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Cowboys force four turnovers in easy victory

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- The Oklahoma State ground attack didn't
produce its usual 300 yards, but the Cowboys' defense made sure a
huge output wasn't needed.

Vernand Morency rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns -- his
sixth straight 100-yard game -- as Oklahoma State (No. 24 ESPN/USAToday; No. 25 AP) defeated Iowa State 36-7 Saturday.

"Offensively, it was a sputtering, non-ideal game plan or
performance," Oklahoma State coach Les Miles said. "Certainly,
what I enjoyed about it was that this football team understood that
they were sputtering and had done some things poorly and they
rebounded."

The Cowboys, plus-13 in turnover margin this season, forced four
Cyclones fumbles and used stingy defense to set up short scoring
drives as they improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1997.

Jamie Thompson caused two fumbles and recovered another for
Oklahoma State (1-0 Big 12). The Cowboys, who led 23-0 at halftime,
held the Cyclones (2-2, 0-1) to just 59 yards rushing on 37
carries.

"I thought our defense set the tone," Miles said. "I think
they really improved in the off week."

Morency, held to 35 yards in the first half, rushed for 65 in
the third quarter and scored from the 5 to make it 29-7. Morency
added a 3-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.

Morency, the nation's leading rusher coming in with 187 yards
per game, fell behind Texas' Cedric Benson by 45 yards. Benson had
188 yards in the No. 5 Longhorns' 44-14 win over Baylor.

Oklahoma State, with the nation's fourth-best rushing attack
entering the contest, struggled to run the ball in the first half,
gaining just 64 yards as the Cyclones put eight and nine men near
the line of scrimmage.

But the Cowboys' ground game, which averaged 334 yards per game
coming in, improved in the second half and finished with 189 yards
rushing on 55 carries as they ended a two-game losing streak to
Iowa State.

Jason Ricks made first-half field goals from 39, 29 and 22
yards, but missed his first off the season, a 44-yarder in the
third quarter.

"You can't make some of the mistakes we made today and expect
to have any chance to win a Big 12 football game," Iowa State
coach Dan McCarney said. "You can't fumble four times, regardless
of the reasons."

Todd Blythe caught Bret Meyer's 9-yard lob between two Cowboys
for a third quarter TD for Iowa State. Meyer was 10 of 16 for 129
yards, but he fumbled three times as he was hit while trying to
pass.

Stevie Hicks rushed for 81 yards on 21 carries for Iowa State,
which had not fumbled all season. The Cyclones' placekicking
troubles continued, as Brian Jansen missed a 39-yard field goal
attempt in the first quarter.

"Our defense really came out and played well," Meyer said.
"We had four turnovers on offense and special teams, and when you
turn the ball over against these guys you are not going to win."