October 25, 2006

Breaking down the Oklahoma State Cowboy defense

Who: Oklahoma State Cowboys
School Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma
School Colors: Orange and Black

2006 Record: 4-3 overall, 1-2 in the Big 12
National Ranking: Unranked
Conference: Big 12 (South Division)

Head Coach: Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State 1990) In 2nd season at Oklahoma State (8-10 overall, 0-0 vs. Nebraska)
Defensive Coordinator: Vance Bedford

When: Saturday, Oct. 28, 2006, 2:30 p.m. (CDT)
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium
TV: ABC
Radio: Host Communications
Series Record: Nebraska leads 36-3-1.
Base Defensive Formation: 4-3

On The Line: The strength of the Cowboys' defense is their front four. OSU has four talented and experienced defensive ends sharing time - seniors Victor DeGrate (6-3, 250) and Darnell Smith (6-0, 270) and juniors Nathan Peterson (6-2, 250) and Marque Fountain (6-1, 260). DeGrate has recorded 32 tackles (9.5 behind the line of scrimmage) and seven quarterback sacks. Fountain and Peterson have combined for 36 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Senior nose tackle Larry Brown (6-3-295) and senior tackle Ryan McBean (6-5, 290) are the anchors inside.

Linebackers: The heavy hitters in the Oklahoma State linebacking corps are junior Rodrick Johnson (6-3, 255), freshman Patrick Lavine (6-2, 210) and freshman Chris Collins (6-1, 230). Johnson is third on the team in tackles with 33, including a pair of sacks. Lavine's had 31 tackles, including four behind the line of scrimmage. Collins, a former Texas recruit whose career has been slowed by legal problems, has made 31 tackles and recovered a fumble. Senior Jeremy Nethon (5-9, 190) has also given the Cowboys solid play at linebacker, recording 24 tackles.

In the Secondary: OSU's leading tacklers are their two safeties - freshman Andre Sexton (6-1, 190) and junior Donovan Woods (6-2, 220). Sexton has made 48 tackles and forced two fumbles, while Woods (a former quarterback) has been in on 36 tackles. He's forced two fumbles and made an interception. Junior Martel Van Zant (6-2, 205) and sophomore Jacob Lacey (5-10, 180) are the Cowboys' top two cornerbacks.

Punting the ball: Sophomore Matt Fodge handles the punting duties for OSU. He's averaging 49.2 yards per punt with a long kick of 72 yards. He's placed six kicks inside his opponent's 20 yard line.

Quick Hits

***Oklahoma State ranks 75th nationally in rushing defense (144.57 YPG) and 59th in passing defense (197 YPG). The Cowboys are 68th in total defense (341.57 YPG) and 62nd in scoring defense (22.29).

***OSU is ranked third nationally in tackles for loss (8.71 per game) and seventh in sacks (3.57).

***Nebraska hasn't won a game in the state of Oklahoma since a 73-21 triumph over coach John Blake's Oklahoma Sooners in 1996. Of course, Blake is now the Huskers' defensive line coach. The Huskers' last win in Stillwater came on opening night in 1995, a 64-21 win.

***Oklahoma State's defensive line coach is former NU assistant Nelson Barnes.

***Nebraska is aiming to win its fourth straight Big 12 Conference road game, dating back to last season's win at Colorado.

***In the last 10 meetings, Nebraska has outscored the Cowboys 358-117, however 17 games in the NU-OSU series have been decided by 10 or fewer. Nine of the games have been decided by four or fewer points.

Oklahoma State Schedule
Sept. 2 - Missouri State (W, 52-10)
Sept. 9 - Arkansas State (W, 35-7)
Sept. 16 - Florida Atlantic (W, 48-8)
Sept. 23 - @ Houston (L, 34-25)
Oct. 7 - @ Kansas State (L, 31-27)
Oct. 14 - @ Kansas (W, 42-32)
Oct. 21 - Texas A & M (L, 34-33)
Oct. 28 - Nebraska
Nov. 4 - @ Texas
Nov. 11 - Baylor
Nov. 18 - @ Texas Tech
Nov. 25- Oklahoma

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