Cowboys aim to payback K-State for embarrassing loss

Updated: October 6, 2003, 5:59 PM ET

STILLWATER, Okla. -- There was nary a peep to be heard on Oklahoma State's chartered bus as it headed home from Manhattan, Kan., last year.

The Cowboys, heads bowed and bodies bruised, rode home in dejected silence for more than four hours following a 44-9 beating administered by Kansas State.

"The bus ride home sucked," offensive lineman Sam Mayes said. "They flat out destroyed us. We might as well have been the Little Sisters of the Poor."

Oklahoma State (4-1) gets to atone for that embarrassing memory Saturday when slumping Kansas State comes to Stillwater. Though they've rarely spoken of it publicly, the Cowboys have been secretly buzzing about the chance to make up for last season's debacle.

"We've been trying not to think about it," cornerback Darrent Williams said, "but in all our conversations, all we've been talking about is K-State."

That's because the Wildcats thoroughly whipped Oklahoma State on its visit to Manhattan last season. Kansas State, then ranked No. 19, held Oklahoma State to 184 yards, sacked quarterback Josh Fields three times and forced five turnovers.

It was the turning point in coach Les Miles' second season as Oklahoma State won six of its next seven games and earned its first bowl berth since 1997.

"We learned that going through the motions was not going to cut it," Miles said Monday at his weekly media luncheon. "I had anticipated a tremendously competitive game that day."

There's similar expectations for Saturday's game, too.

No. 22 Kansas State is reeling, having lost its last two games to Marshall and No. 11 Texas. Those defeats have essentially ended all talk of a national championship for the Wildcats.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State is rolling after outscoring its last four opponents 198-36. The Cowboys swept their non-conference schedule for the first time since 1996.

But the Cowboys aren't exactly proven yet. Oklahoma State lost its season-opener at Nebraska and has since picked up victories over teams that are a combined 0-16 against Division I-A competition.

Needless to say, Oklahoma State is counting on a win against Kansas State to gain a little respect from its Big 12 brethren.

"We want to go out and make our presence felt," fullback Tim Burrough said. "I don't want to call it vengeance, but we want to show some dominance against this team."< EXTRA POINTS: Tailback Tatum Bell, who was benched against Louisiana-Lafayette after losing a first-quarter fumble, will start on Saturday against Kansas State. "I know he doesn't want to have to learn lessons the way he has," Miles said. But after rushing for 189 yards and two TDs in the win, reserve Vernand Morency has worked his way into the rotation. He'll share quite a few snaps with Bell, Miles said. ... Kansas State has defeated the Cowboys nine straight times since 1990. It's the longest current streak of any Big 12 opponent against Oklahoma State. ... WR Rashaun Woods filmed a segment with an ESPN Gameday film crew on Monday. They were going to go fishing, Woods' favorite hobby, later in the day.

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