All summer long, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy refused to name a starter at quarterback. It appeared that the Cowboys would use a quarterback-by-committee strategy, but that was not the case. Freshman Spencer Sanders earned the start for Oklahoma State as the Cowboys kicked off their season in glorious fashion on Friday night defeating the Oregon State Beavers on the road 52-36.
Sanders did not disappoint in his debut as he finished 19 of 24 threw the air for 203 yards and 3 touchdowns, while racking up 109 yards on the ground on 13 attempts.
After going down 7-0 to the Beavers on the first possession of the game, the Cowboys answered quickly behind a 6-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard finished the game with 221 yards on 26 attempts while scoring 3 touchdowns. His third touchdown of the night was a 53-yard scamper, his longest of the game, which put the Cowboys up 45-23 late in the third quarter.
Oklahoma State trailed a couple of times early, but after Matt Ammendola nailed a 23-yard field goal to tie it all up at 10-10, the Cowboys ran away with it and never looked back.
Pre-season All-American wide receiver Tylan Wallace had a quiet start, but after hauling in 2 touchdowns from Spencer Sanders—the first from 36 yards and the second from 21 yards—he finished the game with 5 receptions for 92 yards.
CJ Moore grabbed the other touchdown reception from Sanders—an 11-yard catch—to round out the scoring. Dillon Stoner caught 5 passes for 31 yards, and Landon Wolf caught 4 for 41 yards.
Defensively, the Cowboys got off to a rough start as they could not stop the Beavers in either facet of the game. Oregon State put up 133 yards on 20 plays in the first quarter in their first two possessions to score 10 points, but Oklahoma State was able to put together some stops after that.
The Beavers managed to finish with 448 yards of offense, which was just below what the Cowboys averaged last season. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles is going to have to get Oklahoma State into a better place moving forward, or the high-powered offense is going to be forced into a shootout every single week.
All in all, Oklahoma State had plenty of positives to takeaway, and while this season may not end with a double-digit win total or a Big 12 Championship Game appearance, Cowboy fans can feel good knowing that the future of the program is in the hands of a talented young quarterback who is surrounded by impact players in every direction.