Cowboys Win In Defensive Showcase: Grading Week One

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Cowboys Win In Defensive Showcase: Grading Week One
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In a game that many predicted would be an offensive showcase by the Oklahoma State Cowboys, it ended up being a disappointment. 

The Cowboys did not win the game with their offense, which played less than spectacularly against a quality defense from the SEC in Georgia. 

Instead however, the Cowboys won the game in SEC fashion, playing tough and physical defense, something many people questioned the Cowboys capability to do. 

Here are the grades for each respective unit of Oklahoma State's squad in their 24-10 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. 

Offense - C+

The highly touted offense the Cowboys entered the season with struggled as quarterback Zac Robinson and his teammates did not score throughout the whole first quarter and a majority of the second. 

Wide receiver Dez Bryant (who many believe to be the best receiver in the country) had a relatively quiet day, with only three receptions for 77-yards. However two of those receptions resulted in touchdowns for the Cowboys including a forty-nine yard bomb that Bryant made a diving catch for in the end zone. 

The Cowboys ground game struggled, only rushing for 172 total yards. Running backs Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston both played significant roles, Hunter rushing for 75 yards on 23 carries while Toston went for 55 yards on 11 carries. 

Robinson had the only rushing touchdown as he went for 39 yards on nine carries. Robinson was also 11 of 22 for 135-yards and two touchdown passes.

Overall, the Cowboy offense did enough to win the game and scored in spurts, consistency and rhythm are key for Coach Gundy's offense and both can only come with patience. 

Defense - A

On the initial opening drive by Georgia, they drove down the field with ease and scored an easy touchdown, silencing the orange clad fans in the stands. Many were thinking "here we go again."

But that thought was diminished quickly. The Cowboys shut down the Georgia offense, beating them at their very own game. Replacing the injured senior linebacker Orie Lemon, was senior Donald Booker who played a very solid game. 

However, the more impressive game came from seniors Lucien Antoine and Perrish Cox. Antoine was making his first start of his career at Oklahoma State and ended up leading the team in tackles.

Cox effectively shut down Georgia's star wide-out AJ Green. 

The Cowboys held the Georgia offense to 257 total yards, while holding their rushing attack to 95-yards. 

Special Teams - B

The special teams for the Cowboys were fairly inconsistent in the return game. Bryant made poor reads on punt returns, which resulted in the Cowboys having to start within their own five yard line. 

Cox on the other hand, played a bit more conservatively and was close to breaking a couple of the kick returns wide open. 

Punting wise, they did very well, getting some good spots to cause Georgia some trouble on offense. 

Player to watch - Perrish Cox/Lucien Antoine/Donald Booker

This seems to be a three way tie. Cox has been known for his special teams skills but in spring and fall camp coaches have said he is close to breaking loose and becoming a player capable of shutting down teams top receivers. 

Antoine is coming off an ACL injury that caused him to miss most of last season, so his experience is limited. However, he showed his potential against the Bulldogs, and he is a big hit player as he forced a fumble that his team recovered and turned into a touchdown. 

Booker is replacing Orie Lemon who was a leader on the defense with Andre Sexton and Patrick Lavine. Booker is a strong and big linebacker weighing in at 236 lbs., entering his senior season he now has a chance to play a huge role while filling in for Lemon and help lead the Cowboys to the next level. 

Overall 

The Cowboy defense showed the country that their ready to step up and end that rumor that they aren't going to put up with being known as the "weakest link" for the Cowboys. 

While the offense works out the kinks against Houston, Grambling State, and Rice, the defense can continue building its confidence as it prepares for the upcoming Big XII season. 

The swagger, attitude, and confidence is all moving into the Cowboys favor as they continue to prepare for what many believe will be the best season in Oklahoma State history. 

Next Game - vs. Houston 9/12.

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