By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Give Texas Tech University quarterback Seth Doege an inch and he’ll take a mile.
The Oklahoma State University defensive line knew this coming into Saturday’s game but it didn’t hold back against the one-time Heisman hopeful.
“We’re really playing with a lot of enthusiasm, and I think that everybody is just feeding off of each other,” Oklahoma State coach Bill Young said. “When you play with that much energy, it just accelerates everything. We seemed to be playing really, really fast. We gave up some yardage, but at the same time we made some big plays.”
The Cowboys recorded three sacks and pressured Doege enough to force two interceptions.
But it wasn’t just the sacks and the interceptions. Even when Doege did get the passes off there was typically more than one Oklahoma State defensive lineman with a hand on him.
“I feel like he started hearing footsteps, especially toward the end of second quarter,” Oklahoma State sophomore defensive tackle James Castleman said. “After the one or two sacks we had and the quarterback hits, I felt like he started hearing us a little bit more.”
“I hope he wasn’t hearing footsteps,” Oklahoma State senior defensive end Nigel Nicholas said. “I hope I was coming fast enough that he couldn’t hear me. If he did, either way I got the sack.”
Getting pressure on the quarterback has been a point of emphasis all season for the Cowboys. At times, Oklahoma State has struggled on the defensive line.
That wasn’t the case Saturday, limiting the Red Raiders to 383 yards with a season-high 11 tackles for a loss.
“If you look at the makeup over the past five or six weeks, our defense has played pretty good,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “In this league, it’s difficult because of the offenses that we face. Could we play better? Yes. Could we get our defense off the field more on third and long? Yes. Could we have tackled more at Kansas State? Yes, but overall, the defense was pretty good.”
In the pass-happy Big 12, sometimes it’s hard to even sniff the quarterback. Oklahoma State did that and more — all while using a four-man rush for most of the game.
“Coach Young came up with a great game plan and we had a lot of stunts that really worked well,” Nicholas said. “Ryan Robinson and Tyler Johnson and all the other defensive linemen did a great job of running the stunts and executing them to a T. I came free and just sacked (Doege). It wasn’t me, it was Ryan Robinson and Tyler Johnson that broke me free.
“It was real big when we can get a good pass rush with just four down linemen without bring our linebackers and safeties. Whenever we can just keep as many people in coverage as we can, especially playing a great passing team like that, it’s better.”