STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — It begins on Saturday with No. 5 TCU. Then No. 2 Baylor and No. 14 Oklahoma come to Stillwater later this month.
This is one tough stretch for Oklahoma State.
Coming off a wild 70-53 victory at Texas Tech, the 12th-ranked Cowboys kick off their challenging November with a visit from Trevone Boykin and the Horned Frogs. Following a trip to Iowa State, Oklahoma State plays consecutive games against the Bears and Sooners.
The undefeated Cowboys (8-0, 5-0) are in the mix for the Big 12 title, but coach Mike Gundy wants his team to focus on TCU.
"We're not good enough here to look past even tomorrow's practice, that's just where we are as a football team," he said Monday. "We have to try to improve each day to stay alive, and our goal last week was to just be a point or two better than Texas Tech. That's all we could worry about. And this week, it's to try to play the very best we can against TCU."
Saturday's victory over the Red Raiders was Oklahoma State's fifth second-half comeback win of the season. The Cowboys' resiliency could be put to the test during their next couple of games.
"We can't control our schedule, that's how it's laid out, but I think we've done a good job of handling every situation up to this point," said sophomore Mason Rudolph, who ranks third in the Big 12 and 13th in the nation with 2,482 yards passing. "Our team has really experienced a lot of situations, so we're going to be well-prepared for the month of November and these next few games. We're excited about this next stretch here."
The key to Oklahoma State's comeback wins has been the ability of its defense to adjust while its offense chips away at the deficit.
Junior defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week after recording seven tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries against Texas Tech, believes it boils down to the defense refusing to roll over.
"Not giving up, it's a mindset thing," said Ogbah, who leads the Big 12 and is tied for fifth in the nation with nine sacks this year. "We come in the locker room and talk to each other and say, 'Hey, we've come too far, we can't just let this slip away from us. We just have to go out there and stop them any way we can.'
"And our offense has really stepped up big for us when we needed them the most."
Oklahoma State's defense will need that mindset again to have a chance at slowing down the Horned Frogs' potent offense, led by Boykin. TCU (8-0, 5-0) ranks second in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 48.9 points, and total offense (a 616.3-yard average), while Boykin is fifth in passing yards with 2,927 and Josh Doctson leads everyone with 1,250 yards receiving.
"If there's a more dynamic player in college football, I don't know where he's at," Gundy said of Boykin. "I don't see anybody else like him at this time. I want to be able to give him credit, and (TCU) credit for what they've done, but I also want to be able to make sure everybody knows that our defense is going to come out and play hard and use our team speed, and I'll be surprised if our guys don't play well."