Cowboys force turnover often, but still allow opposition to score

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Kansas quarterback Jordan Webb, center, is sacked by Oklahoma State linebacker Tyler Johnson, right, and linebacker Shawn Lewis, left.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Oklahoma State’s defense is known for its ability to create turnovers. This season, they have created 17 turnovers, 10 of which were interceptions.

“We practice it,” said Oklahoma State defense end Jamie Blatnick. “If you practice forcing turnovers, you will do it in a game. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”

Safety Daytawion Low leads the team with 34 tackles and defensive end Jamie Blatnick boasts three of the team’s 14 sacks. Cornerback Brodrick Brown has three picks.

Last season, the Cowboys finished with 34 takeaways, which was fifth highest in the country.

Defensive coordinator Bill Young said the team emphasizes turnovers in practice.

“Our goal is to get five turnovers in practice every day,” Young said. “We post a sign on our meeting room doors about how many takeaways we got in practice the day before. So we definitely emphasize that aspect of the game.”

Over the past three games, the Cowboys have scored 52 points off of 14 turnovers.

After coming off of a tough loss to rival Oklahoma where Texas allowed five turnovers, the Longhorns will need to protect the ball to stay in the game.

Freshman wide receiver Jaxon Shipley said Texas is well aware of the success of Oklahoma State’s defense.

“They have a great defense,” Shipley said. “I think they are young, but they have proven themselves so far. We need to come out and start the game fast.”

Although forcing turnovers is a strong suit, the Cowboy defense definitely has holes and does not appear strong in statistics. The young Longhorns offense definitely has the opportunity to take advantage of some lapses in the Oklahoma State defense.

Through the first five games of this season, the Cowboys rank 75th in the country against the run and 103rd in both pass defense and total defense. On average, they give up 438 yards per game in total defense.

Although these statistics aren’t what someone would expect from the No. 6 team in the country, the defense is getting the job done and helping the Cowboys maintain their undefeated record.

After the Cowboy’s 70-28 win against Kansas last week, head coach Mike Gundy said he believes that their defense is getting better.

“Our tackles are getting better each week,” Gundy said. “I feel that we did a better job last week playing gap sound defense. We tightened some of the creases, where we were giving up big plays in the weeks before last week’s game. That is really important in our opinion.”

The defense gave up a touchdown on the Jayhawks’s opening drive.

Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said that though the Cowboys are not a great defense statistically, that is skewed information.

“There is no doubt that they are better than their numbers,” Applewhite said. “A lot of times those numbers will get skewed if you are not blitzing, so you are not as aggressive. You are not trying to give them a one-play drive. Then you look at some of those games, those guys are getting pulled in the second quarter.”

Although the stats of the defense aren’t very impressive, no one can deny that the Cowboys can make big plays. 

The young, inexperienced Texas offense will definitely be challenged by a defense who thrives on turnovers. Saturday will definitely be a time for both teams to prove themselves.

“They’re kind of shadowed by their offense, but I believe I think it’s four different players on their team have interceptions,” said Texas center David Snow. “They’re a very good defense. We’ve just got to start preparing for them, and it’s going to be a great battle out here in DKR.”