Cowboy Defense Works Over Bulldogs

With Boone Pickens watching from the new locker room in the stadium that bears his name, the Oklahoma State football team delivered a message Saturday night. With Pickens looking on the OSU players started chanting, "Work! Work! Work!" The ninth-ranked Cowboys used a workmanlike effort to capture one of the biggest wins in school history with a 24-10 victory over No. 13 Georgia.

The OSU defense has been much maligned in past season, and rightfully so, but in defensive coordinator Bill Young's first game it was the nation's 93rd-ranked defense a year ago that allowed the 81-year-old Pickens celebrate with players 60 years younger afterward.

But what made the Cowboy defensive effort even more impressive is they played without starting middle linebacker Orie Lemon, backup free safety Markelle Martin, and defensive tackle Chris Donaldson. OSU's defense allowed Georgia to march 80 yards in 10 plays on the game's opening drive for a touchdown and 7-0 lead. But the Bulldogs only managed 177 yards – on 50 plays – the remainder of the game.

"You're always concerned any time you lose a great player. Obviously we lost a couple of them in those guy who didn't play (Orie Lemon and Markelle Martin)," Young said, "but at the same time we've got some depth. We're just in a situation where we can't afford to lose anybody else.

"It's just a great win. It was against a real classy opponent in the University of Georgia, so it was a heckuva win. It's one that we needed. We need to get on a roll to get some momentum," Young added.

The Cowboy defense was led by free safety Lucien Antoine, playing in his first game since a season-ending knee injury in the second game of the 2008 season, and middle linebacker Donald Booker, making his first start for the Cowboys after learning early last week that he would be starting after Lemon suffered a knee injury on Monday.

Antoine led the Cowboys with seven tackles, including a forced fumble in the second quarter that led to Dan Bailey's 28-yard field goal to give Oklahoma State a 10-7 halftime lead.

Booker added five tackles and a quarterback hurry. "I thought he played extremely well," Young said of Booker. (Linebackers coach) Glenn Spencer did a great job of preparing him. They spent hours on end in the meeting room watching tape and on the board. I just thought he played awfully good."

Oklahoma State's high scoring offense – led by the "Four for the Show" of Zac Robinson, Dez Bryant, Kendall Hunter and Russell Okung – struggled throughout much of the first half. The Cowboys managed just five first downs and punted on their first four possessions.

But Robinson and Bryant showed why they will be remembered among Cowboy faithful as two of the best to ever player their positions late in the second quarter to tie the score 7-7. Robinson had completed just four of 11 passes when he threw deep into the end zone where Bryant made a diving grab for a 46-yard touchdown with 2:24 remaining in the first half.

The Cowboys took the lead for good on Bailey's 28-yard field goal with just four seconds left before halftime following Antoine's vicious hit on Georgia tailback Carlton Thomas, who fumbled and OSU cornerback Terrance Anderson recovered at the UGA 11.

Robinson, Hunter, Bryant, Okung and Co. took advantage of Perrish Cox's 74-yard return on the second half's opening kickoff to go ahead 17-7. Robinson capped the eight-play, 24-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak for the TD.

OSU put the game out of reach when Robinson and Bryant hooked up for the second scoring pass of the game with 7:59 remaining.

The Cowboy defense again set up the 36-yard touchdown drive when tackle Shane Jarka sacked Joe Cox and forced the Bulldog quarterback to fumble, allowing Nigel Nicholas to recover at the 36. Just six plays later Robinson threw his second TD pass of the game to Bryant.

Robinson finished 11-of-22 passing (after starting out 2 for 9) for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant had just three catches but they totaled 77 yards and two TDs. Hunter carried 23 times for 75 yards.

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