STILLWATER — Bill Young is known for his calming effect on the sideline with the Oklahoma State defense.
So the Cowboy defensive coordinator did not panic when Iowa State receiver Quenton Bundrage made a 35-yard catch over solid coverage by Brodrick Brown on the first play of Saturday's matchup. Or when Cyclone quarterback Jared Barnett sprinted 20 yards up the middle to the OSU 1-yard line. Or when Jeff Woody scored on a two-yard option on the next play to give ISU an early lead.
“Our coaches told us we were OK,” safety Daytawion Lowe said. “We just needed to calm down and play.”
And the Cowboys responded with 12 stops on ISU's final 13 possessions and just three points allowed the rest of the way, helping propel OSU to a 31-10 victory at Boone Pickens Stadium over the team ranked 24th in the first BCS standings.
“Bill Young does a great job,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “On the headphones, he said, ‘Let's get them over here and get them settled down, get back to the basics and what our plan is against this team.' And obviously it worked.”
The Cowboys (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) closed the game with 11 consecutive stops: eight forced punts — including four three-and-outs — two takeaways and one stop on fourth down. During that stretch, OSU allowed just 184 yards, with 59 of them coming on a meaningless final drive by the Cyclones.
Gundy called the defensive effort “tremendous,” while Young said it was probably his unit's best performance of the season.
“They were assignment-sound, for the most part,” Young said. “I don't think we made very many mental mistakes. We gave great effort and were very fresh in the fourth quarter. The kids were really intent on the sideline, and we like what happened.”
Added Brown: “They made some good plays on the first drive. We wasn't out there lethargic or anything, but they kind of woke us up when they had that first drive. We just wanted to say, ‘No more. That's it.' That's basically what our mentality was the entire game.”
OSU did its job against a Cyclone squad that had struggled on that side of the ball entering Saturday's game, ranking 99th in the nation in total offense (342.83). And many of the reasons why showed.
Barnett was often erratic, completing only 19 of 39 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown, and was replaced in the fourth quarter by former starter-turned-backup Steele Jantz. The run game gained just 101 yards.