Special teams players often go unrecognized until they do something big. What often goes unrealized, though, is that those big moments don’t just happen by chance. Players practice and prepare for the opportunity, and those big moments take place whenever that preparation meets the opportunity to make something happen.
Saturday night featured one of those moments for Oklahoma State safety Jason Taylor, a second-string defensive back who has made a name for himself by making big plays whenever he works himself onto the field. With just a couple of minutes remaining and a 1-point lead, the Cowboys were in a rough spot as Boise State managed to put themselves into perfect position to kick a field goal and take the lead. Fortunately for Oklahoma State, Jason Taylor showed up and did what he does by getting a hand on the kick and making a play that probably saved the game for the Cowboys.
After the game on Saturday, head coach Mike Gundy announced that starting safety Tre Sterling would miss the remainder of the season due to injury. The announcement serves a major blow to the Cowboy secondary, especially considering that Sterling was a back-to-back All-Big 12 Honorable Mention and had emerged as one of the defense’s leaders. The loss is a tough one, but fortunately enough for Oklahoma State, Jason Taylor is the backup that will fill in for Sterling the rest of the season.
Jason Taylor made his name known to Cowboy fans last season with his highlight-reel style touchdowns in November games. On November 7, 2020, Taylor recovered a fumble against Kansas State before returning it 85 yards for a touchdown. A couple of weeks later on November 28th, he recovered an onside kick against Texas Tech and returned it for a touchdown to give the Cowboys the lead that would eventually give them the win.
Because of his history, Taylor is no stranger to the spotlight. He has played in every game for the Cowboys since the 2019 season, and while most of those appearances came on special teams, he has worked his way into the rotation on defense, and that is why he will serve as a solid fill-in for the injured Sterling. A lot of times backups fail to live up to the challenge when their name is called, but I have a feeling that Jason Taylor will do just fine.
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