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Oklahoma State football: Defense, special teams providing Cowboys with bonus points

OSU has recorded a touchdown on a kickoff return, punt return, interception return and fumble return, giving the team a lift in a season of inconsistent offense.
by John Helsley Published: November 12, 2013

In the field position battle, the Cowboys are enjoying an average starting spot of their own 37, thanks to the takeaways, a kickoff return average of 25.54 that ranks No. 12 nationally and a punt return average of 15.12 that ranks No. 11 nationally.

“It alleviates pressure,” said OSU offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. “Those things are huge momentum turns. We look for those and stress those.

“And it's great to be part of a team that has the ability to make those things happen.”

For an offense that has shuffled starters at quarterback and running back in an effort to spark the offense, and battled injuries at receiver all season, the outside influence couldn't be timelier. Not that long ago, the Cowboys scored and scored, often seemingly with ease.

Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon and Joseph Randle racked up yards and points and parlayed it all into fame.

Now, the Cowboys are enjoying a better marriage of offense, defense and special teams, with many happy returns during a five-game winning streak that has OSU back in the Big 12 race.

“We don't have Weeden and Blackmon like we used to, just to be able to throw it up and get a touchdown,” said linebacker Caleb Lavey. “We just have to have camaraderie and win as a team. And that's what we've been doing on both sides of the ball as well as the kicking game.

“As long as we can win all three phases, we shouldn't have a problem. They're all equally important now.”

OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer was planning ahead when Kansas kicker Ron Doherty got Saturday's game started.

And Gilbert got the Cowboys started.

“Everybody knows he has the big-play potential. But I wasn't ready for that,” Spencer said. “I was over there thinking about the first series, whatever. Then it's, ‘OK, here we go. We're out there. Here's our first possession after about 15 seconds.'

“But I love having that possession after we have seven on the board.”

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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