OSU blows out Cincinnati with improved defense

OSU blows out Cincinnati with improved defense

The OSU offense and its 601 total yards was the reason for the win. The OSU defense was the reason the win was a blowout.

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

| Oct 29, 2023, 10:25am CDT

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

Oct 29, 2023, 10:25am CDT

STILLWATER — The Cowboys finally blew a team out.

All the fans who left cold, windy Boone Pickens Stadium late Saturday night should get a free pass because by the fourth quarter OSU had the game well in hand. Oklahoma State defeated Cincinnati 45-13. 

The 32-point margin of victory is the largest of this season for the Cowboys, topping the 27-13 win against Central Arkansas to open the season and last week’s 48-34 win at West Virginia. It was OSU’s most comfortable victory since a 63-7 demolishing of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, an FCS school, last September. 

“We haven’t really had that this year,” safety Cameron Epps said. “It felt good seeing my younger guys just go in (at the end of the game) and make plays and just be able to play and work at what they’ve been working on all year.”

The OSU offense and its 601 total yards was the reason for the win. The OSU defense was the reason the win was a blowout.

Over the past three games, scoring points hadn’t been the problem for OSU. The Cowboys scored 48 against West Virginia and 39 against Kansas, but both games were kept close deep in the fourth quarter by a defense that failed to close the game out.

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The OSU defense showed up in a mighty way Saturday, proving how good OSU (6-2 overall, 4-1 Big 12) can be when the offense and defense are both playing well.

Entering the game, the Bearcats averaged 5.0 yards per carry. OSU defensive coordinator Bryan Nardo said Cincinnati excels at the outside zone run. He said the speed at which the Bearcats run the play is “Very hard to simulate.”

On their first drive, the Bearcats marched 70 yards and missed a short field goal attempt. On their third drive, sophomore running back Myles Montgomery darted through a hole in OSU’s four-man defensive front and sidestepped crashing safety Kendal Daniels, who was the last defender with a shot at a tackle, for a 63-yard touchdown up the left sideline.

How did Montgomery break through the OSU defense that proved to be so stout? OSU defensive coordinator Bryan Nardo called it a “perfect storm of worst-case scenario.”

“(We thought from watching film) they were going to take a shot, so we were going to try to bring some pressure. We moved away from where the outside zone was going and just kind of fell off of it.” 

Montgomery’s touchdown tied the game at seven. It appeared the Cowboys were headed for another back-and-forth affair they have gotten so used to playing through five games of Big 12 play. But sophomore linebacker Nick Martin, who finished with a game-high 12 tackles, said even though the Cowboys had given up 32+ points in back-to-back games, there was no “Here we go again” resignation after Montgomery’s touchdown.

OSU’s defense followed by forcing five punts, a fumble, interception and a turnover-on-downs. That’s eight straight stops, make it nine if you want to count the Bearcats rushing out the end of the first half.

“Don’t get too low in the lows, don’t get too high in the highs,” Martin said. “Make the corrections, figure out what happened…Can’t do nothing about it but fix it, and we did.”

Cowboy defensive end Anthony Goodlow credited the turnaround to minding gaps and better technique. OSU coach Mike Gundy said it looked to him like the Cowboys missed five or six tackles in the first half but none in the second half.

Nardo also didn’t feel it was a schematic adjustment that turned the faucet off on the Bearcats’ offense. 

“I’m not going to sit here and say we did anything differently and make it seem like ‘Oh my god we made some great adjustments,’ Nardo said. “Once our kids got used to the speed of how quick those linemen were going to move lateral, how those backs were going to stay on their path and hit it I thought our kids did really well.”

In the second half, Cincinnati’s yards per carry dropped from 7.5 to 3.5. Cincinnati starting quarterback Emory Jones finished the game with just six completions. Senior defensive lineman Nathan Latu forced a fumble and Epps came up with an interception on a ball tipped by receiver Xzavier Henderson. 

But the season-low 13 points allowed was the stat that created the blowout.

“As a defense, we feel like nobody can beat us unless we beat ourselves,” Epps said.

 

 

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Ben Hutchens and his twin brother Sam cover Oklahoma State for the Sellout Crowd. After a decade of living in the state, Ben finally feels justified in calling himself an Oklahoman. You can reach him at [email protected] and continue the dialogue @Ben_ Hutchens_ on social media.

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