OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young and cornerback Justin Gilbert both noted they often knew what the Mountaineers (5-4, 2-4) were capable of running out of certain formations, because the Cowboys’ system is so similar. But Young also knew WVU was capable of being explosive.
“It was so hard to relax,” Young said. “Because you knew they were capable of scoring in a second.
“We were talking to (the players) about if we could just shut them out (in the fourth quarter) and keep them out of the end zone on touchdowns. Field goals we didn’t think would beat us, but touchdowns, they can catch up with you in a hurry.”
The Cowboys’ offense also benefited from a dramatic turnaround on special teams, an area Gundy said was “terrible” against K-State.
Gilbert gave OSU a lift with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first half. OSU also recovered a botched a kickoff and punt deep in WVU territory, which led to 10 Cowboy points.
“It’s important that everybody realizes the supporting cast for (the offense) has been really good each week,” Gundy said.
“We went a stretch there through IowaState and TCU where our defense was fantastic, and our offense was sputtering and the quarterback kind of managed his way through it. And then we went through today where our special teams were really good to kind of get Clint going.”
With all the injuries, it’s almost become normal for the Cowboys to enter each week with uncertainty at the quarterback position. That was the case again following Saturday’s win.
But Monken said the offensive performances OSU keeps putting up — no matter who plays quarterback — are a credit to the system first implemented by Holgorsen, and to the guys on the field.
“You hope you recruit good players,” Monken said. “You hope that they’re smart. You hope that they understand what you’re teaching them and where to go with the ball and how you give yourself a chance to have success on offense.”