What offered the greatest reassurance in the win over SMU?
Fields to Woods
Matt Palmer, Staff Writer
The keys to winning football games are rushing and defense. So goes the traditionalist mantra.
offense to that equation can mean an unstoppable force.
The air attack struggled against every opponent this season until Saturday. Quarterback Josh Fields finally got the timing back in his throw.
He went 17-for-27 with 265 yards, a school record seven touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions.
Fields finally found his favorite target, receiver Rashaun Woods.
The thrashing of SMU, however, helped Woods make up a lot of lost ground. Thirteen catches for a school record 232 yards and an NCAA record seven touchdowns will do that for you.
Granted the defense played amazing, but that unit has been incredible all season. The rushing game struggled, but has been exemplary on every other occasion. Most likely just an "off" game.
The special teams have also been good all season, throwing no red flags our way just yet.
The missing ingredient for OSU has been the passing game from day one.
and Woods are in sync, completing the total package that OSU had the potential
to present this season. The Cowboys should feel a tremendous amount of relief
knowing the special magnetism that Fields and Woods possess peaked again at the
Sometimes it takes even the greatest of duos to warm-up – and while fans always knew Fields' arm was a cannon and Woods' receiving abilities are almost unmatched – it didn't hurt to get a little more proof on Saturday.
Strong defensive play
Jay List, Staff Writer
The greatest reassurance offered in the victory against SMU clearly came in the form of the Cowboy defense's ability to dominate and opposing team's offense. While the Cowboy offense struggled to hit its stride in the first three games of the season, the Cowboy defense showed steady improvement in all facets, culminating in the suffocating performance Saturday night as the OSU defenders strangled the Mustang offense. The Cowboy defenders exerted a stifling effort in the first half, allowing only two first downs, and a meager 33 yards of total offense before giving way to the back-ups.
The improvement on defense from last season
begins with the steady, consistent play of Cowboy veteran defensive ends Antonio Smith and Greg Richmond. Smith and
Secondly, the young, yet vastly talented Cowboy linebackers stabilized the defense in the early part of the season. Pagitte McGee, Lawrence Pinson and Paul Duren combine speed, athleticism, and intense physical play with a full year of experience to give the Pokes a stopping force against the run, and heady play in pass coverages. Victor DeGrate emerged as an exciting young player with the skills to eventually dominate in the middle of the defense.
Finally, the infusion of junior college talent in the secondary combined with the talented bunch of young players thrown into the fire last season gives the OSU defense talent, depth and tremendous versatility. The turnaround of the secondary from last season marks the missing link the Cowboys need for a successful defensive scheme. Vernon Grant, playing at a safety position, wreaked havoc on the Pony offense, using his speed on blitzes, and recording two tackles for losses. The Cowboy coaching staff assembled a track squad in the secondary, giving the Cowboys tremendous team speed.