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Cox's Corner: Secondary Part Two

A deep and experienced cornerback group provides Glenn Spencer flexibility in scheming.

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Ashton Lampkin looked a little different on Saturday as the Cowboys pulled out another comeback win in Ames. For the second straight game he wore a cast on his right hand. He's been nursing a broken right thumb that kept him out the Texas Tech game. Kevin Peterson is also banged up from a leg injury that took him out of that same game.

The pair headlines probably the Cowboys' deepest rotation on defense. After the TCU game last week, Lampkin referred to the duo as two broken cars, stating "Putting those two cars together, coming out with a Bugatti." Each had big plays in that 49-29 win over the Horned Frogs.

Lampkin is no stranger to injury. An early ankle injury ended his 2014 campaign and pushed Ramon Richards into a starting role for most of last season. With the addition of graduate transfer Michael Hunter this year, the Pokes now have four cornerbacks with 10+ starts.

The name of the game in Ames was a strong rushing attack from the Cyclones. In the first half, Joel Lanning pretty much got free up the middle any time he pleased. The ‘Clones o-line pushed around an Oklahoma State front four that (for most of the season) has looked dominant. There were a couple of big pass plays given up but for the most part, I'm going to attribute Iowa State's early success to winning in the trenches.

We all know what happened after that. Glenn Spencer held a coaches meeting in the shower and schemed out a way to shut down the Cyclones in the second half. OSU went on to win once again in dramatic fashion.

The good news: Oklahoma State is 10-0 with two games remaining (both in Stillwater). The bad news: those two contests are against possibly the two best offenses in the Big XII. To add to that both Kevin Peterson (leg) and Ashton Lampkin (hand) are listed as questionable for Saturday's game against Baylor. Let me save you the suspense, both will play.

Let's hope they not only play but that they are both close to 100 per cent. Because OSU will welcome a Baylor team the boasts one of the biggest deep ball threats in the nation. Corey Coleman is a Heisman candidate with over 1,200 receiving yards in nine games and the Bears will be looking to bounce back after a heart breaking loss to Oklahoma at home.

Let's look at the cornerback rotation:

Kevin Peterson (Sr)

The fast talking Wagoner, Oklahoma, native has been the best corner for the Cowboys since Justin Gilbert left for the NFL. Peterson often draws the assignment of the best receiver on the field. He's a smart player who always seems to be at the right place at the right time.

Peterson is sitting at 28 tackles (21 solo), 1 interception, five pass breakups and 3.5 tackles for loss. Let's not forget this huge tackle on Trevone Boykin to complete the goal line stop against TCU.

Ashton Lampkin (Jr)

Lampkin is another guy that can cover the opposing team's No. 1 target. He has been a little banged up this year, but just having him in the game is huge for OSU. The tandem of he and Peterson allow Glenn Spencer to leave single coverage on the back end, giving the Pokes an extra safety to help in the midfield.

He's tallied 25 tackles (19 solo), one tackle for loss and five pass breakups.

Michael Hunter (Sr)

Before coming to Stillwater in the offseason, Michael Hunter had started every game the previous two seasons at Indiana. Yet another in a line of successful graduate transfers to come to Oklahoma State and shine. He's played well this year for the Pokes, adding 16 tackles (15 solo), two interceptions and a pass breakup.

Ramon Richards (So)

When Ashton Lampkin went out with an ankle injury last year, the then true freshman was thrust into a starting role. Being a converted high school quarterback, the transition was rocky at times. But Richards learned on the fly and had some big plays last year.

Back in the depth chart, Richards is still learning on the job. If he can continue to improve, he should fight for a starting spot next season.

This year he's contributed with 14 tackles (13 solo), two pass breakups, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and two interceptions, including the pick six to seal the deal in Lubbock a couple weeks back.

Miketavius Jones (Sr)

A key player on special teams and in certain packages on defense, Jones has provided a spark for the Cowboys more than once this year. Against UTSA, he stripped the quarterback which led to a scoop and score by Devante Averrette. Against Kansas he blocked a punt that he scooped up himself before diving into the end zone.

Jones has 16 tackles (11 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, the forced fumble mentioned above and that blocked punt/touch down.

Darius Curry (So)

An ESPN four star recruit who redshirted in 2013 and played four games last season. He's seen most of his reps come on special teams but could definitely earn an increased role next season with the Pokes set to graduate two key cover guys.

Curry has played in all 10 games this year with 10 tackles (7 solo) and a tackle for loss.

Cornerback is probably the deepest roster slot for the Cowboys and is definitely one of the most important. This secondary will definitely be tested over the next two weeks starting with Baylor on Saturday. If the Cowboys want to win out and get their shot at a College Football Playoff spot, the corners will have to continue their stellar play.