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OSU Defensive Positional Power Rankings: Defensive Front Shines Depsite Tech’s Style



Texas Tech running backs averaged a hair over two yards per carry last Saturday.

The Oklahoma State front four was understandably stout. The Red Raiders have been known to throw the rock around, and the Cowboys had to have known that stopping the run early was going to one-dimensionalize the Tech offense. In the first half of OSU’s 41-34 road win, the defense allowed 32 rush yards, and 11 came on one snap.

“They pretty much dominated the game up front,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “We had to kick a couple of field goals inside the three. We couldn’t move them. So you’ve got to give them credit.”

So let’s give them some credit and rank OSU’s defensive units after Game 5.

5. Cornerbacks (Previously: 5)

The Cowboy corners were attacked, targeted more than 20 times. It’s hard to judge a position group with a combined one year of playing experience among the top three contributors: A.J. Green a sophomore, Rodarius Williams a redshirt freshman and Adrian Baker a graduate transfer from Clemson.

Still, the statistics tell a story of their own and lay out a problem that, left unsolved, will place an even larger onus on Tre Flowers in the back end.

Stat</th> Green Williams Baker Total
Targets 12 6 3 21
Catches 5 6 1 12
Yards 47 73 14 134
TDs 1 0 0 1
Penalties 2 0 1 3
Pen Yards 23 0 7 30
4. Linebackers (Previously: 4)

Kenneth Edison-McGruder had a rough day. He gave up completions of 56 and 38 yards.

The Star backer has found himself in one-on-one coverage against the other guys’ slot receivers, and it hasn’t worked. Against TCU, throwing the out route to Desmon White was an automatic first down, and against Tech, hitting a double route (either a double move or something like a chair route), ended in big plays.

In fairness, all of the Cowboy linebackers were straight up good against the underneath routes and against the run, as noted.

Stat Phillips Edison-McGruder Whitener Bundage Akem Total
Total TKL 6 4 3 2 1 16
Solo TKL 4 4 2 2 0 12
TFL 0 1 0.5 0 0 1.5
Sacks 0 0 0 0 0 0
QB Hurries 0 0 1 0 0 1
3. Defensive Tackles (Previously: 2)

Saturday’s performance was a representation of what the pairing of DeQuinton Osborne and Darrion Daniels can be.

More than 600 pounds of human is terrifying to try to combat, especially when it’s coming from only two bodies, and they showed how hard that can be with a couple of rock-solid stat lines.

If Osborne and Daniels can continue to play as they did against the Red Raiders’ front, the Cowboys’ defense will at least appear to be a lot better.

Stat Daniels Smith Jr. Osborne Total
Total TKL 5 1 0 6
Solo TKL 4 0 0 4
TFL 0.5 0 0 0.5
Sacks 0 0 0 0
QB Hurries 2 0 1 3
2. Defensive Ends (Previously: 3)

Jordan Brailford is the best defensive end in Stillwater right now.

Whether it’s luck or skill, he finds himself in the best spots more often than anyone on the OSU defense, even more than Richards this season. He only came up with three total tackles, but his interception in the fourth quarter was as clutch as it gets. Also, did you see who got that pressure on Shimonek on the fourth quarter play Flowers made above?

Slap on a couple of quarterback hurries, the defensive ends frankly played better than expected against the supposed-to-be-high-powered-quick-fire Tech offense, even if they didn’t get a sack.

Stat Brailford Walterscheid Leveni Webber Owens Total
Total TKL 3 2 2 1 0 8
Solo TKL 3 2 2 1 0 8
TFL 0 0 2 0 0 2
Sacks 0 0 0 0 0 0
QB Hurries 1 0 1 1 1 4
INTs 1 0 0 0 0 1
1. Safeties (Previously: 1)

Flowers’ two pass break-ups with less than a minute left in a one-possession game were two of the biggest defensive plays of the Cowboys’ season. This one on fourth down: Maybe the best play period on either side of the ball.

Although he and Ramon Richards weren’t pinpointed against Tech, they made better tackles, which had been an issue through the first month. They were sound in coverage and physical in their approach

Stat Richards Flowers Total
Targets 5 4 9
Catches 4 0 4
Yards 27 0 27
TDs 0 0 0
Pen 0 0 0
Pen Yards 0 0 0
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