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Oklahoma State Defense Making a Statement

Colt McCoy gets pounded by OSU's Patrick Lavine. Colt McCoy gets pounded by OSU's Patrick Lavine.

Originally Published: Nov 5, 2009 10:52 AM CDT

Dave Carty and Chad McKee
Oklahoma Sports Staff

STILLWATER, Oklahoma -- Everyone and their mother thought the Oklahoma State offense was capable of big things in the 2009 season. Points, coming in bunches, from many weapons in the offense, were anticipated.

It’s not that they were wrong, but it’s been the Cowboys’ play on the other side of the ball that has blown away the competition.

Outside of the team’s lone two losses in which the Cowboys allowed 40-plus points – Houston (45) and Texas (41) – the defense has held opponents to an average of 15.8 points allowed.

And, in a season that saw Dez Bryant ruled ineligible and Kendall Hunter struggle with injury, that defensive effort has defined Oklahoma State.

“We’re excited about the direction we’re headed, but we’re certainly not there yet,” said defensive coordinator Bill Young. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to get where we want to get to. We’re proud of the effort the players have put forth.”

Even in the loss to Texas, the Cowboys held the Longhorns under 300 total yards, a feat they’ve accomplished in three of the last five games.

In all this season, the Cowboys have proven vulnerable to the pass – giving up 243.5 yards per game, fourth-worst in the Big 12 – but have proven strong against running teams. Oklahoma State allows an average of 99 yards per game, fourth-best in the conference and 13th in the nation.

A lot of that is due to the team’s push up front.

“The down linemen have made a lot of progress,” Young said. “They’re a very talented group. The good thing for us is we have several players. We’re playing about 10 people. We’re building a lot of depth and getting a lot of experience for the future.”

Oklahoma State takes that defense to Iowa State, which owns the Big 12’s best rushing unit averaging just over 200 yards per game.

“They’ve done a good job of keeping things in front of them and tackling in space,” said head coach Mike Gundy. “They’ve had some junior college players come in and contribute to their success. So we’re back at it this week and our challenge will be a good week of practice and preparation and travel up there and have a good game on Saturday.”

A good game will likely depend on how well the team performs on defense, Oklahoma State won’t be intimidated by the Cyclones numbers.

Everyone and their mother know that.

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