Saturday, November 12, 2011
Oklahoma State's defense states case
By David Ubben
LUBBOCK, Texas -- What more could Oklahoma State's defense possibly do?
At game's end, Mike Gundy had every right to rip his shirt off, grab a microphone and scream, "Are you not entertained?"
Texas Tech hadn't been shut out since 1987. Its defense had never given up more than 65 points. Oklahoma State, thanks to a second-half gift fumble returned for a touchdown, beat Texas Tech, 66-6.
Despite any devilish pleasure Gundy took in the gladiatorlike win, he declined any postgame theatrics.
"It got started with our defense -- a three-and-out," he said. "They played with a lot of energy and ran to the football. Even when [Texas Tech] did make a play, we tackled and we were very physical when we tackled."
Defensive coordinator Bill Young told his unit after the game what happened on Saturday might never happen again. Maybe so, but Oklahoma State did something that had never happened before, too. The Cowboys are 10-0 for the first time in school history and need wins over Iowa State and Oklahoma to play for the national title.
Oklahoma State 's Josh Stewart, 5, and Lyndell Johnson chase a Texas Tech fumble in the second quarter. Stewart recovered and returned it for a touchdown.
Oklahoma State looked immune to the swirling winds, and Brandon Weeden stated his Heisman case with 423 yards and five touchdowns on 31-of-37 passing.
"When he spins it, it cuts through there pretty good," said Gundy, whose career-yardage mark Weeden surpassed on Saturday. Weeden also took home the school record for career touchdown passes. "Honestly, [the wind] didn't concern me one bit."
Gundy added that wind hasn't come up once this year. Such is life with Weeden taking every snap.
Saturday, though, was about defense. Gone were the gratuitous garbage gains of past games. So were the touchdowns providing misleading final scores.
"I was really happy for the guys on defense," Weeden said, making sure to note that the initial "6" on the scoreboard came courtesy of the offense. "They didn't give up a touchdown."
Oklahoma State hung a shocking score for the nation to see on Saturday, complete with an eye-popping 49-0 halftime score, complete with a touchdown on kickoff coverage.
"It was obviously a very well-played game in all three phases," Gundy said. "Offensively, we just kind of kept up with what we'd done this year, and defense played well. I thought we tackled as good as we had in any game."
Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege was held to a season-low 169 yards on 25-of-43 passing. The Red Raiders had just 101 yards rushing on 30 carries. No Tech receiver had more than 41 yards receiving and no running back had more than 47.
Said safety Markelle Martin: "We flew around. We had fun. I think we were very excited making those plays, and there was no drop-off when backups came in. I'm proud of that."
This looked like a different defense after last week's last-second win over Kansas State, complete with 45 points allowed.
"That was enough [drama] for everybody for a while," Gundy said.
Oklahoma State countered Tech's offensive futility with two 100-yard receivers (Justin Blackmon, Josh Cooper) and a 100-yard rusher (Herschel Sims) with Weeden's 400-yard day through (more literal than most days) the air. Josh Stewart added 93 yards and two scores on two catches.
One trip to Ames awaits next week before two weeks of buildup to beat the bullies down South. Oklahoma State hasn't beaten Oklahoma since Les Miles did it in 2001 and 2002, but if Gundy wants to take his team to New Orleans for the national title game, the Sooners are the biggest -- and most fitting -- obstacle in the way.
Play defense like the Cowboys did out on the Plains, and those bullies might get a little bloody.
"They're playing better than what most people would think they are. It's hard to really grade this defense on paper, based on what happened on the other side of the ball," Gundy said, noting that his defense has faced far more plays than his offense. "We take a lot of pride in that side of the ball."
Gundy can say it all he wants. So can any of the players on his defense.
Performances like Saturday's make folks start believing.