OSU’s clash with Mississippi State didn’t resemble anything close to Big 12 style of football.
Not for either team.
And for the Cowboys defense, that came with a welcome bonus: huddling by the opposing offense.
The proliferation of no-huddle, hurry-up offenses in the Big 12 have forced defenders to be on the run at all times, taxing players mentally and physically. Mississippi State moved at a much slower pace, allowing OSU defenders to breathe and think.
“Oh, man, as a defensive player I love it when an offense huddles,” said Cowboys linebacker Shaun Lewis. “It lets you catch your breath and it lets you think about what they may be running next. That played to our advantage, because we’re so used to up-tempo offenses. That really played into our hands.”
Hard to argue, with the Cowboys dominating on defense from late in the first quarter on. And appearing quite fresh in doing so.
Another factor players pointed to in their as-promised improvement on the defensive side: less thinking, more doing. Rather than read and react to what the offense does at the snap, the Cowboys are intent on delivering the first blow.
“Guys were able to pin their ears back and go to the ball,” Lewis said. “Credit to our defensive coordinator, Glenn Spencer, he really helped us to think less out there. And we were able to play fast out there today.”