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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys won't have another memorable season with a defense like this

COMMENTARY — Oklahoma State never came close to stopping Rich Rodriquez's spread attack. Get well soon, Bill Young.
by Berry Tramel Modified: September 9, 2012 at 8:38 am •  Published: September 9, 2012

STILLWATER — Who figured the Cowboys would miss Bill Young more than they would miss Brandon Weeden?

Or Markelle Martin and Jamie Blatnick more than Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper?

Not that Weeden and Co. wouldn’t have come in handy Saturday night in the desert, where Arizona torched OSU’s defense and delivered a 59-38 upset.

In a shootout like this, Weeden2Blackmon would have been awfully valuable. So would have avoiding so many penalties.

Maybe it doesn’t rain much in this corner of America, but Arizona Stadium flooded with yellow flags, virtually all of them thrown against the Cowboys.

But the most stunning development from an orange perspective was OSU’s defensive collapse.

The Cowboy D was supposed to be better than in 2011, when it was good enough to ride shotgun en route to a Big 12 championship.

And with Young, the OSU defensive coordinator, back in Stillwater recovering from a medical procedure, the Cowboys never came close to stopping Rich Rodriguez’s offense.

Mike Gundy didn’t want to hold the defense responsible. He was willing to spread the blame around. Starting with himself and his staff.

“If you want to see how good you coached, just turn on the tape,” Gundy said. “If you want to see how good you played, just look at the scoreboard.

“Poor coaching, poor playing. Bad combination.”

Gundy wanted to dwell on the penalties — 15, for 167 yards worth — and you can’t blame him. Get this. All 15 were major violations. No offsides. No false starts. No delay of game.

All 15 were personal foul or holding or block in the back or interference. And they were spread around. Five against the offense. Seven against the defense. Three against kicking units.

“Really comes down to undisciplined football,” Gundy said. “Just being out of control.”

But even accounting for all the penalties, the OSU defense was a no-show.

Arizona quarterback Matt Scott, who spent four years waiting for his chance, carved up the Cowboys. He completed 28 of 41 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Scott also rushed for 55 yards on 19 carries.

Scott led an offense that produced six touchdowns and three field goals. Not bad for a team that scored 17 points in regulation against the mighty Toledo Rockets a week ago.

Worst of all, OSU didn’t produce a takeaway. Turnovers were the Cowboy D’s calling card in 2011, but none came Saturday night. With co-coordinator Glenn Spencer calling the defense, OSU appeared bewildered to stop RichRod’s spread attack.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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