LUBBOCK, Texas — Markelle Martin has already seen the Texas Tech offense this season.
He and the rest of the Oklahoma State defenders go up against it every day in practice.
In what was tabbed as a matchup between two of the most potent spread offenses in the nation, OSU’s defense did not allow a point in the No. 2 Cowboys' 66-6 victory over Tech on Saturday at Jones Stadium.
“It's kind of easy when you face our offense every day,” said Martin, who had three tackles Saturday. “It's stuff we see every day, so we're comfortable with it, we're better prepared.
“For us, it's just practice.”
One week after the OSU defense gave up 38 of Kansas State's 45 points and needed a goal-line stand in the final seconds to preserve a 52-45 win, the Cowboy defense put together its best performance of the season against the Red Raiders to push its record to 10-0 for the first time in school history.
“It definitely made up for how we played last week,” OSU linebacker Shaun Lewis said. “The good thing about it is last week, we got the win. And today, we got the win. That's all that matters.”
And the Pokes did not have to rely on forcing turnovers, as two of OSU's three takeaways came on special teams.
Instead, OSU allowed only 270 yards of total offense and forced seven punts. Tech quarterback Seth Doege, who ranked fifth in the nation with more than 351 passing yards per game entering Saturday, was held to 169 yards and no touchdowns.
By the time Tech (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) crossed into OSU territory in the second quarter, the Cowboys were already up 35-0. The Red Raiders never entered the red zone.
“They played with a lot of energy and they ran to the football,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “Even when (Tech) did make a play, we were very physical in our tackling.
“Defensive football is about assignments and effort, being in the right spot, running to the football, and that's what they did.”
Only when a Joseph Randle fumble in the third quarter was scooped up and by Cornelius Douglas and returned 37 yards for a touchdown did Tech get on the board.
Of course, there was plenty of offense on this day. Brandon Weeden completed 31 of 37 passes for 425 yards and five touchdowns, while Justin Blackmon and Josh Cooper both had more than 100 receiving yards. The Cowboys scored on seven of their first eight possessions to lead 49-0 at halftime.
And for the seventh time in 10 games, the OSU defense held up its end before intermission by allowing one offensive touchdown or less in the first half.
The difference Saturday, however, was that carried over to the second half, when teams tend to rack up yards and points against OSU because the game is already out of hand. The Cowboys stopped two Tech drives in OSU territory on unsuccessful fourth-down plays and forced three punts after the break.
“There are a ton of games, if you look earlier in the season, if we would have played our second half like we did today, it would have been the exact same thing,” OSU defensive end Cooper Bassett said. “We took it upon ourselves that we didn't give up any points.
“We went out there and just wanted to be a proud, prideful defense and take care of business. It was awesome doing that.”
The Cowboy defense will not face a spread that mirrors what OSU runs when they travel to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State on Friday. But defensive end Jamie Blatnick said he was pleased with how the Cowboys responded after a “sloppy” performance against K-State.
“Who would have thought we'd come out here and not let them get in the end zone?” Blatnick said. “I don't know the numbers or anything, but I felt like we played a good game. We had a great week of practice and we prepared for it.
“We had great keys—we knew where they were running before they were running it. That preparation showed today.”