LUBBOCK, Texas — Lyndell Johnson turned toward the Texas Tech student section and waved with his whole arm swinging back and forth.
Then, he blew a kiss.
Red Raider fans were more than happy to see the Oklahoma State safety go. Same for the rest of the Cowboy defense.
OSU 52, Texas Tech 34.
The high-powered, high-scoring Red Raider offense had 18 possessions and ran 97 plays on Saturday night. What do these guys think this is, last season? And yet, they managed only 27 points.
Thirteen empty ones.
“The defense was tremendous,” Cowboy coach Mike Gundy said. “This is not an easy place to play at night when they're throwing it around.”
It was another successful night for the Cowboy defense. In a season that has taken a ton of wacky twists and turns for the Cowboys because of the offense, the defense has been solid throughout the season.
Maybe, just maybe, that steady play on defense has given the offense a chance to get its legs under it. Maybe, just maybe, what we saw Saturday can carry over the rest of the season.
Because, hey, the Cowboys are still in the hunt. They can win the Big 12.
And if they do, they'll have the defense to thank for it.
The defense came out and set a tone against Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders' first possession: three-and-out punt.
Second possession: punt.
Third possession: fumble.
Fourth possession: blocked punt.
There were a couple of constants in the Cowboys' early success that carried through the rest of the game.
First, they tackled well. They didn't make every tackle — a Justin Gilbert whiff resulted in Tech's first touchdown — but a vast majority of the night, the first man to make contact with the ball carrier brought him down. That is key against the Red Raiders, who do lots of their damage in space and with yards after the catch.
Second, the Cowboys got pressure on Davis Webb. The Red Raider quarterback has been really good this season, but he is still just a freshman. He will make freshman mistakes if you fluster him a bit, and the Cowboys did. He ended up throwing long and low and wide of receivers. He never settled into a rhythm.