CORVALLIS, Oregon – Redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders received the news he’d been waiting for as the Cowboys prepared to open the 2019 season against Oregon State; he’d be the guy to take the field as QB1 to debut Cowboy football.
The Cowboys opened with a dynamic 52-36 win over the Beavers.
Sanders, who saw zero playing time last season as a redshirt behind Taylor Cornelius, was one of two quarterbacks on Cowboys fans’ minds with the season approaching. Head Coach Mike Gundy made the decision to keep the announcement of starting quarterback out of the media until two hours before kickoff, and Sanders was announced as the starter over fifth-year senior grad transfer Dru Brown.
Sanders showed immense athleticism picking up 109 rushing yards on 13 carries, while throwing for 203 yards connecting for 19/24.
All eyes were on the new quarterback as the Cowboys started the game, but it was players like Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace who stole the show.
Hubbard had a career night with 221 rushing yards on 26 carries for three touchdowns. Cowboy fans had high expectations for players like Hubbard after he impressed last season filling the shoes of star running back Justice Hill when Hill was sat out due to injury during Bedlam 2018.
In Hubbard’s four games as star running back last season, he produced three 100-yard rushing games, as well as five rushing touchdowns. With players like Justice Hill entering the NFL Draft, Hubbard became the guy for the Cowboys this season.
Tylan Wallace started the game on a quiet note but quickly made some noise picking up 92 yards on five receptions for two touchdowns. Wallace, who was named a Biletnikoff Finalist last season, picked right back up where he left off contributing heavily to the Oklahoma State offense.
Oregon State named sixth-year senior Jake Luton its starting guy late last week where Luton has been in the starting position the past two seasons. Luton, who dealt with injury in the 2017 season, was granted a sixth year to lead the Beavers after having a disappointing 2-10 season in 2018.
Luton threw for 251 yards connecting with players like Isaiah Hodgins for two touchdowns and finished 23/42 on the night and rushed for only seven yards.
In his second year with the Cowboys, defensive coordinator Jim Knowles may have some cleanup with his defense after this game allowing the Beavers to take the board first at 7-0 on their opening possession after only six plays.
Oregon State would only score first in one game the previous season but made it look like a cake walk on the opening drive against the Cowboys.
Amen Ogbongbemiga led the Cowboys in tackles with 10 total, six solo, and had one sack on Luton. Players like Rodarius Williams, Malcolm Rodriguez, and Tre Sterling showed immense defensive power as well as the game carried on, even with Oregon State racking up 36 total points.
Season openers are always telling of loos ends teams need to tie up, and Coach Knowles may have his work cut out for him, but overall the performance of the Cowboy defense came to life as the game continued on, and learning opportunities arose from every end.
The Cowboys take win No. 1 of the season over the Beavers at 52-36, and the team will light up Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 7, against McNeese State at 6 p.m.
Fans will have the chance to see Spencer Sanders in person, and possibly Dru Brown if Gundy is feeling adventurous, but as for Sanders, his debut as a starter was far from disappointing, and the energy of his game should carry over to next weekend against the Rowdy.