John Klein: Defensive woes doom OSU again
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Sunday, December 02, 2012
12/02/12 at 6:07 AM
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Go to John Klein's Blog Original Print Headline: Defensive woes doom OSU again
WACO, Texas - What a difference a week makes for Oklahoma State.
Bedlam was exciting. Baylor was embarrassing.
Oklahoma State's defense once again failed to make any significant stops.
On a day when OSU's normally reliable offense was not efficient and two touchdown passes were dropped, that was more than enough to doom the Cowboys to a devastating 41-34 loss to Baylor.
"I don't think there was a (Bedlam) hangover," said OSU coach Mike Gundy. "If there was, that is my fault."
It is someone's fault, and there is plenty of blame to go around.
Oklahoma State didn't force a Baylor punt until the fourth quarter. The Bears gained 615 yards, including 319 on the ground.
Baylor erected a three-touchdown lead barely 15 minutes into the game.
"There is just a lot of parity in our league," said Gundy. "There are no gimmes in this league.
"When you give up big plays and have turnovers on the road, it really minimizes your chances to win."
It was a fatal formula for the Cowboys.
"In our league it comes down to can you hold them to a couple of field goals, get a couple of turnovers and get a couple of three-and-outs," said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken. "We did not make the plays we needed to make when they came after us.
"We were choppy at times on offense. It is frustrating. I made more mistakes than anyone."
The loss drops OSU to 5-4 in the league, just ahead of TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor and West Virginia (all 4-5).
"The Big 12 is so much competition that anything could happen any week," said OSU linebacker Alex Elkins.
The loss also drops O-State to 7-5 on the season, the same record as five teams in the 10-team league.
"That's what I'm talking about with the parity," said Gundy. "We've got a whole lot of people in this league with seven victories."
That should make sorting out the bowl possibilities even more challenging.
Of the seven-victory teams, OSU's league record will give it an edge in the bowl selection order.
Still, considering where OSU was just two weeks ago and where it finished, it has to be disappointed.
"We didn't do the things in this game we needed to do to win on the road in this league," said Gundy.
OSU was guilty of everything that loses games on the road. They dropped passes, had two intercepted and gave up a series of huge plays to the Bears.
Baylor's offense was a not a surprise. The nation's top offense had little trouble crushing the Cowboys.
"We were hoping it wouldn't be a track meet," said OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young.
Unfortunately, it was a track meet.
"Baylor has done that for 11 games," said Gundy. "So, it wasn't a surprise."
There's no nice way to say this. OSU's defense is a primary reason for the 7-5 record. In losses to Arizona and Baylor, the Cowboys couldn't stop anyone all game. In losses to Texas and Oklahoma, the Cowboys failed to make one tackle that would have changed the outcome.
"The biggest issue the whole ballgame was third downs," said Young. "We couldn't get them off the field. And we gave up way too many yards on first down.
"We tried to make adjustments. I think maybe we were too soft on the corners. But we're really beat for this game, especially in the secondary."
Defense was not the only problem in this game. Baylor had two huge kick returns that led to easy chances.
OSU dropped two TD passes, didn't run it very well, and Clint Chelf was average at best. Chelf hit just 31-of-50 for 333 yards and two touchdowns.
Chelf was intercepted for a touchdown when he underthrew a pass and had another picked off when it went off the hands of a receiver.
"It was frustrating," said Monken. "We had to kick a couple of field goals and we turned it over a couple of times."
It was a downer for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State, rallying through a series of crippling injuries all season, finally ran out of gas.
OSU's defenders simply got overwhelmed, and Chelf looked like the third-team quarterback, which is where he started the season.
"I thought we were pretty average in a lot of areas," said Gundy. "I was disappointed in the way we played.
"We need to mature and grow up."
The Cowboys, who couldn't stop Oklahoma a week earlier, had even less success trying to slow down the Bears.
Baylor's Nick Florence hammered OSU throughout and kept the Bears with a comfortable lead most of the day. Florence was 23-of-39 for 296 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 71 to go with Lache Seastrunk's 178 yards.
"We simply did not play as good as I thought we would," Gundy said.
Bayor's Lache Seastrunk is chased by Zack Craig, Alex Elkin and Anthony Rogers of Oklahoma State as he runs for a touchdown. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World