In the past few seasons, the identity of the OSU defense hasn't necessarily relied on a heavy pass rush, but sacking the quarterback has been an indicator of overall success for the team. In 2010 and 2011, the two most successful seasons in Cowboys' history, OSU recorded 30 sacks each year.
In 2007 and 2008, seven and nine win seasons, the Cowboys recorded just 22 and 15 sacks, respectively. The correlation ties back to a simple concept.
"If you get great pressure on the quarterback, you could get three wide receivers running wide open and they're not going find them," Young said.
This season, the Cowboys have sacked the opposing quarterback eight times. After four games the past two seasons, OSU recorded 12 and 11 sacks, respectively.
Junior defensive tackle Davidell Collins, who has recorded four tackles and no sacks this season, believes that number should be higher.
"We have a pretty good, solid D-line," Collins said. "I feel like we should have more sacks, but things happen. Everybody is not guaranteed a sack all the time. A lot of people, if we don't have sacks, they always think it's a problem. We'll work that out and get better at it."
Young said there is a formula for success when rushing the quarterback.
"It all comes down to fundamentals and mindset," Young said. "Pass rush is about 70 percent desire. If you have a move in mind, and if that doesn't work, you need to have a counter off of it. It comes down to having more will to get there than the other guy having will to stop you."
Against Kansas on Saturday, the Cowboys will have their chance to improve that sack total. The Jayhawks have allowed 13 this season. But that doesn't make them an easy target.
"From watching the Kansas State game, it's not hard at all (to overlook them) because they're a pretty good team," Collins said. "Like I was telling someone earlier, if a couple of passes were a little bit higher, they would be in the game … In a couple more years, they will be really good."
The Cowboys' enter Saturday's game with the nation's No. 46 total defense, allowing 364 yards per game. Young said that needs to get better, including his pass rush.
"We feel like we haven't nearly performed up to our ability," Young said. "That's our duty as coaches to get our players in the right spot and playing hard."