NORMAN — Defensive tackle was supposed to be the Cowboys' Achilles' heel. In a high profile season opener at Georgia, everyone, even Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, expected "the Bulldogs to try and run it straight down our throats.”
Oddly enough, the few times that happened all season was fourth quarter meltdowns when OSU's depth-challenged defense tired. Most of the season, the Cowboys were decent stopping the run.
No. 10 Oklahoma's offense dominated from the outset to romp to a 49-17 win.
The Sooners had four first-half offensive possessions. They scored touchdowns on all four behind methodical touchdown drives of 50, 58, 68 and 87 yards.
"We haven't faced a team that lines up with two and three tight ends and literally just pounds the ball at you,” said defensive coordinator Tim Beckman. "We loaded the box. We blitzed it. We did everything. It just didn't turn out our way.”
Only two other opponents ran for more than 200 yards all season. Texas ran for 307 yards, the majority coming in the fourth quarter. Nebraska rushed for 206.
OU ran for 307 and senior Allen Patrick 202 of those.
"We have to develop young guys and get stronger in the interior and get some pass rush,” Gundy said. "You have to be able to stop people when they want to run it.”
Beckman confessed he's never had to patch together a defense as much as he's had to this season, whether it was moving Donovan Woods to linebacker, teaching Ricky Price how to play safety or late in the season moving Woods and Andre Sexton.
"You deal with the hand that you're dealt,” Beckman said. "You can't go on a waiver wire and pick somebody up. You have to play with what you've got and we've got to get them better. We're still young there. We'll get better.”
That's the biggest key to upgrading the program. This season the Cowboys were forced to play two inexperienced defensive tackles. Mo Cummings and Jeray Chatham hadn't started a game.