It wasn’t pretty, but Oklahoma State survived its season opener, despite losing its starting quarterback in the first half Saturday.
The Cowboys beat Tulsa, 16-7, in a game where they earned only 282 yards of offense.
An interception by Kolby Harvell-Peel sealed the victory for the Cowboys. He picked off Tulsa quarterback Zach Smith with 0:07 on the clock.
The Cowboys finally found the end zone – on their first play of the fourth quarter. Redshirt junior running back Chuba Hubbard powered in from three yards out to score the first OSU touchdown of the season. He gave OSU a 10-7 lead just seconds into the fourth quarter.
On Tulsa’s final drive of the game, penalties backed the Golden Hurricane up inside their own 15-yard line. On fourth-and-24, OSU blitzed and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez sacked Smith at the 2-yard line.
OSU lost yardage on the next play, thanks to a high snap. Illingworth went down to avoid losing more than three yards. Three plays later, Hale kicked a 29-yard field goal to put OSU up 16-7 with 0:18 left on the clock.
Hubbard ran 27 times for 93 yards and one touchdown in the win. Tylan Wallace led OSU with four receptions for 94 yards.
After the Oklahoma State offense struggled throughout the second and third quarter under junior college transfer Ethan Bullock, Cowboy coach Mike Gundy elected to make a change after an interception by Bullock.
The offense instantly responded under true freshman quarterback Shane Illingworth.
The third-string quarterback began airing it out to Tylan Wallace and found itself in the red zone at the end of third quarter. Illingworth is 3 for 3 for 73 yards on the drive.
At halftime, Oklahoma State trails Tulsa, 7-3, after the Golden Hurricane scored a touchdown late in the half.
Tulsa drove 56 yards in three plays to score the game’s first touchdown with 1 minute and 38 seconds left in the half. The scoring play was a 16-yard pass from Zach Smith to Josh Johnson.
Smith connected with Keylon Stokes for a 41-yard pass on the first play of the drive.
OSU ran three plays on the ensuing drive and let the clock tick away into halftime. The Cowboys picked up a first down – the first since their opening drive of the game, which resulted in a 27-yard field goal by Alex Hale.
The Cowboys have 26 passing yards and 70 rushing yards in the half. Meanwhile, Tulsa has thrown for 106 yards and rushed for 47 more.
According to Oklahoma State, starting quarterback Spencer Sanders is “doubtful” to return in Saturday’s season opener against Tulsa.
Sanders suffered a “lower extremity” injury on the first play of the second offensive drive for Oklahoma State.
Junior college transfer Ethan Bullock has been filling in at quarterback since Sanders went out.
It hasn’t been a great start for Bullock.
The first two offensive drives under Bullock ended in three-and-outs, with Bullock being sacked on third down on both drives – the first while facing a three-man rush, the second from a blitz by Tulsa.
Oklahoma State starting quarterback Spencer Sanders didn’t make it a quarter into the new season without being sidelined.
Sanders appeared to be limping late in the opening offensive drive for Oklahoma State, then on the first play of the second drive has a severe limp after a high snap and fumble handoff lead to a scrum at his feet.
He instantly limped toward the sideline and was taken to the locker room. Backup quarterbacks Ethan Bullock and Shane Illingworth began warming up on the sideline.
ESPN reported it was Sanders’ right ankle. Junior college transfer Ethan Bullock took over under center for Sanders.
The Tulsa offense was dealt a significant blow this week when starting running back Shamari Brooks tore the ACL in his left knee in practice. The breaking news was announced Saturday morning on the ESPN College Gameday Show, and later confirmed by the Tulsa World.
Brooks started all 12 games last year, rushing for 1,046 yards and six touchdowns as a junior. He ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries in last year’s contest against Oklahoma State.
The Golden Hurricane will likely start freshman Christian Lovick at running back.
The Tulsa World also reported starting linebacker Yohance Burnett also tore an ACL and is out for the season.
OSU won last year’s game 40-21 in Tulsa.