STILLWATER (AP) Entering the season, an experienced defense was supposed to be Oklahoma State's strength.
The plan was for the unit to buy time for an offense led by a freshman quarterback.
It's taken longer than coach Mike Gundy and defensive coordinator Bill Young wanted, but the defense seems to be rounding into form as Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) heads into arguably its biggest challenge of the season - a trip to the Little Apple to face No. 3 Kansas State (8-0, 5-0) and its Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Collin Klein on Saturday.
In starting the season 2-2, the Cowboys surrendered 59 points to Arizona and 41 to Texas, losing both games. Since then, for the first time in its Big 12 history, Oklahoma State has held three straight league opponents under 20 points in wins over Kansas (20-14), Iowa State (31-10) and TCU (36-14).
"We've gotten more pressure on the quarterback from the edges over the last couple of weeks and that helps," Gundy said. "We've had more hurries. Our secondary has increased its ability to play the football while the ball is in the air over the last two or three weeks. We still have a ways to go . but we're much better now than we were a month ago."
Young and his players credit several factors for the Cowboys' defensive resurgence - better attention to detail, improved tackling, allowing fewer big plays and forcing more turnovers.