September 10, 2009

Cougar Trap? OSU needs to stay focused after win

The big game has been won by the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

So... what now?

With the first game of the 2009 season being the Georgia Bulldogs, it was pretty easy to see why it was talked about for months and months. The Dawgs are one of the big boys in college football, with a great tradition to their credit. So UGA leaving the South to come to Stillwater was big talk amongst those in Orange Country. It was arguably the biggest non-conference home game in OSU's history. All the talk and hype was warranted.

But with that game over and in the books, the fans and team must move on from the Bulldogs. In the case of the Cowboys, that means trying to shift their focus to the Houston Cougars, who prowl into Stillwater at 2:30 on Saturday for a contest televised on Fox Sports Southwest.

"Oh yeah, I've been so tired about preparing for Georgia and talking about Georgia," Donald Booker said. "All summer we had Georgia stuff up on the wall and all this and hear them talking about us. I'm just glad we have them under our belt."

Now the Pokes have someone else to focus on. And this game has a much different setup for the No. 5 Pokes (1-0). In the Georgia matchup, the OSU defense went up against a new starting quarterback. Against UH, they must face Case Keenum, a junior who is on the Davey O'Brien watch list for 2009 and has a cannon for an arm. Last year, he passed for 5,020 yards with a 67 percent completion percentage and 44 touchdowns. Add into that only 11 interceptions, and you have an experienced gunslinger who can direct an offense and not make many mistakes doing it. Last year in Stillwater, Keenum had a great passing night, going 35-of-61 with 387 yards and four touchdowns.

He's just one reason why head coach Mike Gundy told the team after the UGA win to be alert going into this week.

"I told the team this, that the toughest game will be the next one for us," he said. "They need to get ready, because this team coming in here next, they'll be ready to play. And they're not going to be concerned with our victory."

If anything, it might serve as motivation. After all, now the Cougars have a chance to upset a team ranked in the top five on TV on the road. It could be a big chance at some national pub for UH.

"Yeah, it's something like a trap game," Terrance Anderson said. "You cannot overlook any team in college football because anything can happen. We know that, as a team, we have to get more focused for the next team to come in."

While the Cowboys made relatively easy work of the Coogs last year, pulling away in the third quarter to win 56-37, nothing is for certain in college football and this could definitely be a game that could wreck the big dreams for this fall. Last season, UH went 8-5 on the year and defeated Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl, so this isn't a cupcake non-conference squad.

"Yeah, we will just have to prepare for Houston," Booker said. "They're a fast team and have a lot of playmakers so we can't underestimate anybody."

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