STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State’s defense keeps getting better.
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The No. 11 Cowboys won on the road Saturday, beating Texas 13-10 in overtime. Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) has allowed just 26 points over its last two games, holding Baylor to 16 the week before, the Bears’ fewest points in a Big 12 game since 2009.
Ordinarily the attention is on the offense — the Cowboys entered the game averaging 48 points and 611 yards, ranking second and first in the nation, respectively. But this was a day for defense.
The unit limited Texas to 283 total yards, including just 42 rushing (1.3 yards per carry). It forced the Longhorns into three-and-out possessions eight times, of 14 total, and allowed just 3-of-17 third-down conversions, a source of trouble earlier this year.
Safety Ramon Richards clinched the victory with an interception in overtime, the Cowboys’ 12th forced turnover of the season.
“Defense won the game,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “I can’t give enough credit to our defense. I don’t mind saying it, it’s the best effort I’ve seen or I can remember, in a long, long time.”
“It was awesome,” added Heisman Trophy candidate Mason Rudolph, whose 282 yards passing was his lowest output of the season. “There are always those games where your offense carries you, and we are kind of known for that on the offense. But hats off to the defense, they made plays and unbelievable stops.”
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Gundy was impressed with the way his players rose to the occasion drive after drive despite the offensive unit’s mounting frustration.
“They were very resilient,” Gundy said. “I felt guilty continuing to walk out in the huddle after all that transpired, saying, ‘Hey, we need a stop. We need a stop. We need a stop. I know I just told you guys this, we need a stop.
“I know we fumbled — hey, we need a stop. I know we missed a field goal, we need a stop. I know we let them return it to the 45 on the kickoff return — hey, we need a stop.’ They just kept going.”
And the defense got better as the game wore on. It allowed just 59 yards in the third quarter and 51 in the fourth.
“It’s the defense that rules the roost&gives Oklahoma State history!” Don’t miss @Gopokesvoice final call in this week’s cinematics #okstate pic.twitter.com/xz6Cz0cgf7
— Cowboy Football (@CowboyFB) October 22, 2017
The Longhorns are “very physical, across the board, and have big, thick running backs that can pound on you and beat you down,” Gundy said. “They can wear you down. I was concerned on the perimeter, whether those long, rangy receivers would wear us down on quick things out in the flat. And it happened some, but overall, guys were just resilient. And that’s what impressed me the most, they just kept going.”
“And there wasn’t any look in their eyes, like, ‘Why is this happening?’ But I will attribute a lot of that to the culture that we’ve created here, to where our players know to just play the next play. It wasn’t easy, but they were fantastic, and the defensive staff was great.”
Richards, who had six tackles, including one for a loss, agreed.
“If we drop a pass or miss a field goal, we don’t show frustration or fatigue in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We also never show fear.”
Gundy stressed that the trick now is for his players to go out and do it again when they play at No. 22 West Virginia (5-2, 3-1) on Saturday.
“Here’s the bad news, West Virginia could give a flip about that, and that’s what we told them (Sunday) night at practice,” Gundy said. “So if they’re eating the rat poison, they’re going to get sick later in the week. They’d better get back to work because they got a different challenge this week and that’s the way it is in this league.”