Cowboy Defense: Just What Are These Guys?

My broadcast partner on the Cowboy Radio Network Dave Hunziker has coined a number of phrases, the ever popular "pistols firing," "good night Vienna," and, of course, "holy guacamole." Following the Cowboys confusing and slightly perplexing win over Baylor to the blowout tune of 59-24, Hunziker nicknamed the Cowboys defense the "Rubber Band Men."

Why not as the Cowboys defense tested not only the elastic of the Baylor offense, but the elastic of the emotions of the 58,274 mostly orange clad homecoming fans in the stands.

It started on the first drive when Baylor went 69 yards in 16 plays only to be stopped by leading tackler linebacker Alex Elkins and other Cowboy defenders on a fourth and one at the goal line.

"It's who we are," said defensive end Cooper Bassett when presented with the nickname. "It doesn't offend me. We are a defense that bends but doesn't break. We come up with turnovers, goal line stops, it doesn't matter how we keep teams from scoring as long as we do."

Baylor went 49 yards on their second drive and missed a field goal, 63 yards in 13 plays on the next drive only to see Justin Gilbert intercept Robert Griffin III in the end zone. Yes, the same Griffin that has been ultra careful in not turning over the football.

A 40-yard drive in the second quarter ended with a failed fourth and one try and then Daytawion Lowe picked off another Griffin pass to end another first half Bears possession.

In the third quarter two of the Baylor possessions ended in fumbles and by that time it was 49-3 in the Cowboys favor. Baylor finished with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Bears also finished with 622 yards of offense! That's right, 622 yards, 21 yards more than Oklahoma State. Baylor had the ball 105 plays to the Cowboys 63 snaps. Baylor led time of possession 38:54 to 21:06, that is an advantage of nearly 18 minutes. Hey, that's OK because the Cowboys are the "Rubber Band Men."

"You know that is what we do," said defensive end Jamie Blatnick. "We get stops when we need them and we get turnovers and get our hands on the ball."

"I just want to thank Coach Young for preaching to us, pushing us to chase the ball," said cornerback Brodrick Brown, who has four interceptions this season, but got one of the third quarter fumble recoveries and nearly returned it 47 yards for a touchdown. "I just didn't give up on the play and the ball was underneath (several players) and Markelle (Martin) kicked it out with his foot and I picked it up and took off."

Interceptions by Gilbert and Lowe and fumble recoveries by Brown, he had two of them and by Andrae May put the Cowboys ahead 5-to-1 on the day in turnover margin and you can be sure on Sunday when the NCAA stats are out that Oklahoma State will still be number one in turnover margin while sinking a little further back in total defense.

"They do a good job of it and we got key sacks at the right time and then we got balls tipped," said head coach Mike Gundy. "It is their theory of bend but don't break and we had the question in the press conference, do you worry about that? Well yes, I worry about everything. That's what I do, worry about things. Would I like to have more three and outs? Sure, but last week at Missouri we had three and outs, so I don't have an explanation for it. The only explanation that I have is that these guys are finding ways to win games, ways to stop them and force turnovers. It is what it is. There is some give and take to these guys, but the attitude is good, the team chemistry is good, and they love being around each other."

Let's hope the elasticity keeps up for another four games in the regular season. You have to admit it is one of the darndest things you've seen on the football field. The fabulous Rubber Band Men.


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