STILLWATER — Bill Young stood in a large theater room Saturday evening, already looking past Oklahoma State's second consecutive dominating defensive performance and already looking ahead.
“We're going to see next week how good we are,” the Cowboy defensive coordinator said. “We'll find out real quick how good a defense we are.”
Collin Klein. No. 2 Kansas State. Saturday night in the Little Apple.
After three consecutive Big 12 victories, OSU has crept back into the USA Today Coaches poll and is ranked No. 24 in the latest BCS standings. The Cowboys continue to be one of two teams that control their conference title destiny. The other, of course, is K-State, a legitimate national title contender and an opponent that kick-starts the four-game stretch that will define OSU's season.
And the first test will likely be the toughest, with K-State proving to be one of the nation's elite teams while beating Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas Tech on its surge up the BCS standings.
OSU will square off against all of those squads in November, which will prove where the Cowboys belong in the Big 12 pecking order. A contender to repeat as conference champ? Or a squad that took advantage of a trio of winnable games in October, only to wilt when the heavy-hitters came calling down the stretch?
After questions about OSU's defense during the first half of the season, the Cowboys have been impressive on that side of the ball as of late, holding three consecutive conference opponents to fewer than 20 points for the first time since 1986. Against Iowa State and TCU, Oklahoma State allowed just two total offensive touchdowns, with both coming in the first quarter.
But here comes Klein, the throwback, dual-threat quarterback who relies on toughness rather than speed. Young calls Klein “a fullback playing quarterback” who can throw the ball, too. Klein also happens to be the Heisman front-runner as we enter the final month of the regular season.
“We played the Heisman winner last year,” Young said. “I guess we'll get another shot at it.”