The Cowboys also lead the nation in tackles for loss with 51 of those and an average of 10.2 per game. The next best in the Big 12 is Baylor and they are way back. All of that makes the Cowboys the most disruptive and destructive defense in the Big 12 and maybe the nation.
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer was asked Monday if those sacks and tackles for loss are the defensive equivalent to explosive plays. He hemmed and hawed a little over the question and then gave us a good answer.
"Depending on the situation of a normal down and distance, it's the equivalent of baseball and getting ahead of the count," Spencer said as OSU defensive ends Emmanuel Ogbah and Jimmy Bean, linebacker Devante Averette and cornerback Miketavius Jones are all in the top 10 in the Big 12 in individual sacks.
"Any time you can get it second-and-nine or 10, negative yardage, then the advantage starts coming to us as far as being able to play some things and look into their tendencies on certain downs and distances. We have to count on those explosive plays for us going forward."
There are also four Cowboys in the top 10 for tackles for loss including Ogbah, who leads both categories. Bean, linebacker Seath Jacobs, and defensive tackle Vincent Taylor.
Getting the offense behind the chains is important, especially one that might lean to being better at running the football and that describes West Virginia. This isn't your momma and daddy's Dana Holgorsen offense as young receivers and an inexperienced quarterback combined with a pair of veteran running backs and a pretty stout offensive line have the Mountaineers running the football more with zone, zone read, and power.
"They definitely want to run the ball and they've proven that over and over again," Spencer said. "I think he's (Holgorsen) an excellent play caller and that they have a physical line. He is going to have the threat of getting over the top of that any time in the play-action pop series, which is always dangerous. He knows all of that is set up off of being able to bust a five- to six-yard play. I think he has a good combination success on how to move the ball."
The question now is will Holgorsen after the Mountaineers first loss make some major adjustments and mix things up a little for his former team for one season back in 2010 as the offensive coordinator?
"They're scheming for us just like I know we are for them," Spencer said. "I know he's looking at his scout just like we do. There's a line where you have to decide whether you break a tendency and look at yourself to find what you do best and execute best, do it and make them stop us."
There's always adjustments, especially halftime adjustments which seem to work very well for the Cowboys.