Oct. 14, 2013
Complete Release in PDF Format
Cowboy Football This Week
11 a.m. | Oct. 19, 2013 | Boone Pickens Stadium (60,218 cap.)
Television: FOX (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Kristina Pink)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb and Robert Allen)
National Radio: ESPN Radio (Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Joe Schad)
Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 137 | XM Channel 191
Following its second bye in a four-week span, the Oklahoma State football team (4-1 overall; 1-1 Big 12) hosts TCU at 11 a.m. Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium.
On the Air
Saturday's game can be seen live on FOX, with Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Kristina Pink on the call.
The game will also be carried live on the Cowboy Radio Network, with Dave Hunziker handling play-by-play, John Holcomb providing analysis and Robert Allen reporting from the sideline. Additionally, ESPN Radio will provide a national radio broadcast with Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Joe Schad on the call.
In The Polls
Oklahoma State enters Saturday's game against TCU ranked No. 21 in this week's Associated Press poll and No. 17 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Horned Frogs are unranked.
"America's Greatest Homecoming Celebration"
The Oklahoma State University Alumni Association presents the 2013 edition of "America's Greatest Homecoming Celebration" October 14-19 in Stillwater concluding with the TCU vs. OSU football game. The theme is `Branding A Brighter Orange.'
Major events include the Harvest Carnival and Chili Cook-Off (October 15), Walkaround (October 18) and the Sea of Orange Parade (October 19). OSU will also be celebrating the 50-year reunion of the Class of 1963.
"America's Greatest Homecoming Celebration" has been presented each year by the OSU Alumni Association since 1920. It is run completely by more than 100 Homecoming student members with the collaboration of thousands in the Greek, residential life and student organization communities.
Last year, more than 82,000 alumni and friends returned for Walkaround at Homecoming. The event continues to set attendance records each year and is one of the largest single-day events hosted in Stillwater annually.
Oklahoma State on Homecoming
OSU owns an all-time homecoming record of 49-35-7 (.577 pct.) The Cowboys have won 25 of their last 39 homecoming games, including a 31-10 win over Iowa State last season. OSU has won five of its last six homecoming games.
An Oklahoma State Win Would...
Be its seventh straight home win, dating back to last season's loss to Texas.
Improve the Cowboys to 15-1 in their last 16 games in Boone Pickens Stadium, dating back to the start of the 2011 season.
Be the Cowboys' 21st consecutive home win over an unranked opponent, dating back to a loss to Houston in 2009.
Improve the Cowboys to 7-4 over the Horned Frogs in Stillwater.
Improve the Cowboys to 28-4 in their last 31 games against unranked opponents.
An Oklahoma State Loss Would...
Snap the Cowboys' 20-game home win streak over unranked opponents.
Be TCU's first win in Stillwater since 1991.
Be only its second in its last 16 games played in Boone Pickens Stadium, dating back to the start of the 2011 season.
Be only its fifth loss to an unranked opponent since the start of the 2010 season.
Notable Streaks Entering the TCU Game
The Cowboys have won six straight home games and 14 of their last 15 in Boone Pickens Stadium.
The Cowboys have won 20 straight home games against unranked opponents dating back to a loss to Houston in 2009.
OSU has at least one touchdown drive of faster than two minutes in each of its last 27 games and in 43 of its last 44 contests.
The Cowboys have scored more than 30 points in each of their last 23 home games, dating back to a 24-17 win over Texas Tech in 2009.
Linebacker Shaun Lewis has started 37 straight games. Linebacker Caleb Lavey and safety Daytawion Lowe have each started 31 straight games, respectively.
Oklahoma State holds a 12-9-2 advantage all-time over TCU and a 6-4 edge against the Horned Frogs in Stillwater. Prior to last season - TCU's first in the Big 12 - the Cowboys and Horned Frogs hadn't met since 1993.
Oklahoma State and TCU meet in Stillwater for the second straight season. The reason? When TCU gained membership into the Big 12, it inherited Texas A&M's schedule. The Aggies were to face the Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium in both 2012 and 2013 after OSU agreed to switch the 2011 contest from Stillwater to College Station.
Last Year's Meeting - Oklahoma State 36, TCU 10
After spotting TCU a 14-0 first quarter lead, Oklahoma State rattled off 36 unanswered points to roll to a 36-14 win in its first Big 12 meeting with the Horned Frogs.
The Cowboy defense held TCU to two-of-14 on third down conversions and suffocated a Horned Frog offense that entered the contest averaging more than 30 points per game.
Quarterback Wes Lunt returned to the OSU lineup after missing the bulk of the previous four games due to injury and completed 18-of-33 passes for 324 yards and a touchdown. He had difficulty finding any rhythm in the first quarter but solved the Horned Frogs as the game progressed, completing six passes of 20 yards or longer and finishing with the fifth-best passing day ever for an OSU freshman.
Running back Joseph Randle continued his recent stretch of heavy action, carrying the ball a career-high 32 times for 126 yards and a touchdown. He became the first TCU opponent to eclipse the century mark rushing in 2012.
Oklahoma State receivers coach Kasey Dunn served as cornerbacks coach under Gary Patterson at TCU in 2003.
TCU safeties coach Chad Glasgow played linebacker at Oklahoma State. He earned a bachelor's degree from OSU in business administration in 1995. He served as a graduate assistant under Bob Simmons at OSU in 1994 and 1995.
TCU receivers coach Curtis Luper played at Oklahoma State from 1984-87 and was a teammate of Mike Gundy's at OSU from 1985-87. He served as OSU running backs coach under Gundy from 2005-08.
Several Oklahoma State and TCU players attended the same high schools. The list:
- TCU defensive end Devonte Fields and kicker Jaden Oberkrom both attended Arlington Martin HS with OSU kicker Ben Grogan.
- TCU offensive lineman Patrick Morris played for OSU quarterback J.W. Walsh's father, John Walsh, at Denton Guyer HS.
- TCU safety Chris Hackett and Oklahoma State defensive tackle Eric Davis both attended John Tyler HS in Tyler, Texas.
- TCU receivers David Porter and Cam White both attended DeSoto HS alongside OSU cornerback Taylor Lewis.
- TCU cornerback Keivon Gamble and linebacker Paul Dawson both attended Trinity Valley CC with OSU offensive lineman Brandon Garrett.
- TCU defensive end Jon Koontz and OSU offensive lineman Michael Wilson both attended Aledo HS in Aledo, Texas.
- TCU defensive tackle Davion Pierson is a native of Oklahoma City and a graduate of Millwood HS.
- TCU offensive lineman Jamelle Naff is a native of Del City and a graduate of Del City HS.
Oklahoma State's Texas Flavor
Recruiting the state of Texas has been a high priority for Oklahoma State football since Mike Gundy took over at his alma mater in 2005. Oklahoma State annually has more players on its roster from Texas than any other program outside of the Lone Star State. This year's totals:
Oklahoma State .......... 71
Oklahoma .......... 43
Louisiana-Monroe .......... 38
Missouri .......... 36
New Mexico .......... 31
Tulsa .......... 29
Kansas State .......... 27
Kansas .......... 26
Arkansas .......... 20
Iowa State .......... 20
High-Profile Native Texans To Play For Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State
Dez Bryant - Dallas Cowboys first-round pick and leading receiver.
Russell Okung - Seattle Seahawks first-round pick, 2013 Pro Bowl
Brandon Pettigrew - Detroit Lions first-round pick
Quinn Sharp - Cincinnati Bengals kicker, 3-time All-American K/P
Kendall Hunter - San Francisco 49ers RB and two-time All-American
Perrish Cox - San Francisco 49ers CB and two-time All-American
Markelle Martin - Tennessee Titans safety and 2011 All-American
Grant Garner - 2011 All-America center
Orie Lemon - Kansas City Chiefs linebacker
Here's to the Defense
First-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer has the Oklahoma State defense performing at a high level, as the Cowboys rank in the top 25 nationally in third down conversion percentage defense (25th, .322 pct.), interceptions (17th, nine), red zone defense (25th, .733 pct.), rushing defense (18th, 115.8 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (18th, 107.51). Additionally, the Cowboys are 26th nationally in scoring defense by allowing only 20.0 points per game.
Turnovers are Back on the Menu
Forcing turnovers has been at the core of Oklahoma State's defensive identity for years. In fact, OSU ranks second nationally with 142 turnovers forced from 2009 through the present, trailing only Oregon's 147. The Cowboys led the nation in takeaways as part of their Big 12 championship season of 2011, but slipped in that area in 2012.
Through five games in 2013, turnovers are back to being a significant factor for OSU, as the Cowboys have forced 12 turnovers while committing just five of their own. OSU's best turnover showing of the season came against Kansas State, when the Cowboys forced five Wildcat turnovers - all of which came in the second half.
Oklahoma State and the Turnover
Why are turnovers such a focal point at Oklahoma State? Because in nine years under Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State is 17-0 when it doesn't commit a turnover in a game and is 41-5 when winning the turnover battle. Dating back to the 2008 season, the Cowboys have won 28 of their last 29 games when winning the turnover battle.
Perspective On Yards Per Play
The NCAA statistical rankings show Oklahoma State as ranking 38th in total defense this week, indicating a decent showing for a team that gives up 361.2 yards per game. However, when analyzed on a yards allowed per play basis, the Cowboy defense ranks 19th nationally. How Oklahoma State stacks up against some notable defenses when analyzed on a yards per play basis:
1. Michigan State .......... 3.56
2. Virginia Tech .......... 3.97
3. Louisville .......... 3.98
4. Wisconsin .......... 4.11
5. Florida .......... 4.17
18. TCU .......... 4.65
19. Oklahoma State .......... 4.69
23. Alabama .......... 4.81
24. Oklahoma .......... 4.89
26. Ohio State .......... 4.9
28. Stanford .......... 4.98
32. Clemson .......... 5.06
39. LSU .......... 5.16
76. Texas .......... 5.64
Putting Opponents Behind The Chains
Part of Oklahoma State's defensive success stems from solid play on first down. The Cowboys have defended 161 first down plays this year. Of those 161 plays, 90 resulted in a gain of three yards or less (.559 pct.)
Cowboys on Third Down
Oklahoma State enters the TCU game ranked second in the Big 12 and 25th nationally by limiting opposing offenses to a .322 pct. conversion rate on third down. Part of the reason is that the Cowboys are consistently putting opposing offenses in third and medium and third and long situations.
OSU has defended 87 third down plays. Of those 87 plays, only 18 were third and short situations, meaning that 79.3 percent of OSU's third down plays defended have been third and medium or third and long situations.
One area where Oklahoma State's defense has been particularly effective is against the run, where the Cowboys rank 18th nationally and second in the Big 12 by surrendering only 115.8 rushing yards per game. Most impressive is the fact that OSU has allowed only three rushing touchdowns in five games this year. That mark ranks sixth in the country. The Cowboy defense allows only 3.16 yards per rushing attempt.
Fewest Rushing TDs Allowed
1. Iowa .......... 0
2. Louisville .......... 1
Florida State .......... 1
4. Alabama .......... 2
Michigan .......... 2
6. Oklahoma State .......... 3
Ohio State .......... 3
Notre Dame .......... 3
BYU .......... 3
East Carolina .......... 3
Limiting Explosive Plays
Another defensive trait that has emerged at Oklahoma State over the past few seasons is that the Cowboys have limited explosive plays from scrimmage by opposing offenses. For the purpose of this note, we'll use 20 yard plays from scrimmage as the definition of an explosive play. Through five games in 2013, OSU has allowed 13 explosive plays from scrimmage (2.6 per game), a mark that leads the Big 12 and ranks 10th nationally.
Hard To Drive On
Oklahoma State's defense has given up points on 15 possessions this year, but four of those opponent scoring drives yielded less than 20 yards of offense and were primarily a result of starting field position. The most prominent examples are a four-play, one-yard field goal drive at West Virginia, a four-play, three-yard field goal drive vs. Lamar and a one-play, 19-yard touchdown drive at UTSA. The point? The Cowboy defense has been difficult to mount long scoring drives on.
Putting Opponents Away Early
Oklahoma State has outscored its first four opponents, 152-58, in the first three quarters of games this year. Additionally, the Cowboys pitched a fourth-quarter shutout against both Mississippi State and Lamar. Speaking of shutouts, Oklahoma State has yet to allow a third-quarter point this year, holding a 42-0 advantage over the opposition in the third quarter of games this season.
Balance, Balance, Balance
Perhaps the signature trait of Oklahoma State teams year in and year out under Mike Gundy is offensive balance. There is no better illustration of that than the 2007 season, when the Cowboys rushed for 3,161 yards and passed for 3,161 yards. A look at the balance of this year's team through four games:
OSU has 199 passing attempts and 175 rushing attempts.
OSU has scored 12 touchdowns via the pass and 12 touchdowns via the run.
OSU has converted 16 third-down plays via the run and 14 third-down plays via the pass.
Spreading the Wealth
Further illustrations of how Oklahoma State's offensive balance through three games this season:
12 different players have combined to score OSU's 25 touchdowns this year.
Of those 25 touchdowns, 12 were scored via the pass (to nine different receivers) and 12 were scored via the run.
13 different players caught a pass in the Cowboys' wins at UTSA and over Lamar.
Of those 13 different players to catch a pass in those two wins, 10 averaged 10 yards or more per reception vs. UTSA and eight averaged 10 yards or more per reception vs. Lamar.
Oklahoma State has 29 offensive plays that gained 20 yards or more from scrimmage. Those 29 plays were made by 11 different players.
Nine different OSU receivers have six or more receptions this season. No OSU receiver has more than 21 receptions.
Effective Offense Comes In Many Forms
In week one, Oklahoma State ripped off 286 rushing yards in beating Mississippi State. In week two, the Cowboys racked up 518 passing yards in beating UTSA.
The point? Oklahoma State's offense is built to succeed in a variety of ways. If an opposing defense is bent on taking away the Cowboys' passing attack, OSU has the weapons to win with its running game. If an opposing defense loads up against the run, the Cowboys unleash a passing attack that has ranked in the top seven nationally in each of the past three seasons. This has been a theme since the Cowboys went to their current offensive system in 2010.
Ball - and Quarterback - Security
Oklahoma State spends a period of each practice on ball security and so far, it seems to be paying dividends, as the Cowboys have committed only five turnovers in their five games this year - a mark that ranks fourth in the country.
Speaking of security, OSU's quarterbacks have enjoyed secure surroundings this season, only being sacked 0.80 times per game - a mark that leads the Big 12 and ranks 12th nationally. This is a regular theme for the Cowboys, who have led the Big 12 and ranked among the top 10 nationally in fewest sacks allowed in each of the past four years despite ranking among the national leaders in passing yardage for most of that time frame.
Kickoff Coverage an Overlooked Factor in OSU's Success
Oklahoma State has been effective in the kickoff game, as the Cowboys lead the Big 12 and rank fifth nationally in kickoff coverage by allowing only 16.3 yards per kickoff return. Only five of OSU's 35 kickoffs have resulted in touchbacks, but it should be noted that OSU is actually better off without the touchbacks. The average starting field position for opponents following an OSU kickoff this season is the 22 yard line.
To put that into perspective, the average starting field position for opponents following an OSU kickoff last year with all-everything kickoff man Quinn Sharp handling those responsibilities was the 28 yard line.
Speaking of Starting Field Position...
Through five games, Oklahoma State is winning the field position battle. The Cowboys have an average starting field position of their own 35 yard line. OSU's opponents have an average starting field position of their own 27 yard line.
Last Time Out - Oklahoma State 33, Kansas State 29
Oklahoma State forced Kansas State into committing five second-half turnovers to key the Cowboys' 33-29 win over the Wildcats.
The game featured eight lead-changes.
K-State had two drives with the opportunity to take the lead in the last 4:13 of the game, but interceptions by Shaun Lewis and Daytawion Lowe slammed the door on the Wildcats.
Kicker Ben Grogan connected on four field goals in the game - three in the second half - to help lift the Cowboys to victory and Lewis finished with a team-best eight tackles
J.W. Walsh can swing a game in OSU's favor with his passing or with his rushing. In week one against Mississippi State, the sophomore rushed for 125 yards and engineered three touchdown drives in leading Oklahoma State to a 21-7 win over Mississippi State in Houston. In week two, Walsh set a school record for completion percentage (min. 20 attempts) and accounted for five touchdowns - four passing and one rushing - as part of OSU's 56-35 win at UTSA. Walsh had more touchdown passes (four) than incomplete passes (three) against UTSA and was honored as Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. He is the only Big 12 quarterback with a 300-yard passing game and a 100-yard rushing game on his 2013 season résumé.
Walsh has led the team in rushing in three of OSU's five games this season.
Maturity Beyond His Years
Only a sophomore with seven career starts to his credit, J.W. Walsh has shown a level of maturity in his decision-making, evidenced by the fact that only six of his 332 career pass attempts have resulted in an interception (one interception per 55 passes). He has actually improved that number through five games this season, throwing three interceptions in 169 attempts (one pick per every 56.3 passes)
More on Walsh's Record Showing vs. UTSA
J.W. Walsh connected on 24-of-27 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns against UTSA and etched his name in the OSU record book in the process. His 88.9 completion percentage set a new school record for single-game completion percentage, minimum 20 pass attempts. He added a rushing touchdown as well.
Walsh's 239.20 pass efficiency mark in the contest was good for the fourth-best single-game mark in school history. He started the game by completing 10 consecutive passes, then had two incompletions, then completed 10 consecutive passes again. By the time his day was done at the 9:47 mark of the third quarter, OSU held a 42-7 lead.
Walsh on the National Scene
Entering this week's game against TCU, J.W. Walsh ranks third in the Big 12 and 24th nationally in total offense with 294.8 yards per game. He is second the Big 12 and 31st nationally with 72 points responsible for (either rushing or passing). Walsh's 241.8 passing yards per game are good for 39th nationally.
Smith Knows His Way To The End Zone
Running back Jeremy Smith continues to display a trait he's shown throughout his career - the ability to find the end zone. Smith's seven rushing touchdowns this year rank second in the Big 12 and 21st nationally. He rushed for 102 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys' season opening win against Mississippi State, then tacked on three more rushing touchdowns against Lamar and another against Kansas State.
Smith has rushed for 32 touchdowns in his career, a mark that ranks seventh in school history.
Receivers' Calling Card is Balance
Josh Stewart and Tracy Moore are the leaders of the Oklahoma State receiving corps, but make no mistake, balance is OSU's best weapon when it comes to the passing game. Case in point - 13 different Cowboys caught passes in games against both UTSA and Lamar. Redshirt freshman Jhajuan Seales (19 catches for 250 yards and a touchdown) is emerging as a viable weapon on the outside and Blake Jackson (six catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns) has been reliable. Charlie Moore has also been dependable, making 13 receptions on 17 targets this year.
Small Stewart Has Big Impact
Standing 5-10 and weighing 185 pounds, Oklahoma State receiver Josh Stewart is not the biggest receiver in the nation, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for with quickness, elusiveness, route-running and good hands. For the second straight year, the junior from Denton, Texas leads OSU in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. Of his 21 receptions this year, 15 have resulted in first downs.
Stewart could realistically pass former OSU All-American and current Dallas Cowboy star Dez Bryant on OSU's career receptions list next game. He enters the contest ranking seventh on OSU's all-time receptions list with 141 catches. Bryant is sixth with 147.
Stewart is Oklahoma State's Mr. Explosive
Josh Stewart has been OSU's most explosive player in 2013, averaging 14.6 yards per touch this season. Stewart leads the Big 12 and ranks eighth nationally with 16.2 yards per punt return and has returns of 67 yards, 41 yards and 36 yards through five games in 2013. He leads the team with 21 receptions and 332 receiving yards and has also rushed for 38 yards on six carries.
Stewart Earned Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week
Oklahoma State receiver Josh Stewart earned Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors after his performance against Lamar.
Stewart scored on a 67-yard punt return and took a second punt back 41 yards to set up an OSU touchdown in lifting the Cowboys to a 59-3 win over the Cardinals. Stewart finished with 114 punt return yards for the eighth-highest single-game total in OSU history. His 67-yarder marked OSU's first punt return for a touchdown since Josh Cooper had a 66-yarder against Troy on Sept. 11, 2010. It was also OSU's longest punt return since 2009.
This is the first time Stewart has been recognized as the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week, though he was the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week following last year's game against West Virginia.
Special On Special Teams
Josh Stewart's punt return touchdown against Lamar made him the fourth member of the 2013 Cowboys with either a kickoff return touchdown or a punt return touchdown in his career, joining Justin Gilbert (five career kickoff return touchdowns), Desmond Roland (one career kickoff return touchdown) and Zack Craig (one career punt return touchdown). No team in America has more players with a special teams touchdown.
Moore of a Good Thing
Senior Tracy Moore joined the OSU career top 10 in receiving yards against Kansas State last game and is just three receptions away from joining the OSU career top 10 in that category as well.
Moore had a season-high six catches for 52 yards - including an important 26-yard grab on the game-winning drive - against Kansas State and logged a season-best 89 yards on five catches with a touchdown at West Virginia.
Names To Remember
Oklahoma State has a stable of young receivers that have not yet done enough to become household names, but could be impactful players this year and beyond. Redshirt freshman Jhajuan Seales is OSU's second-leading receiver with 19 catches for 250 yards and a touchdown, true freshman Marcell Ateman has 11 catches for 108 yards and sophomore Brandon Sheperd has eight catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.
The Defensive Line As a Group
The play of the defensive line is among the biggest contributing factors in Oklahoma State's defensive resurgence. Time and time again, the Cowboys are winning the battle in the trenches, thanks largely to Calvin Barnett, James Castleman, Tyler Johnson and Jimmy Bean.
With the defensive line setting the tone, the Cowboy defense averages 6.8 tackles for loss per game this year and has 11 sacks in five contests - nine of which belong to defensive linemen. Additionally, defensive tackle James Castleman blocked a field goal attempt at West Virginia.
Senior defensive tackle Calvin Barnett commands the most respect and is frequently double-teamed by opposing offensive linemen, but has still managed three tackles for loss, a sack and three quarterback hurries this year.
Senior defensive end Tyler Johnson has been as active as anyone on the OSU defense, recording 22 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, a quarterback hurry and a forced fumble entering the TCU game.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah has been a pleasant surprise to this point, registering seven tackles, a sack, three quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.
Lavey is a Leader
Through five games this season, Lavey leads the team, ranks seventh in the Big 12 and is 84th nationally in tackles per game with 8.0 He also leads the team with 6.5 tackles for loss totaling 22 yards. Lavey matched a career high with 12 tackles at West Virginia.
Lavey Earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week
Oklahoma State senior linebacker Caleb Lavey earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week after the Cowboys' season-opening win over Mississippi State. Lavey recorded a team-best 11 tackles in that contest and added two tackles for loss and a half-sack. It was the first such honor of Lavey's career and marks the first time a Cowboy has been recognized with the league's weekly defensive honor since Shaun Lewis in 2011.
Shaun Lewis has been an important player on Oklahoma State's defense since he stepped on campus in 2010. The senior from Missouri City, Texas has started each of OSU's last 37 games and is one of only two players on the current roster with more than 200 career tackles (his 201 stops trail only Daytawion Lowe's 209). He is praised time and time again by his position coach and OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer for his intelligence, leadership and savvy.
Lewis has been a playmaker on the Cowboy defense all year, racking up 24 tackles, four tackles for loss, an interception, a fumble forced and a fumble recovered.
Lewis Earned Big 12 Player of the Week
For the second time in his career, Shaun Lewis earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week following his performance in Oklahoma State's win over Kansas State. In addition to snuffing out K-State's comeback hopes with an interception late in the fourth quarter, Lewis forced a fumble that was scooped up by the Cowboys, recovered a different fumble, led the team with eight tackles and bagged a tackle for loss in OSU's dramatic 33-29 win.
Senior cornerback Justin Gilbert is one of the faces of the Cowboys' defensive improvement from a year ago. Last year, Gilbert was often asked to play soft coverage as part of OSU's general scheme of minimizing big plays from opposing offenses. However, he has been turned loose in 2013 and is using his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame and blazing speed to his advantage, routinely winning his man-to-man battles against opposing receivers. He has two interceptions this season - against Mississippi State and at West Virginia - and three pass break-ups.
Gilbert's 23 career pass break-ups are more than twice the total of any other current OSU player.
Not Your Everyday Transfer
The Cowboy secondary received a boost in the preseason with the addition of Tyler Patmon - a three year starter at Kansas who graduated early and enrolled at OSU for graduate school. Patmon has been an immediate factor for the Cowboys, breaking up a team-best five passes on the year and recording his first interception in an OSU uniform at West Virginia.
Free safety Daytawion Lowe joins Calvin Barnett, Caleb Lavey, Shaun Lewis and Justin Gilbert in being part of the leadership of the Cowboy defense. Lowe has been a consistent performer throughout his time in Stillwater and is OSU's active career leader in tackles with 209. His interception against Kansas State was the final dagger applied in the Cowboys' dramatic win over the Wildcats earlier this year.
Strong safety Shamiel Gary had to win a position battle that lasted through spring, summer and fall camp to keep the starting job that he held last year. His performance through five games this year has backed up the coaching staff's decision to keep him in the starting role, as he ranks second on the team with 30 tackles and has broken up four passes.
Living Inside the 20
Kip Smith has punted 27 times this year, with 13 of those punts downed inside the opponent 20-yard line (.481 percent). That percentage leads the Big 12. He had four punts downed inside the 20 in games against Mississippi State and West Virginia, a mark that ranks third in school history.
Grogan Earned Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week
Freshman kicker Ben Grogan earned Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week following his performance against Kansas State.
Grogan kicked four field goals in the victory - a feat made even more impressive by the fact that the game featured eight lead changes and every kick he attempted had significant implications on the outcome of the contest. Grogan's four field goals made and 15 points scored by kicking were both OSU freshman records.
Through five games this year, eight players have made the first starts of their respective careers for Oklahoma State - defensive ends Jimmy Bean and Tyler Johnson, linebacker Ryan Simmons, cornerback Tyler Patmon, offensive linemen Travis Cross, Chris Grisbhy and Paul Lewis and receiver Jhajuan Seales.
All tolled, 23 players have seen the first game action of their OSU careers this year, highlighted by five true freshmen - receiver Marcell Ateman, kicker Ben Grogan, safeties Deric Robertson and Jordan Sterns and running back Rennie Childs.
State of the Program
The Oklahoma State football program has risen to a new level of national prominence in recent years. A look:
Most Wins, 2008-present
1. Alabama .......... 67-7
2. Boise State .......... 65-7
3. Oregon .......... 62-10
4. Ohio State .......... 58-13
5. TCU .......... 57-14
Oklahoma .......... 57-16
7. LSU .......... 57-16
8. Florida .......... 56-17
9. Virginia Tech .......... 55-20
10. Oklahoma State .......... 53-17
New Staff Meetings
For the first time in several years, OSU has had a significant turnover in its coaching staff. Four new coaches are on board, including a pair of new coordinators. The newcomers are offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Yurcich (pronounced YER-sitch), receivers coach Jason Ray, defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements and safeties coach Tim Duffie. Glenn Spencer has been elevated from co-defensive coordinator to defensive coordinator. He will continue to coach linebackers as well.
Yurcich came to OSU from Shippensburg in Pennsylvania, where he served as offensive coordinator for the most potent attack in Division II.
Ray is a native Oklahoman who played at Missouri and was most recently on the staff at Wyoming.
Clements is a former player and staff member at Kansas State.
A native of Jefferson, Texas, Duffie came to OSU after coaching stops at UTEP, Colorado State and Wake Forest.
OSU is breaking in two new coordinators in the same season for the first time since 2005 (Mike Gundy's first season as the Cowboy head coach). Mike Yurcich becomes the fifth offensive coordinator under Gundy. Previously that position was held by Larry Fedora (2005-2007), Dana Holgorsen (2010) and Todd Monken (2011-12). In 2008 and 2009 Gunter Brewer and Joe Wickline held the title of co-offensive coordinators with Gundy the play-caller. Spencer is the successor of Vance Bedford (2005-2006), Tim Beckman (2007-2008) and Bill Young (2009-2012).