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OSU Defense Puts up Incredible Performance Gundy Calls ‘Best I’ve Seen in a Long Time’



Sam Ehlinger dropped a step, turned and fired to Cade Brewer in the right slot on third and 3 with about as many minutes left in regulation; he was open, and the pass was on target.

Rodarius Williams keyed on it, drove away from his outside receiver and fired into Brewer as the ball arrived. Brewer still had it, but Chad Whitener slid across and crunched him. The ball dropped, forcing Texas’ eighth three-and-out with the score within a touchdown.

The Oklahoma State defense absolutely stymied an admittedly struggling Longhorn offense. It forced 11 punts, allowed 283 total yards, three third-down conversions and one game-clinching turnover. The defense’s performance in the Cowboys’ 13-10 road victory Saturday mirrored one in the same stadium two years before.

Stat 2017 2015
Total Yards 283 290
Passing TDs 0 0
Rushing TDs 1 1
First Downs 11 13
Third Downs 3 of 17 4 of 16
Turnovers 1 1

Texas’ offense is not good, but the OSU defense made it look inept. Completely out-of-character for the group of Cowboys that has mostly been blamed for the team’s struggles when they have come this season.

“I told the team in there it was the best defensive play that I’ve seen in a long time,” coach Mike Gundy said. “I can’t remember very many years back now, but I’m going to say long as I’ve been a head coach, on the road, I’ve never seen a defensive play like that, and in dealing with all the adversity.

“We just kept putting them back on the play, they made a play, put ’em back on the field, put ’em back on the field, put ’em back on the field, over and over and over and over and over, they just kept making plays.”

On the Horns lone overtime possession, Cowboy cornerback A.J. Green interfered in the end zone, move the ball to the 12-yard-line. Jerrod Heard, the UT quarterback in 2015, gained 5 on the next snap and caught a ball and gained a yard on the next.

With the ball on the 6, needing a touchdown to win and a field goal to force a second overtime, Ehlinger rolled to his left on third down and woefully lobbed a pass toward the end zone sideline. The receiver he targeted wasn’t close, and Ramon Richards was. Even with only six yards to spare, the Cowboy defense came through again.

“Everyone’s gonna talk about the last play; it was a freshman mistake by (Ehlinger),” defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. “I wanna talk about all the plays that led up to that last play. That we had a chance to win on the last play.”

Coming into Saturday’s game and since the 2015 Texas game, the Cowboy defense had allowed 448 total yards per game. That’s 58 percent more yards than it gave up in Saturday’s slugfest. It limited Texas to just 4.1 yards per play and 1.3 (!) yards per rush.

Most importantly, it kept Texas out of the end zone. The Horns could manage just 10 points on 15 drives. OSU came into the game No. 42 in the country in defensive points per drive allowed at 1.82. Today? They allowed 0.66.

OSU had allowed fewer yards in more recent games but none in more pressure-filled ones. The Cowboys needed every one of their 13 stops, and that’s not a sentence you’ll read often in the Big 12, at least not since the last time OSU went to Austin.

“Guys normally get tired, but in our culture we stress that we don’t show no frustration, we don’t show fatigue,” Richards said. “That’s the Oklahoma State culture.”

Gundy agreed.

“For a guy who has a history on offense and likes to see things happen, it was pretty much a drag,” he said. “But I’m going to say it again, our defense won the damn game, and they played big time.”

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