Stillwater — Facing adversity can bring a team closer together, and for No. 12 Oklahoma State, that appears to be true.
A disappointing 30-21 loss to West Virginia back on Sept. 28 seems to have galvanized the Cowboys (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) to five straight victories, all while the team has gotten past several key injuries and changes at both running back and quarterback.
With the toughest part of their schedule coming up, beginning with a visit Saturday to No. 23 Texas (7-2, 6-0), Oklahoma State will need to keep improving to have a chance to win the Big 12 Conference championship. The Cowboys still have to play No. 4 Baylor and No. 22 Oklahoma.
“I don’t think there’s any question that we are a much better football team than we were a month and a half ago,” said coach Mike Gundy. “That’s a credit to the players. They’ve made a decision to work hard together and improve, and they have. I like our leadership and I like the maturity of our team right now and I like their chemistry.”
While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when the evolution into a closer group began, the process certainly appeared to accelerate following the loss at West Virginia.
“It is a big thing that can cause us to come together, but at the same time, there were times after that I don’t think we were clicking yet, but that still could have brought a lot of focus to us,” senior safety Daytawion Lowe said of the West Virginia game. “I think the focus part really got a hold of us. I just think it just started getting better and better each week and it’s the best right now.”
Gundy pointed out that one by-product of a team that feels a closer bond with each other is that individuals are more inclined to make sacrifices that help the team.