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October 20, 2010

Breaking down the Oklahoma State defense

Nebraska Opponent Defensive Scouting Report

Team: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Location: Stillwater, Okla.

Colors: Orange & Black
Enrollment: 32,000
Stadium: Boone Pickens Stadium (60,218) in Stillwater, Okla.
Conference: Big 12 (South Division)

Head Coach: Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State, 1990), 42-27 in six seasons
Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line: Bill Young

2010 Record: 6-0 (2-0 Big 12)
National Ranking: No. 17 (AP), No. 15 (Coaches)
Series Record vs. Nebraska: Nebraska leads 36-5-1

Game Date: Saturday, Oct. 23
Game Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
TV: ABC
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Up Front: DE Jamie Blatnick (6-3, 263) and DE Ugo Chinasa (6-5, 255) have come off the edge to combine for 27 tackles including six tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. Blatnick leads the squad with three sacks and also has a forced fumble and recovery to his credit. Chinasa also has a fumble forced and recovered and has added the defensive line's only interception. DT Chris Donaldson (6-1, 296) and DT Shane Jarka (6-3, 298) provide the inside presence while helping OSU hold opponents to 124.5 rushing yards per game.

The Middle Men: MLB Orie Lemon (6-1, 243) paces the Cowboy defense by recording 62 tackles this fall, including 52 solo stops, to rank 16th nationally with 10.3 tackles per game. Lemon, who owns nearly twice as many tackles as the No. 2 OSU defender, also has a team-high five tackles for loss with 1.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries. He's joined in the starting lineup by SLB James Thomas (5-11, 216) and WLB Justin Gent (6-1, 225), who rank third and sixth, respectively, with 29 and 23 tackles. Thomas and Gent are tied for the team lead with two quarterback hurries apiece, while Thomas has added three pass breakups, a 63-yard fumble return, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.

In the Back: CB Brodrick Brown (5-8, 188) is second on the squad with 32 tackles this season, including 31 solo stops. He also owns one of OSU's eight interceptions, trailing only CB Andrew McGee (6-0, 190), who has a team-high three interceptions with an average return of 30 yards. McGee is 15th nationally with 0.5 interceptions per game. FS Johnny Thomas (5-11, 202) and SS Markelle Martin (6-1, 202) are fourth and fifth on the team in tackles, respectively, with Markelle leading the squad with four pass breakups to go with an interception.

Kicking It: P Quinn Sharp (6-1, 194) has been called on to punt an average of four times per game (24 total) while placing three inside the 20 and forcing eight fair catches. He has averaged 45.6 yards per punt to rank 10th nationally while helping OSU rank 13th in net punting. Sharp also handles kickoffs for the Cowboys and averages 69.3 yards per kick with 35 touchbacks in 53 attempts.

Return Game: The Cowboys rank 27th nationally in punt returns, averaging 11.2 ypr between five players with a return. PR Justin Gilbert (6-0, 194) leads the way, averaging 6.9 ypr to rank 52nd in the country. Gilbert has also brought back 10 of OSU's 25 kickoff returns this season, averaging 23.8 ypr with a long of 45 yards. Joseph Randle (6-0, 193) and Kendall Hunter (5-8, 200) each average more than 20 yards on five and four returns, respectively.

They Said It: "Texas used great speed. They rallied to the ball and made tackles in space. So it was really pretty simple when you watch it. Guys showed up to the ball and they ran them down and made plays." - Coach Mike Gundy on if Texas gave the OSU defense a blueprint to slow down Taylor Martinez and Nebraska's option attack.

Quick hits

***When Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was a player at Ohio State, current Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young was on John Cooper's staff. Young served as defensive coordinator during Pelini's junior and senior seasons.

***Oklahoma State has not allowed opponents to get out quick as the defense has forced four punts, one fumble and one interception to keep all six of its opponents from scoring on the first drive of the game.

***LB Orie Lemon had a career-best 17 tackles last week against Texas Tech. It was his third double-figure tackles game of the season.

***Unlike their high-powered offense, the Cowboy defense is not highly ranked as it enters the week 92nd in total defense by allowing 404.5 ypg. OSU's rush defense has been effective, holding opponents to 124.5 ypg (36th nationally) but its pass defense has given up 280.0 ypg to rank 114th in the country.

***Opponents are scoring 27.2 ppg against the Cowboys. Troy put up 38 points in a three-point loss and Texas A&M also came up three points short in a 38-35 shootout with OSU in the league opener.

Oklahoma State Cowboys 2010 Schedule/Results
9/4 Washington State W, 65-17
9/11 Troy, W, 41-38
9/18 Tulsa, W, 65-28
9/30 Texas A&M, W, 38-35
10/8 at Louisiana, W, 54-28
10/16 at Texas Tech, W, 34-17
10/23 Nebraska, 2:30 p.m. CT
10/30 at Kansas State, TBA
11/6 Baylor, TBA
11/13 at Texas, TBA
11/20 at Kansas, TBA
11/27 Oklahoma, TBA


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