Share “Don’t forget about defense”

By John Rohde Published: December 28, 2008

/> Cowboys junior cornerback Perrish Cox insists he has no problem with people bragging about his offensive teammates.

"Oh, no. We know we’ve got a good offense,” Cox said. "We play our part on defense. We do our thing. Our offense is going to score. It’s kind of a big boost for us, going against such a talented offense. We see a good offense in practice every day.

"If we can stop our offense, we can stop pretty much any offense. That’s exactly how we say it, too. For real.”

OSU coach Mike Gundy said his defense’s best game came in a 28-23 upset at No. 3 Missouri on Oct. 11, when the Cowboys became the first defense of the season to force the Tigers’ first-team offense to go three-and-out.

This offense-defense disparity hardly is new territory for OSU, particularly in San Diego.

The Cowboys had a similar makeup 20 years ago to the day when they beat Wyoming 62-14 in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 30, 1988.

That OSU team led the nation in scoring (48.7 ppg, including the bowl game), but also ranked 97th in total defense.

Times like these are when a head coach preaches total team effort.

"There are some times when you’re not as good on offense or defense, and they always talk about the other side of the ball,” said Gundy, who was the Cowboys’ record-setting quarterback two decades ago. "You have to be real careful as a coaching staff to make sure everybody understands that ultimately there are three phases to the game. We have to win, no matter what sacrifices each phase has to make.

"I thought this year, particularly, we played better as a group. There’s times defensively we played higher than we did offensively, and there are times special teams carried us.”

John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.