Oklahoma State is tied for 18th in the nation in turnover margin at plus-4, which is certainly a nod to a defense that produced five takeaways through three games.
But the Cowboy offense has also done its part. J.W. Walsh's second-quarter interception against Lamar — a high pass that bounced off the hands of Jhajuan Seales and into the grasp of Branden Thomas — is OSU's only turnover so far this season.
That is paramount in OSU's spread system, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said, because of the need to run at a high tempo and make plays in the open field.
“We really emphasize ball security in every drill we do,” Yurcich said. “Everything revolves around taking care of the football, being able to run at the pace we do and being able to get our athletes in space while understanding the importance of ball security and practicing those fundamentals. We want to be able to keep that going.”
GLENN SPENCER: LYNDELL JOHNSON NEEDS TO BECOME MORE DISCIPLINED
Lyndell Johnson became one of OSU's biggest playmakers last season, using his range and athleticism as a hybrid linebacker to record 28 tackles (6.5 for loss), two sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry in nine games.
So far in 2013, Johnson has seven tackles but has yet to make one of those signature impact plays from his new position of safety.
Cowboy defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can attribute that to one thing: Discipline.
“The times when he's not able to make a play, it's usually a discipline issue,” Spencer said, “and it's him (not) doing exactly what he's supposed to do. As he grows in that position and those roles that we put him in, he'll get better at that.”
Cowboy guard Brandon Webb on the offensive line's key to performing despite numerous injuries in the early season: “It's really communication. That's all it is. As a line, we're pretty close and we communicate pretty well. That kind of helps everybody get to where they need to be.”
THE ONION POKES FUN AT SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SERIES
The Onion has gotten ahold of the Oklahoma State/Sports Illustrated saga.
The satire news organization included this in its sports briefs section earlier this week, calling the school “an absolutely awesome place to play football” because of its alleged culture of sex, drugs, academic fraud and cash payments and noting that “at press time, every single one of the nation's top 300 high school football recruits had committed to OSU.”
It even provided this fake quote from SI reporter Thayer Evans: “After discovering the typical OSU football player gets access to an unending supply of sex, drugs, and free money, all while the school provides a tutor to do your homework for you, only one thought came to my mind: ‘Ride 'em Cowboys!'”
TYLER JOHNSON'S SECRET TALENT
Tyler Johnson's baseball past has been well-chronicled, as the senior defensive end spent six years in the minor leagues before joining the OSU football program as a walk-on in 2010.
That love of baseball — and specifically, of Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith — also inspired Johnson's secret talent. He taught himself how to do a back flip while in P.E. class in fourth or fifth grade.
“All in one day, I learned how to do it,” he said. “I'm like, ‘I think I can do it on the ground,' because we were doing it on mattresses, and it was actually raining outside and I wanted to do it.
“I'm like, ‘I got this,' so I ran in the rain and did a flip. Ever since then, I was just doing it. I was doing it in baseball when I played.”