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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

Of course, the OSU defense is used to spending plenty of time on the field this season. Baylor ran 105 plays against OSU last month, yet the Cowboys won by 35 points. OSU ranks last in the Big 12 in time of possession (26:59).

But the reason for the extended play for the defense is usually because the Cowboy offense is scoring quickly and scoring often. And the game has often become lopsided early in the second half, meaning that the first-team defense has rarely been asked to play a full game this season.

That wasn't the case Friday, as the OSU offense sputtered to its worst performance of the season.

The Cowboys had five turnovers and four punts. They scored only 17 offensive points in regulation and zero after the first possession of the third quarter. They had eight drives in regulation that were five plays or less and ran 25 less plays than ISU.

Without OSU's normal pile of points, the defense could not hold for four quarters and two overtimes. Though it did give the Cowboys a chance to win in regulation when an Alex Elkins interception and personal foul put the ball at the ISU 29 with 3:17 to go in the fourth quarter before Quinn Sharp missed a 37-yard field goal with 1:17 remaining.

The bye week comes at a premium time for the Cowboys following the stunning defeat that likely knocked them out of the national title race.

Players and coaches will be able to reflect and grieve after the tragic plane crash that killed OSU women's basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and two others. There will be extra time for film study and game planning for Bedlam. Everyone will get a break for Thanksgiving.

And the OSU defense, which is on pace to surpass last season's mark of 1,069 snaps, will finally get some much-needed rest.


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