Defensive coordinator Bill Young was back, and so was the Oklahoma State defense.
A week after going M.I.A. in the desert in a 59-38 loss at Arizona, the Cowboys were back to business in Saturday's 65-24 win over Louisiana at Boone Pickens Stadium.
OSU posted a first-half shutout while the offense piled up 44 points, and Young was pleased with the effort in his first game of the season.
Young had missed the first two contests following an undisclosed medical procedure, but was glad to be back.
“It felt wonderful,” Young said of his return to the sideline. “I think we had six three-and-outs, which was really good. We were better in all phases from last week.”
Aside from a few minor tackling issues — though nothing as serious as the Arizona game — the Cowboys were strong defensively, with the first-teamers essentially allowing only 10 points and less than 300 yards.
“(The defense) was a very disappointed bunch this week,” Young said. “They knew they didn't play up to their standards and they knew they needed to play better. They couldn't wait to get back on the field and show that.”
Young also credited his players for not having “a lot of dumb penalties.” The defense was responsible for many of OSU's record 167 penalty yards at Arizona. In all, OSU was penalized five times for 45 yards Saturday.
The Cowboys also recorded a takeaway for the first time in nearly eight quarters.
They failed to create a turnover at Arizona, but finally snapped the drought in the closing seconds of the first half Saturday with a fumble recovery.
It was the Cowboys' first takeaway since its first defensive series of the second half against Savannah State two weeks ago, and they quickly took advantage. On the next play, Quinn Sharp made a 44-yard field goal to end the first half.
OSU led the nation with 44 takeaways last season, yet the Pokes have only three this year.
STALEY GOES THE DISTANCE
Though he weighs 230 pounds and has come back from one of the worst knee injuries the OSU training staff has ever seen, Kye Staley showed that he still has a little zip.
The fullback caught a pass in the flat, got key blocks from Tracy Moore and Charlie Moore, and barreled 52 yards for a touchdown, the second of his career.
“I haven't run that long since high school,” said the senior from Guthrie. “I try to do the best I can when I get the ball.”
Staley finished with two catches for 65 yards. For his career, he had 10 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown entering the game.
GLIDDEN INTO ACTION
Mustang product David Glidden, a redshirt freshman, saw the first action of his OSU career, and he stayed busy in his new job.
Glidden, who missed the first two games with an ankle injury, was promptly inserted as the Cowboys' punt returner, a position of concern going back to last year.
Glidden was the top candidate for the job in spring, prior to his injury. Receiver Charlie Moore handled the duties the last two weeks with six returns for 55 yards.
Glidden got plenty of experience Saturday with Louisiana punting seven times. He returned five for 19 yards, including a 12-yarder. Glidden fielded all seven punts cleanly, which was the biggest concern for coaches.
Linebacker Alex Elkins, who was questionable to play Saturday with an undisclosed injury, did not see the field. Demarcus Sherod got the start in his place.
Sherod, a 6-foot, 220-pound redshirt freshman, finished with three tackles, which doesn't sound like much, but four players led the team with four stops each.
The start was the first of Sherod's career. Offensive lineman Jake Jenkins and tight end Jeremy Seaton of Cashion also made their first career starts Saturday.
HEDGEPETH INJURED AGAIN
Oklahoma State lost its shutout on a play when points allowed seemed to mean very little. Louisiana's Blaine Gautier hit Darryl Surgent for a 73-yard touchdown when OSU defensive back Devin Hedgepeth went down with a lower leg injury early in the play.
Hedgepeth has had a history of injuries, tearing his Achilles tendon twice in the past year. Coach Mike Gundy's policy is to not release injury information until the Friday before the next game, but early indications from the sideline Saturday pointed to another Achilles injury in the same leg.
GUNDY WIN COUNTER
Saturday's win improved Gundy's coaching record to 61-31, putting him one win behind Pat Jones' record of 62 coaching victories at OSU. The earliest Gundy could break the record would be at Kansas on Oct. 13.
Through three games, the Cowboys offensive line has yet to allow a quarterback sack... Running back Joseph Randle's two rushing TDs gave him 30 for his career, the sixth Cowboy to reach that mark... Sharp's 51-yard field goal in the first quarter was the longest of his career... Louisiana kicker Brett Baer missed a field goal in the first half, snapping a streak of 18 consecutive made field goals... Saturday's attendance was 56,062, the seventh-largest crowd in school history.