STILLWATER — Wes Lunt is injured, J.W. Walsh is taking over the offense, and Texas is coming to town in a week.
So, of course, you know who's under pressure.
The Oklahoma State defense.
When last the Cowboys played a big game, conventional wisdom put Lunt in the crosshairs. First road game. True freshman quarterback. How he played at Arizona would determine the outcome.
Instead, the Cowboy defense was the problem, going to the desert and melting down.
It allowed 52 points and 501 yards against the Wildcats. It committed seven penalties, five of them of the personal foul variety. It had no takeaways and no red-zone stops, calling cards during last season's magical run.
Want to atone for those sins against Arizona?
Texas is a great place to start.
These Longhorns are better than a year ago when the Cowboys went to Austin and won going away. The improvement starts with the defense, which is led by a stout line. It will present all sorts of challenges for OSU, which is bound to be more run-oriented and more one-dimensional with Walsh at the helm.
The Cowboy offense is going to have fits and starts. It's bound to happen playing a first-time starter in a big-time game. So, if the Cowboys find themselves in a high-scoring game, I don't like their chances.
The OSU defense can make sure that doesn't happen.
Texas, after all, is solid offensively but not spectacular. The Longhorns run the ball well, but their passing game is only so-so. They average just 254.0 passing yards a game, a paltry number in the pass-happy Big 12.
Among league teams, Texas ranks seventh in passing, ahead of only Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State.
The OSU defense should be able to play better against Texas than it did against Arizona.
Frankly, it has to play better.
This defense is a veteran bunch. Most of the Cowboys who start or play significant snaps were in big games a year ago. Guys like Brodrick Brown, Shaun Lewis and Cooper Bassett know what it takes to win.
That's why what happened at Arizona was so shocking. It wasn't just that the Wildcats moved the ball with ease much of the time. It was that the Cowboys self-destructed.
I mean, five personal fouls?
Say what you will about poor officiating in that game, but any personal foul shows a lack of discipline. It's sloppy. It's unnecessary.
No doubt there were all sorts of issues at Arizona. Lunt threw three interceptions. Joe Randle fumbled. The offense stumbled. But Lunt and Co. started pressing when the defense wasn't stopping anyone.
Want to keep Walsh and Co. from the same vs. Texas?
Then step up, defense.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.