March 9, 2016
After the offense struggled last week against Texas, the Cowboys dropped 50 on the Mountaineers in Morgantown. The defense had a solid game overall, holding the West Virginia offense to 25 points in a 50-39 win for the Pokes. Mason Rudolph had a fairly pedestrian day, throwing for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns. The run game was the story of the day, though, with JD King breaking onto the college football landscape. After Justice Hill went down with an injury on only his second carry, King rushed for 142 yards on 36 carries and two total touchdowns on the day.
The defense had another solid day, forcing 5 Mountaineers turnovers, including 4 interceptions of Will Grier. Once again, the run defense was incredible, holding the Mountaineers to 62 yards on 30 carries. Justin Phillips led the way with 6 total tackles, and AJ Green had a breakout game with 2 interceptions.
I have talked a lot about the defense in this series of articles this year, and rightfully so. The narrative is that the Big 12 does not “play” defense because of the high scoring offenses. However, it cannot be understated how good the Cowboy defense has been this year. Young at nearly every position group, they have stepped up and have been getting better every week, this is going to be key for the rest of the season.
The defensive line has been a key to the success of Oklahoma State’s defense this season. Guys like DeQuinton Osbourne and Jordan Brailford have had a lot of success this season. One guy that has gotten lost in the mix this year is Cole Walterscheid, but he had a fantastic game against West Virginia. He is my unsung hero this week. Walterscheid had 3 tackles, one for loss, and a sack (it should have been two sacks, but it was negated by a questionable horse collar tackle penalty).
He has been a great edge rusher for the Cowboys the last two years. He came on strong last season, playing in place of the aforementioned Brailford, who missed all of last season with an injury. He only has 11 tackles through 8 games this season, but what he has been able to do is provide continued depth on the defensive line for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys rotated 4 guys in and 4 guys out during drives. Having that type of depth is important, especially against high-flying offenses. If Walterscheid can continue to produce, he will be a part of the success of the defense as the Oklahoma State tries to contend for a Big 12 title.