Castleman Looks To Go 4-0 Against Tech

James Castleman could very well be 0-3 against the opponent when he runs onto the turf at Boone Pickens Stadium on Thursday night. Instead, the Oklahoma State senior is proud to say he’s undefeated in three games against Texas Tech, the team he originally committed to as one of the top defensive line prospects coming out of Amarillo High School in 2011.

Instead, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound has played each of the past three seasons against Texas Tech, which is located about 120 miles from Amarillo.

“I’ve got a lot of friends that go to Tech, and some I’m already getting phone calls and text messages from them talking trash to me. Which to me does nothing but make me laugh,” said Castleman of the Cowboys’ Big 12 season opener against the Red Raiders on Thursday night at Boone Pickens Stadium. Kickoff for the nationally televised game (ESPN) is 6:30 p.m. (Central).

Castleman not only has never lost to the Red Raiders but the closest game since 2011 was last year’s 18-point victory. OSU routed Texas Tech 66-6 in Lubbock during Castleman’s freshman season and the Cowboys won 59-21 in 2012, when the defensive tackle intercepted the one and only pass of his college playing career.

“It feels pretty good (to be 3-0 against them) since I was committed to them at one point,” he said.

But none of that will matter if the Cowboys don’t take care of business against the Red Raiders on Thursday night, and Castleman finishes his career with a perfect 4-0 record against Tech.

“I’m excited if we can get this win. I feel like it’s going to be a tough game because they are an athletic team, but if we do get it I’ll be excited to be able to go home and talk trash back to my friends,” he says.

The Red Raiders are making the trip to Stillwater following a 49-28 loss to Arkansas on Sept. 13. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s team has one of the nation’s best passing offenses (327.3 yards per game, 17th best in the nation) and also converts on 50 percent of its third-down conversions (tied for 18th).

However, the Cowboys defense has performed well through the first three games, and is among the nation’s leaders in third-down conversion defense, allowing just 11 first down on 45 third-down plays (the seventh best perfect age among FBS teams).

“We definitely take pride in that. We try to get three-and-outs and try to get as many as we can and stop the run and stop the pass. We harp on that all the time in practice,” said Castleman. “I believe we had eight three-and-outs last game (against Texas-San Antonio). We talked about it a little bit (this past week). Even though we harp on it once we talk about it we move on to the next game, so I really try not to pay attention too much to it.”

But one thing Castleman will be paying attention to this week are the texts he receives from former high school classmates. He’s hoping his next trip to Amarillo will be with a perfect 4-0 record against the Red Raiders.