DALLAS — Channeling the 2011 version of themselves, the Oklahoma State Cowboys closed the season with the defensive performance they'd been seeking all year.
OSU forced five turnovers and didn't allow a point until 18 seconds remained in the third quarter of an eventual 58-14 victory at the Heart of Dallas Bowl at Cotton Bowl Stadium Tuesday.
Purdue hardly resembled a Big 12 Conference offense, but it wasn't just about production or talent. It was about speed.
“In the Big 12, most of the teams run a spread, no-huddle,” linebacker Lyndell Johnson said. “After the play, you've got to look to the sideline, get the next call, line up and get going. Today, we got to look around and talk to our teammates about all the gidgets and gadgets. It gave us time to catch our breath and get ready.”
That led to fewer tired players, and better preparedness — which ultimately helped produce a season high in turnovers. In 2011, the Cowboys led the nation in takeaways with 44, but had just 17 this season entering Tuesday's game.
“It just happens,” said OSU co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “You preach it every week, you practice it every week. Sometimes they come, sometimes they don't. Not like all of a sudden we came up with a turnover cure in these last few practices. If we'd have done that, we'd have turned it on earlier in the season.”