Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns in his debut during Oklahoma State’s season-opening 52-36 win over Oregon State on Friday night at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.
Sanders, who was named the starter over graduate transfer Dru Brown from Hawaii just hours prior to kickoff, was 19-for-24 with no interceptions and also showcased his mobility by rushing for 109 yards on 13 carries. Brown did see two snaps in the game with 1:19 remaining in the game, handing the ball off each time.
Redshirt sophomore Chuba Hubbard rushed for a career-high 221 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns. It’s the first time since Gerald Hudson (121) and Barry Sanders (312) in 1988 the Cowboys have had a 100- and 200-yard rusher in the same game.
Junior wide receiver Tylan Wallace, who was a Biletnikoff Award finalist a year ago, had five receptions for 92 yards and two scores.
Oregon State had their own QB battle in fall camp, but Jake Luton was named the starter last week. The sixth-year signal caller threw for 251 yards and three scores. Isaiah Hodgins caught nine passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Jermar Jefferson, who rushed for 1,380 yards last season, was limited only 87 yards on the ground.
It wasn’t all rosy for the Cowboys (1-0), who allowed a six-play, 70-yard drive on the opening possession with Jermar Jefferson slashing through the defense with two runs for 37 yards. Luton then found Hodgins in the back left corner of the end zone from 29 yards out.
Sanders took his first snap in his college career and... handed it off to Hubbard for a 3-yard gain. Hubbard did the heavy lifting on the drive, with 55 rushing yards on four carries, including a 6-yard score on an option play opened up by a kick out block from cowboy back Logan Carter.
Luton and the Beavers (0-1) responded by marching down the field before Artavis Pierce was unable to haul in a pass, and they settled for a 30-yard field goal from Jordan Choukair to make it 10-7 just 5:31 into the game.
But then the Cowboys took over with 24 unanswered points as Sanders started to find his rhythm.
After overcoming two third downs, Sanders looked to have his first TD pass of his career with a 6-yard touch pass to Wallace in the back corner of the end zone, but it was overturned after video review showed Wallace was out of bounds. Matt Ammendola hit a 23-yarder to tie it at 10.
Sanders went 3-for-4 on the next drive, including a 23-yard pass to Wallace, who had lots of green ahead of him down the right sideline but stepped out of bounds. Hubbard followed with a 26-yard run, and Sanders hit Landon Wolf for 20 yards then LD Brown punched it in from 6 yards to give the Cowboys their first lead of the season, 17-10, with 9:41 left in the first half.
Sanders and Wallace connected on two scores from 36 and 21 yards to increase the lead, including a pass on a third-and-7 for 21 yards that saw offensive tackle Teven Jenkins come up with a big downfield block.
I take this magnetic force-of-man to be my glover. pic.twitter.com/JDKmdOClyl— Cowboys Ride For Free (@CowboysRFF) August 31, 2019
After the Cowboys scored 24 unanswered points, the Beavers drove down the field to the 1-yard line in the final 2 minutes. Malcolm Rodriguez stood up Luton at the goal line, but after the two teams exchanged time outs Luton found Tyjon Lindsey on an out route. The Beavers two-point conversion attempt fell incomplete for the Cowboys to head into halftime 31-16.
Sanders was 2 for 3 with 14 yards – and induced a defensive pass interference – in the first quarter. He went 8 for 10 for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter.
Hubbard opened the second half with a 2-yard score before Hodgins answered in a big way accounting for 71 of the 73 yards on the Beavers’ drive. Hodgins hauled in a 10-yard TD catch to make it 38-23.
Oregon State then forced a three-and-out much to the dismay of Stoner, who appeared to reach past the first down marker. The 29-year-old Australian freshman Tom Hutton entered the game and booted a 40-yard punt.
Jack Colletto added a 1-yard score for the Beavers early in the fourth and the Beavers failed again on a conversion attempt.
The Cowboys return to Stillwater to face Football Championship Subdivision McNeese State on Saturday, Sept. 7 at Boone Pickens Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. on ESPN-plus.