STILLWATER — It's easy to get wrapped up in the Oklahoma State offense, especially after a performance like Saturday's 61-34 victory against Louisiana-Lafayette in the Cowboys' season opener.
There was the good. See: 666 total yards, the ninth-best output in school history. See: Tracy Moore's career day, with seven catches for 112 yards and a touchdown. See: Joseph Randle's first 100-yard rushing performance in his first collegiate start.
Then there was the not-so-good. See: Brandon Weeden accounting for 14 of the Ragin' Cajuns' 34 points because of two interceptions returned for touchdowns.
It was a lot to digest on that side of the ball, as usual. Which, in turn, made it just as easy to virtually neglect the performance of the OSU defense on Saturday night. As usual.
“At times, I thought we really played outstanding,” OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young said.
Granted, ULL is a team that the Pokes' defense should have handled. The Ragin' Cajuns ranked in the bottom third of the nation in total offense last season, have no clear answer at quarterback and an offensive line that lacks depth and experience.
But the OSU defense did not allow a touchdown until the fourth quarter, when most of the first unit was off the field. The Cowboys got a pass rush without much blitzing, recording five sacks and four quarterback hurries. And they held ULL tight end Ladarius Green, a legitimate NFL prospect, to one catch for negative-1 yards.
“We stepped up,” said cornerback Devin Hedgepeth, who snagged his first career interception Saturday. “I know there were a couple of points on the board, but as a defense, we didn't give up too many. We came out and played as a team, and I think it was a statement game.
“We're a great defense, and we can play with anybody in the nation.”
To make that type of statement based solely on Saturday's performance is a stretch. But all of the above shouldn't just get pushed aside, either, simply because of the opponent.
OSU's defense, for the most part, executed well.