STILLWATER, Oklahoma – The Oklahoma State Cowboys entered Saturday’s home opener against Tulsa at No. 11 in college football, but the Golden Hurricane quickly tested the Cowboys’ high-powered offense and put them in a position to fight until the end.
With a 16-7 win over Tulsa, nothing about this victory came easy for the Pokes.
Starting quarterback for the Cowboys Spencer Sanders left the game in the first half with an apparent ankle injury and would never return to play action forcing Mike Gundy to call upon Ethan Bullock, a junior college transfer from the City College of San Francisco.
With woeful efforts to move the ball down the field, true freshman Shane Illingworth came in, having only limited practice time, to surge the Cowboys to a win.
It was the strong defensive effort from the Pokes that held the Golden Hurricane out of the end zone, but will this be enough to take down a team like West Virginia?
After barely escaping a hungry Tulsa squad, the Cowboys fall to No. 15 in rankings as West Virginia comes to town this Saturday unranked but riding a hefty 56-10 win over Eastern Kentucky.
The Mountaineers didn’t crack the Top. 25 to start the 2020 season, but the dominance was clear as starting quarterback Jarret Doege completed 19/25 for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns in the season opener on Sept. 12.
Sure, Eastern Kentucky isn’t great… But Tulsa was without their star running back Shamari Brooks due to an ACL injury in his left knee. The Pokes looked frantic at times to hold off this Tulsa team, and with West Virginia coming off a hot win, plus a week off, it’ll be all hands on deck for OSU.
The Cowboys’ offense became incredibly one-dimensional with the exit of Sanders, and the reliance on Chuba Hubbard was heavy running the ball much more than connecting with players like Tylan Wallace.
Coach Gundy, however, commented that Sanders’ injury wasn’t anything to be too concerned about and noted it would be a worked on thoroughly throughout the week.
Mike Gundy says Spencer Sanders' injury isn't serious. No word on availability for next week. #OKState
— Dylan Buckingham (@DylanBuckingham) September 19, 2020
It’ll be “Next Man Up” for the Cowboys as Sanders’ return to the field remains unknown, and with Illingworth igniting something great in the Pokes to finish out the fight against Tulsa, it’ll take a team effort to go to war against the Mountaineers this weekend.
Big 12 Football kicks off for the Pokes on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 2:30 p.m. as West Virginia comes to town.