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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys defensive shortcomings were magnified

OSU REPORT CARD — Oklahoma State's 51-48 overtime loss at OU featured a good Cowboy running game. But OSU's inability to get more pressure on Landry Jones and stop the Sooners on third down proved fatal.
by Jenni Carlson Published: November 24, 2012
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/articleid/3731771/1/pictures/1892758">Photo - Oklahoma's Kenny Stills (4) stiff arms Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert (4) forces him out of bounds during the second half of the Bedlam college football game in which  the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) defeated the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) 51-48 in overtime at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Kenny Stills (4) stiff arms Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert (4) forces him out of bounds during the second half of the Bedlam college football game in which the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) defeated the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) 51-48 in overtime at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Not a great night for a unit that's normally rock solid. The Cowboys gave up a punt return for a touchdown, then made a couple questionable squib kicks on kickoffs that gave the Sooners good field position. They got nothing spectacular in the return game to negate the other missteps.

ADVERSITY RESPONSE: A

The Cowboys kept fighting. They had several opportunities to fold in the face of adversity but always had an answer. OU had a big touchdown drive right before halftime, but OSU came back with a quick touchdown of its own. The Sooners had the punt return for a touchdown, but the Cowboys came back with a 77-yard touchdown drive. The only time the Cowboys didn't answer came at the end of the first half and at the end of regulation; in neither case did they get the ball back with enough time to respond.

THIRD- AND FOURTH-DOWN DEFENSE: D

The Cowboys just didn't get off the field enough when they had the chance. The Sooners converted 10 of 19 times on third down and 2 of 3 times on fourth down, including Blake Bell's game-tying touchdown at the end of regulation. It's difficult to win close ballgames when the opponent converts nearly 55 percent of the time on third and fourth down.

WALSHING MACHINE: C

An average day for the special package for J.W. Walsh. He did save OSU's last scoring drive with a one-handed grab of a high snap. One play later, the backup quarterback scored on his only running attempt. But Walsh attempted no passes and handed off more than anything. Not that that's a bad thing. The package just wasn't as effective as it was when it debuted a week ago against Texas Tech.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
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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