By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State junior safety Daytawion Lowe did everything right to pick off Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett. Lowe read the quarterback’s eyes and jumped the route perfectly. Unfortunately so did sophomore linebacker Lyndell Johnson.
As a result, the two players collided and the gift-wrapped interception fell harmlessly to the turf at Boone Pickens Stadium. The incompletions set up an Iowa State field goal and proved to be a microcosm of everything that has gone wrong for the Cowboys’ defense this season.
“I was hurting after that one,” Lowe said. “I was trying to bait him and I didn’t see Lyndell trying to do the same. I’m glad we had two people going for the ball. ... I was mad at the time, but I love to see our guys flying to the ball.”
Lowe eventually did get his interception, picking off Barnett on Iowa State’s opening drive of the second half, but it’s missed opportunities like the dropped interception that has been a cause for concern for the Cowboys.
“We really think we have a solid defense,” Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Bill Young said. “I’ve said and will continue to say that we need to cause more turnovers. When we give our offense the football on a short field, good things happen, and that showed today.”
For a team that led the nation in takeaways last season, the Cowboys forced five turnovers prior to Saturday’s game against Iowa State — none of them caused by a starting member of the secondary.
With Lowe’s interception and a fumble recovery by Calvin Barnett, Oklahoma State is hoping the balls will start bouncing its way.
“They were coming in last year, but we haven’t got too many this year,” Lowe said. “Now we have to keep on getting them. Now that we have some, hopefully they’ll keep on rolling.”
Turnovers may have been the key reason Oklahoma State only gave up 341 yards of offense to Iowa State, but it was also the sure tackling that forced the Cyclones to have nine drives that lasted four plays or less.
“The first drive they had against us was 75 yards and the last one was 51,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “You look at 341 yards, but for the middle of the game they only have about 215 or 220. Our guys really played well.”
The performance may not be on par with what last season’s squad did for a majority of the season, but Lowe said Saturday felt like another step in the right direction.
“That was probably about the best that I’ve seen us play this year,” Lowe said. “We talked about finishing because we were kind of disappointed in ourselves that (Kansas) put that 14 on the board at the end and making it a close game like that. We talked about staying on the gas and finishing them off, and I think we did that.”