“To me, he's been the best, most consistent cover corner in college football this year,” McShay said. “The guy's a flat-out playmaker.”
The Cowboys hope he's available to make plays against Baylor.
If not, the secondary takes a hit, against a Bears offense that stretches the field from sideline to sideline and deep downfield. Even without injured standout Tevin Reese, Baylor has Antwan Goodley leading the Big 12 in receiving yards per game, as well as receiving touchdowns, plus another top-10 pass-catcher in Levi Norwood, who has thrived in Reese's absence.
“I feel like we aren't trying to step in and fill his gap,” Norwood said. “We are just stepping in and doing what we are needed to do.”
If Gilbert can't go, or is limited, attention turns to senior Tyler Patmon and sophomores Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin, with limited depth. And the Cowboys also lose one of their best special teams men, including the conference's top kick returner.
Of course, OSU coach Mike Gundy isn't talking about injuries, so Gilbert's true status for Saturday remains uncertain. And it's the same for Stewart, although the Cowboys did OK with a plug-and-play approach to filling his void last week, thanks to a deeper receiving corps, led by Tracy Moore, Charlie Moore, Jhajuan Seales and David Glidden.
The Cowboys had more trouble replacing Stewart on punt returns, which became a bit of an adventure at Texas.
So OSU enters Saturday with two key questionable starters and stars. And trying to keep its saddle out of a sling.