LUBBOCK, Texas — Oklahoma State's defense hears the talk.
OSU's defense is too young and inexperienced, they have too many weak links, they're going to give up big points.
They hear it, and they use it as motivation.
It showed on Saturday as the Cowboys defense was outstanding in OSU's 34-17 win over Texas Tech at Jones AT&T Stadium.
"We really do (take it personal)," cornerback Andrew McGee said. "We heard stuff they were saying about our secondary and how they were going to come after us because we were inexperienced."
OSU held Texas Tech scoreless in the first quarter, allowing 38 yards on 20 plays and forcing five punts as the Cowboys took a 21-0 lead and took the Red Raider crowd out of the game.
"We talked to them all week about coming in, being fast starters," defensive coordinator Bill Young said. "Because we needed to take their crowd out of the game."
Much like they have all season, OSU's defense came up with big plays when they needed them. The Cowboys allowed 401 yards but forced two critical fumbles and stopped both of the Red Raiders' fourth-quarter possessions on fourth down.
One of the Pokes' biggest defensive plays was a Texas Tech fumble by Baron Batch forced by Cowboy safety Johnny Thomas in the third quarter with Tech driving and looking to cut OSU's lead to 24-21.
"They had been running the same play a lot," Thomas said. "They kept coming at me.
"I took it as disrespectful they kept running my way so I decided next time they run it my way, they'll pay."
Thomas' forced fumble halted an eight-play, 38-yard Red Raider drive when Jamie Blatnick recovered the fumble at the OSU 36-yard line. That play was part of a stellar second half by the Pokes defense as they allowed just three points and came up with several key stops including two game-sealing fourth down stops on Texas Tech's final two drives of the game.
The Cowboys also improved on third-down conversion attempts, holding Texas Tech to 6 of 18 conversions (33.3 percent) and were excellent in coverage throughout the game as Red Raider quarterback Taylor Potts passed for 226 yards and one touchdown.
"We mixed in some different coverages on third down and I think it helped us a little bit," Young said.
With all the talk about how explosive Texas Tech's offense can be, OSU's defense under Young held the Red Raiders to 17 points for the second straight year.
"That's fine with us, if you want to talk," McGee said. "We're going to come out and play ball. We know what we can do. We know the talent that we have."