Cowboy Defense Does the Job

STILLWATER – Give credit where credit it due – to the Oklahoma State defense – for the Cowboys' 36-7 victory over Iowa State Saturday afternoon at Boone Pickens Stadium. The Cowboys improved to 4-0 – their best start since the 1997 team won their first six and eventually finished 8-4 – entering next Saturday's Big 12 showdown at Colorado.

The OSU defense took over in the second quarter, allowing the Cowboy offense to score 23 unanswered points in a stretch of 12 minutes, 55 seconds to break open a scoreless tie. To score those 23 points the Cowboy offense had to go 59 yards (for a Jason Ricks 22-yard field goal), 7 yards (for a Donovan Woods 3-yard touchdown run), 18 yards (for a Ricks 39-yard field goal), 25 yards (for a D'Juan Woods 11-yard touchdown catch from his brother Donovan Woods), and 27 yards (for another Ricks field goal, this one from 29 yards).

OSU completely dominated the Iowa State offense, sacking the Cyclone quarterbacks eight times and forcing four turnovers (all of which led the Cowboy scores). Freshman defensive end Nathan Peterson had three quarterback sacks and forced a fumble, safety Jamie Thompson recorded two sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble, and linebackers Lawrence Pinson and Pagitte McGee were each credited with a sack and fumble recovery.

"I really thought our defense came to play all day," OSU head coach Les Miles said. "I thought our defense set the tone. I think they really improved in the off week. I thought they had great plans, except for one drive.

"I think Nathan (Peterson) has gotten better steadily, and he had a tremendous game today. I thought 99 (Pinson) played well, and Jamie played well, and I thought Vernon Grant played well." The OSU offense struggled in the early going before putting together a nine-play, 59-yard drive that stalled inside the Iowa State 5-yard line. Jason Ricks kicked a 22-yard field goal early in the second quarter to give the Cowboys a 3-0 lead.

Two plays later, Iowa State tailback Tyease Thompson was hit by Darrent Williams and fumbled, with Thompson recovering on the Cyclone 7-yard line. Donovan Woods kept the ball on third-and-goal from the 3 a few seconds later for the TD. Ricks' extra-point kick gave the Cowboys a 10-0 lead.

Iowa State was looking to get back in the game on its next possession, but Peterson had other ideas. On third-and-four from the Cyclone 24, Peterson recorded his first sack of the game and Iowa State was forced to punt.

The Cowboys took over on the Iowa State 39 after freshman Prentiss Elliott fumbled the punt out of bounds. After five consecutive running plays, and an incomplete pass, Ricks was called upon again – this time connecting on a 39-yard field goal. The OSU defense forced another three-and-out series by the Cyclones and Elliott set up the offense with a 32-yard return to the Iowa State 25. Given a short field, the Cowboys wasted little time in scoring for the fourth time in a span of just more than 10 minutes.

Vernand Morency carried for 14 yards down to the Cyclone 11. On the next play, Donovan Woods dropped back and lofted the ball to the corner of the end zone where brother D'Juan went up and got it for an 11-yard touchdown to make it 20-0.

The Cyclones were attempting to get back in the game on their next possession, but Thompson had other ideas. The OSU safety surprised Iowa State quarterback Bret Meyer on a blitz and knocked the ball loose allowing defensive tackle Clay Coe to recover at the Cyclone 27 with 54 seconds remaining in the first half.

It appeared the Cowboys would score their third touchdown of the second quarter after backup quarterback Al Pena's 18-yard completion to tight end Billy Bajema to the Iowa State 9. But the Cowboys were forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal from Ricks to take a 23-0 halftime lead.

Oklahoma State added a pair of second half touchdowns – both on short runs by Morency – but the game was really decided during the second quarter.

Iowa State drove 73 yards for its only score of the game in the third quarter with Meyer throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Todd Blythe.

But the Cowboys answered that scoring drive with one of their own, marching 70 yards in seven plays to put a close to any Iowa State comeback attempt. The big play on the drive was a 45-yard Woods-to-Woods completion that gave the Cowboys a first down at the Cyclone 11. Three players later Morency went up the middle from the 6 for the TD. The extra-point kick failed but the Cowboys were up 29-7.

In the fourth quarter, the OSU defense once again gave Woods and Co. a short field. Thompson, coming on a safety blitz, sacked Meyer and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Pinson at the Cyclone 38. Woods connected with Bajema for 16 yards, Iowa State jumped offsides and Morency handled the rest, rushing for 2, 12 and 3 yards (the last for a touchdown).

Morency started out slowly, rushing for only 35 yards on seven carries in the first half, but finished with 143 yards on 28 attempts. Morency went over the 100-yard rushing mark for his sixth straight regular season game dating back to last season, and he has scored 12 touchdowns in his last seven games.

Iowa State………..0 0 7 0 -- 7
Oklahoma State…0 23 6 7 -- 36

OSU---Jason Ricks 22 field goal
OSU---Donovan Woods 3 run (Ricks kick)
OSU---Ricks 39 field goal
OSU---D'Juan Woods 11 pass from Donovan Woods (Ricks kick)
OSU---Ricks 29 field goal
ISU----Todd Blythe 9 pass from Bret Meyer (Brian Jensen kick)
OSU---Vernand Morency 6 run (kick failed)
OSU---Morency 3 run (Ricks kick)

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