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OSU Rewind: Third Quarter Shutout Was Key

Despite allowing 642 total yards and Texas Tech being a perfect 5-fot-5 in the red zone, Oklahoma State's defense came up big in the third quarter as the Cowboys rallied for the win on Saturday.

The overall numbers are pretty devastating to any defensive coordinator, defensive coaching staff and defensive players as the Texas Tech offense struck for 642 yards, 480 passing yards, an average of 6.8 yards per play, a perfect 5-for-5 on red zone chances, and a third-down conversion rate of 59 percent (10-of-17).

Those are huge totals for a defense that came in leading the Big 12 in so many categories. In the end this total, zero, for just one quarter would make the biggest difference in the game that coordinator Glenn Spencer and his defense could contribute.

Also, the number three would be huge in the fourth quarter ... that was three turnovers, two interceptions and a fumble, that Oklahoma State gained from Texas Tech. Mark my words, despite those huge numbers of Red Raiders offense, zero and three were more of a major contribution.

The day started out rough as Emmanuel Ogbah followed the offensive tackle inside on the first play as he blocked down and slot receiver Jakeem Grant came back inside and sealed off linebacker Jordan Burton for DeAndre Washington to gain 31 yards on the left side off-tackle on the first play of the game. Tech strikes first with a 31-yard run play.

One play later the Red Raiders used a receiver running a route back inside to create a traffic jam (pick) and the linebacker responsible for the back out of the backfield, Seth Jacobs, was caught in the traffic and then stumbled as Justin Stockton caught a 42-yard touchdown pass uncovered for a touchdown.

After an Oklahoma State punt pinned the Red Raiders at the 3-yard line, the defense got the humbling task of chasing Grant all over the field. You see, he may be a good blocker, but he is better with the ball in his hands. Grant caught a bubble screen from quarterback Patrick Mahomes and then made moves that faked out safety Tre Flowers and linebacker Seth Jacobs.

Grant, as he weaved from one side of the field to the other, outran defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, who had a good angle, and then used a block to get by free safety Jordan Sterns. End Jimmy Bean overran Grant, linebacker Chad Whitener and cornerback Michael Hunter Jr. were both blocked before Whitener with a tremendous never-give-up-effort finally tackled Grant at the Cowboy 7-yard line. Tech scored two plays later to lead 14-0. A field goal eventually made it 17-0 before Oklahoma State began working its way back.

On the mistake side, Oklahoma State allowed a lot of yards, a pitch-and-catch touchdown in the second quarter on a slant in the score zone from Mahomes to Grant, and then late in the half Mahomes took advantage of a roughing the passer penalty on Taylor of the Cowboys to complete a pair of passes and then quarterback sneak, questionable if the ball was over, for a touchdown to make it 38-28 at halftime.

Then, as told by head coach Mike Gundy after the game, Spencer and his defensive staff that includes safeties coach Dan Hammerschmidt, who is up in the press box, and corners coach Tim Duffie and defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements, who are both on the field, met in the visiting locker room showers.

At home they meet outside the locker room in a meeting room but on the road it can be anywhere from showers to outside the locker room. Just give these guys some privacy and they will scheme some corrections. They usually don't tell you what they are doing but video shows the staff dialed up some different blitzes the second half and backed off some on the coverage showing some cover three and four looks as well as some zone-man to confuse Mahomes and allow the secondary to better see the play and break on the Texas Tech receivers and keep the big plays from taking place.

The Red Raiders pasisng game was shut down in the third quarter, except for a 20-yard reception on Tech's first play of the half and a 31-yarder later that came on a drive that wasn't finished.

Seeing the plays better contributed to the two interceptions in the fourth quarter, one by Michael Hunter Jr. to stop a drive closing in on the red zone and the other that was a late exclamation point pick six by Ramon Richards.

It was not pretty and it will knock the Cowboys off their perch as the top defense statistically in the Big 12 but it was also good enough in spots to help keep Oklahoma State 8-0 and likely learn something for November and next week as offenses similar come calling to Stillwater starting with TCU. 


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