STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders didn't look flustered in his first career outing, impressing with both his arm and legs in a win over Oregon State last week. Next up is a home game Saturday against McNeese State when Cowboys coach Mike Gundy will see how his redshirt freshman reacts to all the accolades he's received this week.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN Plus. LINE: NL.
The first freshman to start a season opener under center since Wes Lunt in 2012, Sanders completed 19-of-24 passes for 203 yards and three scores, ran for 109 more on 13 carries and didn't commit a turnover in the 52-36 victory. "He played well and handled the offense well. I didn't think that he got flustered at any time, which is important for a quarterback at any level or any school," Gundy told reporters of Sanders, one of two quarterbacks in Week 1 to throw for 200 and run for 100 in his career (Frank Harris, Texas-San Antonio). "It was one game, but we will see how he progresses as the season goes on. We were pleased with what we were able to get out of him last Friday night." Oklahoma State has won 23 consecutive home openers - the longest such streak in school history - and have outscored opponents 708-206 in such games during Gundy's 14 years leading the program. McNeese State led by 20 before securing a 34-28 victory over Southern in coach Sterlin Gilbert's first game as coach as Cody Orgeron - son of LSU coach Ed Orgeron - completed 15-of-22 passes for 147 yards and two TDs while the defense forced five turnovers.
ABOUT MCNEESE STATE (1-0)
The Cowboys were outgained 342-303 by Southern but had 136 yards in the final stanza to thwart a comeback bid and held a 154-103 edge on the ground overall. Junior Trevor Begue had three catches for 50 yards and hauled in both of Orgeron's TDs - the first multi-TD performance of his career. Defensive end Chris Livings recorded a sack against the Jaguars and has 21.5 for his career - 9.5 away from the school record.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (1-0)
Sophomore Chuba Hubbard rushed for a career-high 221 yards and three touchdowns against the Beavers, Tylan Wallace caught five passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cowboys finished with 555 yards of total offense, scoring on each of their first seven possessions (not including a kneel-down at the end the first half). Hubbard (740 yards in 2018), a preseason All-Big 12 selection, emerged last season when Justice Hill was injured and averaged 106.3 yards (5.4 per carry) in the last four games, including 145 yards and a touchdown in the Liberty Bowl. The defense, which had six players starting for the first time, allowed 448 yards and 26 first downs, did not force a turnover and had just one sack (first-time starter Amen Ogbongbemiga, who also had a team-high 10 tackles).
1. The teams have never played before, but Gundy's Cowboys are 4-0 all-time against Southland Conference opponents and 11-0 against FCS schools winning by an average score of 50-9.
2. Fifty three percent of Oklahoma State's roster entering the 2019 season is made up of freshmen - second most in FBS this season behind UCLA.
3. Cowboys starting LB Calvin Bundage (62 tackles, eight for loss in 2018) missed the opener with a back injury and is questionable for McNeese.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 54, McNeese State 17