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For Oklahoma State the Plan Hasn’t Changed and Texas Might Represent an Anomaly

OSU still wants to win games with defense and turnovers.



A lot has been written over the last few days about how Oklahoma State should have lost in Austin. I don’t disagree. But the inverse could also be true. That is, it feels like OSU should have also won that game by two or three touchdowns.

Since 2003, there have been over 9,000 college football games played. In only 3 percent of those (277) have two or more defensive touchdowns been scored by the same team as Texas did against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

That’s what statisticians like to call “an outlier.”

There’s a randomness to turnovers in general. Even more so when they turn into touchdowns. And it’s not like Mason Rudolph has a reputation for tossing the ball all over the yard. Think about how much differently that score looks if Rudolph doesn’t pull a Landry Jones or throw the pick-six.

We’re singing the praises of Glenn Spencer’s defense instead of bemoaning this offense for not being able to outscore itself.

Ifs and buts and such but 3 percent is 3 percent, and the plan from the beginning of the season hasn’t changed (and won’t, in my opinion). Sure, the running game needs to get better — Chris McCulloch outlined that here — but the philosophy of this Mike Gundy team is going nowhere and, like Texas fans, we’re just going to have to deal with it.

“People think if you don’t score 40 points now, you’re not a successful team,” Gundy said on Monday. “That’s not true. They say ‘Well if you play Oregon last year, you can’t win.’ Well, that’s not who we were playing last week, that’s not the situation. Each week is different. It’s OK for the defense to play good and us to win because the defense is making plays.

The good thing is … it can still work (I think). This defense appears to be one of Gundy’s best to date and Gundy seems intent on letting it win games on its own.

“We live in a society where it is offense vs. defense but it is a team game. It’s OK if defense is playing good, to let them win the game. People think if you don’t score 40 points now, you are not a successful team, but that’s not true.”

See what I mean about philosophy? This team wants to win fistfights, not shootouts.

This is a 35-14 team. That is, it wants to score between 30-40 every game and hold opposing teams to 10-20. That’s exactly how it wants to win. It doesn’t want to put up 70 or even 50 a game. Look at its seven games since Mason Rudolph took over on offense.

28 points
38 points
30 points
24 points
32 points
69 points
30 points

The seven-turnover UTSA game is the only thing resembling an explosion and that was mostly because the defense couldn’t stop scoring. Mike Gundy probably has this statistic taped to his ceiling so he can stare at it before he goes to sleep.

Dating back to 2005, the Cowboys have won 22 consecutive games when not committing a turnover.

And maybe all of this is smart because instead of trying to score 50 a game as fast as you can, you let an already-deep defense get even more rest to unleash the fury of 1,000 warrior poets on the TCUs and West Virginias of the world.

We keep talking about how great that 2012 offense was (and it was) but that squad also went 7-5 and wasn’t super competitive in most of its big games. Maybe Gundy actually is on to something here.

The bigger questions are how to make a bad running game at least average and whether playing with fire (i.e. not letting your offense unload) is going to fare well at the top of the league (spoiler: I’m concerned). We’ll look at those things later on.

But for now, I’ve talked myself into that sad affair in Austin being a one off (because of the defensive TDs) and Oklahoma State being a team that can still roll with anybody in the Big 12 on any given week. Until it doesn’t anyway.

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