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Doubt these Cowboys at your own risk

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — Pundits and prognosticators keep picking against the Cowboys, waiting for them to collapse and lose. But all the Cowboys keep doing is winning and proving them wrong.
by Jenni Carlson Published: October 22, 2011

Instead, OSU has rolled through all three.

Average margin of victory: 11.3 points.

And Saturday was by far the biggest in those conference road games, a three-touchdown beatdown of the Tigers on a day that was less-than-perfect for the Cowboys.

In the first half, OSU had a quarterback who couldn't miss and a group of receivers who couldn't catch.

Then in the second half, it had two great offensive options, Justin Blackmon and Hubert Anyiam, sidelined with injuries.

What to do?

In the first half, Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden just kept throwing strikes until someone caught them. And eventually, they did. Weeden threw three touchdown passes, the OSU defense forced four three-and-out possessions, and the Cowboys threatened to put the game away before halftime.

Then in the second half, the Cowboys turned to the running game. This is a running game, mind you, that had 45 yards at halftime, but it racked up 150 yards after that. Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith and the Cowboy offensive line played like they'd been marching up and down Faurot Field all day.

How to explain a team able to do all that?

“We've got a good football team,” Weeden said. “That pretty much sums it up.”

He shrugged.

“We've got guys who can make a lot of plays.”

That includes the much-maligned defense, which had the two biggest plays of the day.

With the Cowboys clinging to a one-touchdown lead and momentum slipping toward the Tigers early in the first half, Blatnick got one of his paws on a pass and Shaun Lewis intercepted it.

Three plays later, the Cowboys led by two touchdowns.

A few minutes later and Missouri on the OSU 4-yard line, Wilson Youman stripped the ball from Missouri quarterback James Franklin and Lewis came up with the ball again.

Three plays later, the Cowboys led by three touchdowns.

“We talk all the time with our defense about, ‘If you get a turnover, it's going to be a touchdown,'” Cowboy defensive coordinator Bill Young said. “That's what happened today.”

These Cowboys have an opportunistic defense that causes turnovers and a high-powered offense that rolls up points. That has become the formula for a really good football team.

Why doubt that?

“I dunno,” Blatnick said. “People's opinion, that's their opinion and they're entitled to it. We're just going to keep going out here and doing what we do.


by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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