Defense Makes The Plays On Third Down

Pardon this break in talking about Oklahoma State rediscovering its offensive prowess. However, before the offense was cranking it up the last two weeks, it was the Cowboys defense that has been somewhat holding the ship together. they do it in a humble way at the insistence of coordinator Glenn Spencer. However, one stat from Saturday night's win in Lubbock stands out.

In a battle of the two best teams in the Big 12 on third down defense, one stood out in the end.

Oklahoma State held Texas Tech to 4-of-15 on THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS!

Texas Tech also was zero-for-two on fourth-down conversions. The first of those situations was a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line as the Cowboys stopped Kenny Williams of Tech for a one-yard loss when middle linebacker Caleb Lavey and company made the play.

"That was special," senior linebacker Shaun Lewis said of the goal-line stand. "When you can do that it really makes a strong show of what your defense is all about and what we stand for. It was a great way to finish off the win.

"Our ceiling is so high and we are still trying to reach that, and everything is ahead of us."

At the front of that defensive effort -- as he has been all season --is defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, arguably the best defensive tackle in the Big 12.

Barnett will need to break out a new jersey in a couple of week for the next road game at Texas. His jersey from Saturday night is stretched totally out of shape, ripped in a lot of places, and sewn together in others by shoe string.

The number 99 is a wreck but the guy that wears it with all apologies to Texas Tech just keeps on wrecking. He and his defensive teammates are relentless.

"We've been drilling that in each other's head since the bowl game (last season) and we first met up together," Barnett said. "We just know as a defense and as a team we have to give relentless effort period. We know if we lose a game it will not be because we aren't giving great effort.

"We have to give relentless effort. Effort is what we control in the game."

As for that jersey, it may be totally worn out but Barnett won't let the holding and all the chicanery he has to deal with from opponents stretch him out of shape. He has not controlled his emotions in the past but like the defense he is playing on right now, he stays rock solid.

"It just comes down to what happens in the game," said Barnett. "No one likes to be held and thrown down to the ground, double-teamed, triple-teamed, but if you have maturity, it tests you as a man.

"It tests your pride and everything you stand for as a man. You have to know that hitting that player (after the play) is not going to help you, not going to make you feel better. The game is still going to go on and you will hurt your team. I know what I'm doing on each play is helping my team, whether I make the play or not."

The confidence is evident with this under-publicized Oklahoma State defense, and there are plenty of Cowboys that will make plays.

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