Cowboy Defense Whips Owls

Pagitte McGee, Jamar Ransom, Jamie Thompson and the Oklahoma State defense ensured that Florida Atlantic did what the 112th-ranked Division I-A team should do when playing against a Big 12 team. The Cowboy defense dominated the Owls – forcing four turnovers – en route to a 23-3 victory before a national television audience (ESPN2) on Thursday night at Dolphins Stadium.

McGee, the Cowboys' weakside linebacker, recovered three fumbles that led to 17 points for Oklahoma State. Thompson, a native of Sparr, Fla., was playing his first game in front of many family members and friends and didn't disappoint.

"The defense did a good job of harassing him all night," Thompson said of Florida Atlantic quarterback Danny Embick. "We were just blitzing him, blitzing him and we got a lot of sacks and a lot of turnovers. That's what our main focus and goals were – to get turnovers and have fun."

How good was the Cowboy defense? The first three OSU scoring drives were for a total of 37 yards. Another was for just 22 yards.

Thanks to McGee's first fumble recovery – at the Florida Atlantic 20-yard line when a punt bounced off the foot of an Owl blocker – the Cowboys took the lead 3-0 on Bruce "Sunshine" Redden's 30-yard field goal early in the first quarter. The four play drive netted just six yards but because of the excellent field position the Cowboys took the lead.

The Cowboys gambled on the ensuing kickoff when reserve fullback Jared McCoy recovered a perfectly executed onside kick at the FAU 48-yard line. Nine plays and 26 yards later Redden came on to kick a 44-yard field goal for a 6-0 lead.

OSU's third scoring drive was set up thanks to Thompson, who hit Embick as he was looking for a receiver from deep in Owl territory. The ball popped loose and right into McGee's hands inside the 10 and he was tackled at the 5-yard line. Julius Crosslin followed the blocked of Shawn Willis and John Johnson into the end zone for a touchdown three plays later from the 1. Redden's kick put the Cowboys up 13-3.

Ransom and McGee teamed up for another big Cowboy defensive play midway through the third quarter to set up another touchdown drive. Ransom sacked Embick and knocked the ball loose, and McGee was there to make his third fumble recovery of the game at the Florida Atlantic 21. Two Donovan Woods pass completions – 5 yards to Bobby Reid and another 5 yards to Tommy Devereaux – and two running plays – Mike Hamilton up the middle for 9 yards and Crosslin for the TD from 2 yards out – gave the Cowboys an unsurmountable 20-3 lead.

OSU's final scoring drive – of 54 yards on 13 plays in the fourth quarter – was their longest of the night and concluded with Redden drilling his third field goal of the game (from 28 yards out).

"Coach kind of put us in the right positions to make plays, and I tried to take advantage of it," McGee said. "I wanted to be around the ball tonight ... whatever it takes to get the offense on the field."

OSU head coach Mike Gundy said, "We talk as a staff and as a team early in the year in most cases that games are won on defense, special teams and winning the turnover game, and our team has done a good job of that."

The Cowboy defense was in the face of Embick all night. He finished just 7-of-16 throwing for 91 yards and was sacked four times. He completed his first five passes of the game but was just 2-of-11 after that. OSU's defense had 13 tackles for loss in the game and only allowed the Owls to convert on 1-of-11 third down plays all night.

"One time I think three guys hit the quarterback at the same time. Nate Peterson, Jamar Ransom, everybody did a good job of getting to the ball," Thompson said.

The Cowboys, as they did in their season opener against Montana State just five nights earlier, struggled offensively (just 292 yards of total offense against FAU) but managed to get enough points on the scoreboard. Both Donovan Woods and Bobby Reid shared duties at quarterback. Woods was 7-of-12 passing for 47 yards while Reid completed 4-of-10 passes for 51 yards.

Redshirt freshman running back Mike Hamilton, from Melbourne, Fla., finished with 105 yards on 21 carries. Reid had 48 rushing yards while Crosslin finished with 29 but scored both Cowboy touchdowns.

"When you're on the road and you win by 20 points it's a good win," Gundy said.

The Cowboys return to action on Saturday, Sept. 17, when Arkansas State travels to Stillwater for a 6 p.m. kickoff at Boone Pickens Stadium.

GoPokes Top Stories