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SPORTS: Oklahoma State University

Instant Analysis: OSU Downs Bulldogs

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HOUSTON, Texas -

It took a half for things to get going in Houston, but Oklahoma State eventually got the ball rolling and outplayed Mississippi State on both sides of the ball to come away with a statement victory in the first weekend of the season.

The No. 13 Cowboys out-SEC'd the Bulldogs defensively to bide time for the offense, which eventually showed up en route to an impressive 21-3 OSU victory.

The Pokes' defense looked shaky at the start, allowing MSU to march 57 yards in 13 plays to take a 3-0 lead on the first drive of the game – Mississippi State never scored again.

Newly-appointed defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer promised a more aggressive style of defense in 2013 and, at least through one game, he has delivered. OSU hounded the Bulldogs' rushing attack, pressured the quarterback and got back to its ball-hawking ways of 2011 by forcing two turnovers.

And the defense didn't just step things up until the offense got rolling, it turned in a complete performance, highlighted by allowing just 10 yards of offense in the third quarter.

After a lengthy quarterback battle, it was Clint Chelf who got the nod to start the contest but his stint didn't last long. The offense was mostly ineffective and the coaching staff quickly shifted to J.W. Walsh after a scoreless first quarter.

Walsh responded with a performance worthy of the starting job.

The dual-threat QB sparked the offense with his legs first, leading OSU with 118 rushing yards and a touchdown on 9.8 yards per carry, but he settled in to his passing rhythm eventually and put the Bulldogs back on their heels, completing 18-of-27 passes for 135 yards.

The offense seemed to find its identity in the third quarter. After accumulating just 161 yards and seven points in the first half, the Pokes marched down the field on an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession of the third to set a different, more commanding tone.

Overall, it wasn't the typical high-flying offensive performance fans have grown accustomed to from the Cowboys but it was an encouraging, well-rounded performance nonetheless.

The Cowboys outgained MSU 432-333 and did most of their work on the ground, outrushing the Bulldogs 286-111.

MSU quarterback Tyler Russell was just 10-of-16 passing for 133 yards with an interception before leaving the contest in the second half with a reported concussion.

And, after a quality start, OSU bottled up vaunted running back LaDarius Perkinsfor just 50 yards on 16 carries.

Nine Cowboys recorded catches, led by Josh Stewart's four receptions for 39 yards.

A full recap will be posted soon on News9.com/sports

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