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Pressbox to the Couch – A&M



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Anthony Slater: Hostile crowd, top ranked opponent, 17-point halftime deficit and the Cowboys somehow pull off the win. There have been some important victories for this program over the years, but this one seems to be near the top of that list. You’re knowledgeable about the history of this athletic department, where would you rank this one?

Kyle Porter: This was the biggest win under the Gundy regime for sure, and I don’t think it’s really that close. The Mizzou game in 2008 was huge because they were No. 3 and OSU was still undefeated at that point, but that OSU squad was never going to win it all, so it didn’t mean as much at the end of the season. This year … well … who knows?

Is it the biggest win in program history? Tough for me to say since I’m only 26-years-old. I have to think the conference-ending win against Iowa State in 1976 was big since OSU split the conference title that year, but this has to be top three I’d say — at least.

One of my A&M friends told me the crowd wasn’t as venomous as usual, was it the heat? The 2:30 kick? Weeden doing Weeden things?

Slater: Right before kickoff it was about the loudest I’ve heard a stadium, and the noise was definitely a factor early on.

In the second half, the stadium was much more tame for a combination of reasons. I think the main reason was how confident they were. A&M was up 20-3 and it seemed worse. The fans relaxed, figuring it was going to be an easy win. Then, suddenly OSU was right back in it. Quick score, turnover, quick score, turnover. By then, the heat was becoming a factor, and A&M was giving the crowd no positive plays to get back in it. The way it played out was almost a perfect storm for the Cowboys.

Now that they have escaped College Station with a win, where is your excitement and optimism level at?

Porter: Well considering the fact that it’s going to take a medium-sized upset for OSU to not be 11-0 and playing OU on Dec. 3 to go to the national title, I’d say my excitement level can’t even be charted right now.

I’m worried by the Hedgepeth and Rush injuries and the trips to Austin and Columbia are obviously not cake, but this team had a look to it during the second half on Saturday. A look that said, “you better not let us come back and steal this win because we’re going to be tough to handle the rest of the way.”

What game should scare OSU the most?

Slater: Before every game, there will be plenty of arguments and worries on why this could be the trap game that derails the season for OSU. But with an explosive offense that is never out of any game, I only see two potential downfalls before Bedlam. It’s the two-game stretch you mentioned, where the Cowboys travel to Texas and Missouri in back-to-back weekends.

Of the two, Texas has to be the scarier one for OSU. Before the season, I would have said Missouri, but not with what has transpired. The Tigers are worse than we thought and Texas is much better. They have stability at quarterback again, incredible tradition, a tough road atmosphere and a talented defense.

Back to the A&M game. Honestly, what were your thoughts at halftime?

Porter: I really thought OSU just got run off the field in the first half. A&M looked like they belonged in the SEC and OSU looked like they belonged somewhere that wasn’t the SEC. It was a little unnerving to watch, especially since we haven’t seen this team struggle to that extent since the Cotton Bowl in January of 2010.

That being said, I knew they were getting the ball first and I knew if Weeden could string a few drives together they could crawl back in the thing and make it interesting late. I didn’t realize it would be “Justin Blackmon has to run out of the back of his own endzone for a 1-point win” interesting, but at that point who cares? OSU just went on the road against a top ten team, got knocked on the mat in the first half, and came up SWINGING in the second half. It was incredible to watch.

Who do you credit most for the comeback?

Slater: Not trying to cop out of that question, but it truly was a team effort.

OSU doesn’t win if the defense doesn’t have an incredible performance in the second half. Weeden obviously played great, but he needed a solid showing from the receivers and a quick-paced game plan from the coaches. That is what should make this win satisfying for the Cowboys. Everybody chipped in and in the second half, they looked like a legitimate contender.

Through four weeks, who are your top five teams? Predictions for title game?

Porter: 1. LSU 2. OU 3. Boise St. 4. Bama 5. Wisconsin

I have OSU at No. 6, but I have a hard time seeing them beating any of those five teams the majority of the time on a neutral field. Sure, they might sneak in four W’s in 10 games against Wisconsin, or upset LSU three or four out of 10 times, but I don’t see it progressing much beyond that.

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