By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER – Wes Lunt’s first quarter as a college quarterback went off without a hitch Saturday against Savannah State. He didn’t see any action past that, though, as the Cowboys rolled to a 84-0 victory – the largest margin of victory for OSU in the modern era.
The true freshman quarterback from Rochester, Ill., completed all 11 of his passes – the first perfect passing performance in OSU history – for 129 yards and led OSU to scoring drives on four occasions. J.W. Walsh also led a scoring drive in the opening quarter.
“Tremendously classy act by coach Gundy and his staff, this thing could have gotten even worse,” Savannah State coach Steve Davenport said. “It was obvious that they were a much better team than we were. I am graciously appreciative of the way he handled the game.”
Lunt’s favorite receiver on the night was Isaiah Anderson, who had four catches for 63 yards and tied a career-high 42-yard reception – on Lunt’s first pass attempt of over 10 yards.
OSU scored 35 points in the first to tie a record for most points in a quarter – tying the Cowboys’ first quarter output against Kansas a year ago – in front of a crowd of 55,784. The 84 points scored by the Cowboy offense was the most in program history.
Oklahoma State’s offense scored on its first five drives of the game, which averaged a minute per drive.
The next two drives, which featured Walsh in the backfield, ended in turnovers – an interception by Walsh and fumble by second-team receiver Austin Hays. The next Cowboy drive stalled at the Savannah State 29, and Quinn Sharp missing his first field goal attempt of the season.
“We want J.W. to get into the game and get some playing time. We had that set up before the game,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “But you never really know how it’s going to fall, so you can’t plan that far in advance.”
With all the hype about Lunt and the passing game, it was the running game that put the finishing touch on the scoring drives. Oklahoma State’s running backs found the end zone on nine occasions with starters Jeremy Smith finding pay dirt three times and Joseph Randle twice – to go with 107 yards on six attempts.
The nine rushing touchdowns topped a record of seven touchdowns scored in a game – dating back to 1977 against UTEP. OSU had seven in the first half alone, which set a program record.
Sophomore running back Desmond Roland, who had 104 yards rushing on nine attempts, also had three rushing touchdowns in the opener. OSU nearly got a third 100-yard rusher, with third stringer Corey Bennett, a freshman from Choctaw, had 12 carries for 91 yards and picked up the final rushing TD on the night as OSU finished with 395 yards on the ground.
“I thought our guys ran the ball well,” Gundy said. “The competition is not what we're accustomed to and we should have run the ball well.”
While Walsh got his first interception as a Cowboy, he also recorded the first passing touchdown of the season when he hooked up with John Goodlett for a 14-yard touchdown pass just 55 seconds into the second half. Walsh recorded his second touchdown pass seven minutes later with a goal-line pass to Hays.
Third-string quarterback Clint Chelf also got a touchdown pass on the night, hooking up with Brandon Sheperd for a one-yard touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter.
With the offense running on all cylinders, the defense demoralized the Tigers from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
OSU’s defense held Savannah State scoreless – the first the Cowboys pulled a shutout in 11 years. The Tigers offense managed just 139 yards of offense, 58 yards rushing and 81 yards passing.
The Cowboy defense, which led the nation last year in takeaways, opened the season with two takeaways of Savannah State. Freshman cornerback Ashton Lampkin and sophomore linebacker Lyndell Johnson each recorded an interception.
Cowboy notes: Not among the dozens of Oklahoma State players to suit up for the opener was top returning receiver Tracy Moore, who got his third citation from police over a six-month span just over a week ago. ... While the lopsided win was the biggest in the modern era, it’s the most lopsided since a 117-0 rout of Southwestern Oklahoma in 1916.