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WVU, OSU have struggled on ā€˜Dā€™

November 9, 2012
By John Wickline Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

Like West Virginia, Oklahoma State has experienced its own roller coaster ride on defense this season.

Like West Virginia, Oklahoma State is coming off an emotional loss that dropped its record to 5-3.

"We just have to do a better job," OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young said. "At times we did well, and at times we struggled. We have to match our opponent in turnovers or get more of them. We want to outplay their defense instead of outplay their offense."

The two teams will get together at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater, Okla., in a game that will be televised by ABC.

WVU has dropped three straight games for the first time since 2004, including last week's double-overtime heartbreaker at home to Texas Christian.

"They are playing a lot of new guys, and they have a new defensive staff for the most part," Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. "Sometimes you don't know your guys as well until they play other people. You think you know in practice, but the sample size is so small. It's just like us.

"(We're) trying to figure out what we do well, be able to practice it and then play that way."

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy also was not thrilled that his team surrendered 240 yards in kick and punt returns last week, and he knows he will be in for another challenge when West Virginia University's Tavon Austin lines up.

"The guy we played last week is really good," Gundy said. "This guy (Austin) is different really good.

There's times he gets big returns, and he doesn't even go where they blocked it. He's special."

Austin has returned both a punt and kick-off for touchdowns this season, something that has caught the attention of the Cowboy who will be kicking the ball in Austin's direction.

"He's just as dangerous as Kansas State's Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson," Quinn Sharp said. "He's just as fast as those guys. We have to come prepared and take care of business."

The Mountaineers struggled in establishing any sort of consistent running game in the loss to TCU, and Oklahoma State will be focusing on attacking the Mountaineers in the same fashion.

"We plan to stop the run," OSU defensive tackle James Castleman said. "We'll do what we do best in stopping the run as a defensive line, and we'll let everybody else take care of the pass."

The Mountaineers also announced Thursday that freshman receiver Travares Copeland, who had just recently worked his way in the rotation, left the team for personal reasons. Copeland caught 10 passes for 55 yards in three games.

Holgorsen offered no comment on Copeland's departure.



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