Question Should Be Who's Going To Stop QB?

Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is staying mum on his quarterback and his options at quarterback for Saturday's game at Texas A&M. However, as important as it is whether Bobby Reid, Al Pena or somebody else will quarterback Oklahoma State it is equally as important who and how the Cowboys defense will stop Aggie standout quarterback Reggie McNeal.

The Cowboy defenders allowed Mizzou signal caller Brad Smith 377 yards of total offense in last week's 38-31 loss to the Tigers. Smith is second in the Big 12 in total offense averaging 340 yards a game. Guess who is third? That's right, A&M's McNeal is averaging 282 yards of offense a game. He is tied for 11th in the conference in rushing with 71 yards a game and he is sixth in passing with 211 yards a contest. The Cowboys can't afford to let the struggling Aggies get back in sync.

"McNeal can hurt you in the air and on the ground," Cowboy defensive end Nathan Peterson said of the Aggies star senior. "He can run and pass and he's a smart quarterback. He fits in their offense well, so we have to take what our coaches ask us to do and get it done. As far as containment, pass rush, either way we have to stop their running game all together."

The game holds special significance for Peterson. It was a year ago that Peterson was really coming into his own as a true freshman. He had four sacks against Iowa State and another sack in a win at Colorado. Then in the nationally televised night game at Boone Pickens Stadium the Aggies handed OSU its first loss (36-20) and Peterson went down with a season-ending knee surgery.

"Two games that I've been thinking about for the last year are Texas A&M, simply because that is when I hurt myself, and Oklahoma, because I didn't have the chance to play in the Bedlam game that I'd been looking forward to since I was a little kid," explained the 6-2, 250-pound defensive end. "This is the first game up and the fact that they best us, and that was our first loss in our house and on our homecoming, I definitely would like to dish it back. It is going to be a tough game and with our offense clicking I'm excited to see what we can do."

Peterson and several other Cowboy veterans like Paul Duren, Jamar Ransom, Darnell Smith, Jerry Don Bray and, of course, Jamie Thompson will have to step it up in leadership with senior linebacker Pagitte McGee out and fellow senior linebacker Lawrence Pinson possibly missing.

"I feel that I have part of the leadership role on the field," said Peterson. "I'm not a vocal guy, but I try to lead by example and make plays on the field. That is something I need to step up and do this week because I didn't do it last week and that is something I need to do. Since we've started Big 12 play we are 0-and-2 and it makes me sick to my stomach thinking about it after the start that we had last year. So it is definitely something that has been on my mind."

Peterson has been on a play count this season after his offseason rehabilitation of the knee. He knows it's what's best, but he can't be blamed for bucking for extra work Saturday in College Station.

"Naturally, I want to be in there whenever I can," said Peterson. "When you aren't in there you feel you are missing an opportunity, but our defensive coaches are the smartest I've ever been around and they know what is best for me and what is best for our team and I have no problem with that."

Just as long as McNeal and the Aggies don't become a problem Saturday afternoon.

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