The Oklahoma State Cowboys open the 2019 season in Corvallis, Oregon, against the Oregon State Beavers with a Friday night matchup and a lot of cleanup to do on both ends of the ball.
After finishing last season with a record of 7-6, plus a Liberty Bowl win over Missouri, Head Coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys look to make improvements on the defensive side of the ball with seniors like Calvin Bundage stepping into a leadership role, and on the offensive side where the looming question of a starting quarterback taunts fans and media.
This will be Gundy’s 15th season as head coach of the Cowboys, and he says although there may still be questions on his decisions, there is a plan he’s not willing to discuss publicly yet.
“We’re in game plan mode now,” Gundy said at his Aug. 23 press conference. “We’re still working hard, but practices have been reduced somewhat. I like where everyone is at, and we’ll know a lot more a week from now.”
As the season opener peers around the corner, it’s a battle of OSU vs. OSU as these two teams come face-to-face in football for the first time ever.
Unlike the Cowboys, the Beavers have their starting guy in sixth-year senior Jake Luton as he has started at quarterback for the past two seasons. Luton and the Beavers struggled with a 2-10 record last season, but Luton shows efficiency when healthy completing 140-0f-224 of attempted passes (62.5 percent) for 1,660 yards and 10 touchdowns to wrap up 2018.
2018 was a year Luton had a chance to prove himself after missing the remaining eight games of the 2017 season suffering a thoracic spine fracture against Washington State in what was his fifth consecutive start of the season.
On the offensive side of the ball for Oklahoma State, the title of starting quarterback may be unknown, but young talent such as junior Tylan Wallace poses a major threat to opposing defenses. Wallace, who multiple media outlets have deemed a preseason All-American, led the world of college football in 2018 with 63 receptions of 10 or more yards making him a Biletnikoff Award Finalist and a First-Team All-American, as well as many other notable recognitions.
Redshirt sophomore Chuba Hubbard shines for Oklahoma State’s running game rushing for 740 yards in 2018 as a part-time starter. Not to mention four out of five of the Cowboys’ starting offensive lineman are returning as leaders this season led by Marcus Keyes who has started 37 games at left guard.
Oklahoma State’s offense under Coach Gundy rarely disappoints, and with Sean Gleeson stepping in as offensive coordinator as a replacement to Mike Yurcich, anything is possible for this offense and the young man rewarded the starting quarterback position tonight.
Cowboys fans will either have the chance to see redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders, senior Dru Brown, or both men out on the field continuing to prove who is fit to take on the role as a starter for the 2019 season.
As mentioned before, this will be the first time these two teams have met in football. Oregon State will open on its home field for the first time since 2015 where the Beavers defeated Weber State 26-7. The Beavers also haven’t played a Big 12 team since 2012 where they lost to Texas in the Alamo Bowl, and the last regular season matchup for Oregon State against a Big 12 opponent was in 1998 against Baylor in Corvallis where they defeated the Bears 27-17.
Oklahoma State was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 after falling to a 3-6 record in the conference last season, while Oregon State is said to finish sixth in the Pac-12 North by the Pac-12 Media Poll.
The day Cowboy fans have been waiting for is here: Who will take the field first for Oklahoma State? All questions get answered tonight as OSU takes on OSU to open the 2019 season at 9:30 p.m. CST.
Oklahoma State 34 | Oregon State 17