OSU coach Mike Gundy knew his defense was gassed

OSU FOOTBALL — Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy said early last week he was concerned about the amount of time his defense had spent on the field this season. That concern was justified late in the Cowboys' loss to Iowa State.
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, gmizell@opubco.com Published: November 19, 2011

STILLWATER — The final minutes of Oklahoma State's shocking double-overtime loss at Iowa State on Friday played out just like coach Mike Gundy worried they could.

First, the OSU defense allowed a 12-play, 89-yard touchdown drive that tied the game at 24 with 5:30 to play.

Then there was a mental lapse when ISU quarterback Jared Barnett found a wide open James White on a wheel rout for a 25-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime.

And after forcing a Brandon Weeden interception to start the second overtime, Cylone fullback Jeff Woody sealed the biggest victory in ISU history when he bulldozed into the end zone on three consecutive run plays, breaking a bevy of Cowboy arm tackles along the way.

Gassed.

Entering Friday's game, the OSU defense had been on the field for 825 plays this season, or the equivalent of nearly three more games than Alabama's defense. It added 101 more snaps against the Cyclones.

When asked Monday if he was concerned about the amount of time the Cowboy defenders had spent on the field so far, Gundy did not hesitate.

“I am,” Gundy said. “We're doing what we can to make up for that in practice. We have a chart for what we think is effective in practice and games, and when somebody gets over that in a game, then you've got to find a way to get back down to what we think allows them to be effective on game day.

“They're over that right now.”

Gundy, always one to use complex formulas to make sure his players are in top physical shape for the duration of a long season, cut down on running and practice time leading up to the trip to Ames. Even in last week's 66-6 romp at Texas Tech, Gundy left Weeden in the game well into the third quarter to avoid the risk of short drives by the second-team offense that would put the OSU defense right back on the field.

But against the Cyclones, the Cowboy defense resembled a big-league hurler who had gone over his pitch count, turning out a solid performance but fizzling late in the contest as ISU pulled off the 37-31 upset.

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