In the home opener, Spencer Sanders sustained a lower extremity injury which has sidelined the quarterback for the better part of two games. Now, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have updated the depth chart for the upcoming contest in conference play. With the update, a second option has emerged as a viable signal caller.
It should come as no surprise that Shane Illingworth, a 6-5 pro-style freshman out of Norco, California has stepped up to the challenge. An early enrollee as a member of the 2020 recruiting class, the quarterback absorbed the knowledge imparted by the coaching staff. Taking control of the offense as the third option in the opening week, Illingworth looked more impressive than Ethan Bullock despite limited work. Completing 4-of-5 pass attempts for 79 yards earned the true freshman a second opportunity against West Virginia.
As the only signal caller to take the field against the Mountaineers, Illingworth attempted 21 passes connecting with receivers on 15 of those. Making a rookie mistake, the QB did throw an interception but that should be expected with inexperience. Clearly leaning on a couple of running backs to carry the load, the Cowboys continue to invest in Illingworth. Make no mistake, the program has not forgotten about Sanders nor have the fans.
Word surrounding Sanders remained positive ahead of the conference clash with WVU. In fact, the redshirt sophomore was labeled as available and dress out for the game. Ultimately, the coaching staff made a decision to hold the best quarterback on the roster out the contest. Taking another step forward this week while nursing the injury, Mike Gundy expects Sanders to take reps with the 1’s during practice. It could signal a return on Saturday.
If that’s not the case for Sanders, OK State settled the backup debate last week. Leading up to Saturday, the university released a depth chart in which Illingworth appears at No. 2.