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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys less than a week away from finding out how good it plays defense

Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein will give OSU its toughest test yet.
By Gina Mizell Published: October 28, 2012

And though the stats don't necessarily show it, the Cowboys were excellent last season against Baylor's Robert Griffin III. He finished with 425 passing yards, but threw two interceptions in a game the Cowboys led 42-0 early in the third quarter.

The Cowboys were not so good against Klein a season ago, however. In a wild 52-45 victory for OSU on a night when an earthquake shook Boone Pickens Stadium, Klein finished with 231 passing yards, 144 rushing yards and four total touchdowns. Though the Cowboys did make the decisive stand near the goal line in the game's final seconds.

Klein is even better in 2012, completing nearly 71 percent of his passes for 1,630 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushing 634 yards and 16 touchdowns. He ranks fourth in the nation in scoring and sixth in points responsible for (21 per game).

But the OSU defense is starting to look like the much-improved unit it claimed to be before the season began.

Tackles James Castleman and Calvin Barnett have really plugged the interior, the area Klein likes to pound the ball, much better than last season. The Cowboys have recently gotten increased pressure on the quarterback and have forced five turnovers over the past two games. Against Iowa State and TCU, the Cowboys allowed just six conversions on 31 third-down attempts.

Granted, opposing quarterbacks Jared Barnett, Steele Jantz and Trevone Boykin are not on the same level as Klein. Perhaps no one is as an all-around offensive football player. But Saturday presents a huge opportunity for the OSU defense, especially while the offense continues to find its footing with Wes Lunt back at quarterback.

We'll know by this time next month how good these Cowboys — and their defense — are.

Or, as Young believes, by this time next week.


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