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COLLEGE FOOTBALL SPOTLIGHT

Oklahoma State overcomes off-field distractions

The Cowboys showed their character as they beat Texas A&M, 36-31, during a week in which their top receiver was suspended and their quarterback's grandfather died.

October 11, 2009|Austin Knoblauch

Oklahoma State passed its character test Saturday.

Battling through the fallout surrounding the suspension of their top receiver and injuries to key players, the Cowboys defeated Texas A&M, 36-31. Quarterback Zac Robinson played a vital role, passing for 279 yards and two touchdowns in a win Coach Mike Gundy said was "comparable" to his team's season-opening victory over Georgia.

Dez Bryant was ruled ineligible by the school last week for lying to the NCAA about contact he had made with a former NFL player. In addition, leading rusher Kendall Hunter missed the game because of an ankle injury.

Robinson was also dealing with his own issues -- he found out Wednesday his 87-year-old grandfather had died of cancer.

"It was a heck of a week," Robinson said. "Any time there are distractions and things that go on that you can't control, you find out a lot about yourself and your team."

Oklahoma State faces another test against Missouri on Saturday.

What a joke

Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman admitted he was a little out of breath after scoring on a 91-yard fumble return during the Nittany Lions' 52-3 victory over Eastern Illinois.

Coach Joe Paterno joked the very fit Bowman was out of shape after he nearly slipped during his sprint to the end zone.

"Joe's always got jokes," Bowman said.

Anyone who's seen the Nittany Lions' nonconference schedule knows Paterno must have a sense of humor.

Another third-quarter breakdown

Much like UCLA, Purdue suffered a third-quarter meltdown against Minnesota. A seven-yard punt, a fumble on a kick return and a blocked field-goal try led to three Minnesota touchdowns during the Golden Gophers' 35-20 victory.

That's not like the Boilermakers. Most of their problems this season can be traced back to the second quarter, when they've been outscored 69-20 in their five losses.

He's not leaving

Arizona State Coach Dennis Erickson was briefly knocked out when one of his players ran into him during the Sun Devils' 27-14 road victory over Washington State. Despite feeling "woozy," Erickson stayed on the sidelines. "I wasn't going no place."

Erickson is one tough guy -- just ask a Washington State fan how tough it can be to watch the Cougars play.

"A lot of people here would like to hit me," Erickson said. "They didn't have to put a hit out on me."

Streak comes to an end

Gene Chizik's 20-game winning streak at Auburn came to an end in a 44-23 loss to Arkansas. Chizik had won his first five games as head coach of the Tigers. He also won 15 consecutive games as Auburn's defensive coordinator from 2003-04.

"You can't play like we did today and win in the SEC," Chizik said.

Still, it's not as if Chizik is immune to losing -- he was 5-19 over his two-year tenure at Iowa State.

Seven touchdowns?

No big deal

Maybe Texas Tech's Steven Sheffield should be a starter. Or maybe all backups should start against Kansas State.

Sheffield completed 33 of 41 passes for 490 yards and seven touchdowns in Texas Tech's 66-13 victory over Kansas State.

Unfortunately, he isn't the only quarterback to have thrown seven touchdown passes in a game for the Red Raiders this season. Taylor Potts, who missed the game because of a concussion, threw seven touchdown passes against Rice.

--

austin.knoblauch@latimes.com

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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