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Cowboys look to keep up defensive pressure in Tulsa

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A group of Oklahoma State defenders take down McNeese running back Andrew Croker during the Oklahoma State vs. McNeese State Football game on Saturday September 7, 2019 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma State defense isn’t where it wants to be. 

Although it shut down McNeese State in OSU’s home opener Saturday, the Cowboy defense knows it needs to keep improving.

They’ll have one more test before conference play as they hit the road for an in-state battle with Tulsa.

Defensive end Mike Scott was happy with how much more aggressively the team played in week two than in the season opener.

“There was a big difference,” Mike Scott said. “Coach (Knowles) wanted us to focus on knocking guys back, and we did that. Everybody got penetration, even the young guys.”

The Cowboys will have to continue to penetrate up front this week to limit TU’s ground attack.

The Golden Hurricanes were overmatched in their opening loss to Michigan State, but rebounded resoundingly in the next game.

Against San Jose State, Tulsa gained 256 yards on the ground, putting up 34 points in a victory. Junior running back Shamari Brooks led the way with 140 rushing yards.

Scott said Brooks running style reminds him of OSU freshman Deondrick Glass.

The biggest thing OSU wants to improve is it consistency on is forcing turnovers. It produced two against McNeese State.

Especially with such a dynamic offensive attack, turnovers will almost guarantee points for the Cowboys.

“Everybody knows our offense can score,” Scott said. “We want to help the offense as much as we can. Every time we can get them the ball, it’s easier to get on the scoreboard.”

Alternatively, the defense can just score the points themselves.

Junior cornerback AJ Green opened the game against McNeese with a pick six that set the tone for the rest of the game. The secondary’s progress was encouraging. It had some problems against Oregon State, but was more assignment sound the next week.

As one of the most experienced players in the secondary, Green has taken on a leadership role. He makes sure the group is ready to go come game day.

“(I’m getting better at) leading the back end,” Green said. “Communicating, making sure we’re all on the same page. 

"First week, we just kind of got our feet wet. Second week, we showed how dominant we could be.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com