Alexander an Example of the Future

There wasn't much to celebrate for anyone in orange in the Alamodome on Wednesday night. Oklahoma State's fate wasn't as dire as that of the Texans at the Alamo, but Ohio State throttled a mistake-prone Cowboy offense and used the mistakes and the great field position to put the Oklahoma State defense on its heels.

Ohio State averaged starting in Cowboy territory the first half and its own 31-yard line for the game. Meanwhile Oklahoma State averaged starting from its own 17 in the first half, and its own 21 for the game. That tells you really all you need to know about the game. Add the two turnovers early by the Cowboys that helped the Buckeyes forge that early advantage and you have the story of the game.

There were some bright spots. Some of the many young players on this squad showed up to make some plays. The Cowboys need better play at cornerback and that's why it caught my eye that after injuries to starting cornerbacks Robert Jones (cramps) and Daniel McLemore (stinger) redshirt freshman cornerback Andrew Alexander and true freshman Martel Van Zant came on. Ohio State was still throwing the ball and Alexander went stride for stride and inch for inch on the jumps in breaking up several passes intended for superstar freshman Ted Ginn Jr.

"I was just going out there to do my job," said the Lawton native. "I wasn't trying to do anything extra, just what the coaches tell me to do. It was fun guarding one of the fastest guys in the country."

Officially he had two tackles and two passes defended. Alexander was a symbol of the future. Gone are several key seniors, a class that came in at the beginning of the Miles era and helped to build the foundation of this program. But the bulk of the team is young and will return next season, and those players will need to build on to the foundation and take the Cowboys up the ladder in the Big 12 and beyond.

"I've been waiting for this chance since my freshman year," said Alexander. "I had to redshirt my first year, but I want to come in next year and be one of the guys that can be depended on on he defensive side of the ball. We have to work as hard as we did this last year and even harder. If we do that we will get better and better."

"The future of this team is guaranteed by the strength and the talent of the young players that are on it," said O-State head coach Les Miles. "The next year and the year after that this football team will get better. It is a team that will look very ambitiously toward the off season fixing these things that affected us today. The burden of this football team and of this team getting better is ours -- the coaches and the players that remain."

It wasn't much but little signs of future success from some of the young Oklahoma State players that will be asked to step up will have to do from the Alamo Bowl. Overall, it was a lousy night against a team just two years removed from being national champions. It was proof that the Cowboys have several steps to make in the climb toward their declared goals.

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