beat you, but you shouldn’t go out there looking for revenge because you would be too worried about the revenge and not the task at hand,” wide receiver DeMarcus Conner said. “We just need to go out there and play our game and play like we’ve been playing. Everything else will take place.”
Conner and the Cowboys look to take advantage of Texas A&M (2-2), which has averaged 21.5 points in its first four games. The Aggies have played three of their first four games at home and are coming off a 21-17 win there over Army last Saturday.
Quarterback Stephen McGee was 7-of-9 for 104 yards and a touchdown before leaving in the second quarter after reinjuring his shoulder. The senior sprained his shoulder against New Mexico on Sept. 6, and sat out the following game against Miami.
Coach Mike Sherman, in his first full season with the Aggies, said McGee is day-to-day. Jerrod Johnson was 6-of-10 for 53 yards one touchdown and one interception in place of McGee.
Sherman said regardless of who starts Saturday, the offense needs to improve.
“There’s things we can do better, there’s no question about it. From everybody’s perspective,” he said. “We’ll continue to work and evolve as an offense - there’s some things we can do and some we probably can’t do.”
Texas A&M won its last game against a ranked opponent, beating then-No. 13 Texas 38-30 on Nov. 23. Sherman replaced coach Dennis Franchione, who resigned after that victory to end five disappointing seasons in College Station.