Ford Says He Wasn't Thinking on Big Play-Forced Fumble that was Returned for Touchdown
STILLWATER -- The turnaround on the one snap was monterous. Oklahoma State led 7-0, but West Virginia's offense had caught fire in overcoming two penalties and driving 47-yards from their own 25-yard-line to the Cowboys 28. It was third and 15 and Jarret Doege went back to pass and Cowboys sophomore hybrid defensive end/linebacker Trace Ford came off the edge and got around behind Doege and turned the tide in the game. He's not quite sure what he was thinking.
"I really wasn't thinking," Ford admitted. "I was so excited that I got around and knocked the ball out and then I started celebrating. I was going crazy and I didn't even know we had scored."
Yes, after Ford slapped the ball out it was junior college transfer defensive end Tyren Irby that scooped and made a straight line for the end zone and used blocks by defensive tackle Cameron Murray and more of a screen toward the end by cornerback Christian Holmes. The touchdown made it 14-0 and any doubt about how much it frustrated the Mountaineers was gone when you saw the reaction of running back Leddie Brown in the end zone punching the turf while the Cowboys defenders danced around.
Attitude and body language, an area preached by Mike Gundy where opponents can never tell whether Oklahoma State is up by three scores or down by three scores. West Virginia showed their fate.
Oklahoma State ended up with five sacks on the day and 11-tackles for loss. Calvin Bundage was a ring leader on those with three and he had two sacks. Like Trace Ford, he is from Edmond Santa Fe. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles admits that getting Bundage back has helped, but cultivating and maturing Ford's talents has been huge.
"We've always known he was a talent and he came into camp with a chip on his shoulder and an edge to him." Knowles said of Ford. "You could see him develop into a football player and see his talent develop and that he was understanding all the things he could do."
In camp Knowles called Ford a future All-American and said his development had no ceiling. Knowles repeated that today.
Meanwhile, Ford gave Knowles and the coaching staff, particularly defensive line coaches Joe Bob Clements and Greg Richmond credit for pushing the defensive front, linemen and linebackers to turn up the pressure. It was really about the only aspect of defense that was missing or not fully evident in the first win over Tulsa.
It was there against West Virginia and the defense showed that they aren't only capable of shutting down an offense, but they can create a little offense on their own.