Spencer Sanders threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns in Oklahoma State’s 56-14 home-opening blowout win over FCS McNeese State on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.
The redshirt freshman connected with junior wide receiver Tylan Wallace from 69, 4 and 75 yards. Wallace, a Bilenkiloff Award finalist from a season ago, hauled in 180 yards on five receptions. Sanders also led OSU (2-0) with 51 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Redshirt sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard ran eight times for 44 yards and a 4-yard score. All three offensive stars left the game in the third quarter, which led to graduate transfer quarterback Dru Brown making his BPS debut. Brown was 7-for-10 for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
OSU’s defense limited McNeese to 318 yards and forced two inceptions. Cornerback A.J. Green picked off the first one and returned it to the end zone for 27 yards. Linebacker Philip Redwine-Bryant had the other, coming 1-yard short of a score. Micah Cooper plunged in for the touchdown.
McNeese (1-1) punter Bailey Raborn did everything he could to keep his team in the game, pinning OSU inside the 10-yard line five times, but the Cowboys from Louisiana were overwhelmed by OSU.
OSU’s defense pressured McNeese quarterback Cody Orgeron, the son of LSU coach Ed Orgeron, into turnovers from the start as Green intercepted the younger Orgeron on the second play from scrimmage.
The next possession for McNeese was a quick three and out and a 44-yard punt inside the 10. Perhaps field position was the reason OSU started sloppy on offense. The first possession started with a fumble that was luckily recovered by OSU, then a sack and a quick three and out.
OSU’s defense did its job again, punctuated by an Amen Ogbongbemiga sack. Raborn pinned OSU inside the 10 again. Then OSU picked up a first down before Dillon Stoner fumbled on a 13-yard reception to the dismay of the home crowd.
McNeese went for a fourth-and-7 around midfield and were stopped, giving OSU its best field position of the game. After a 4-yard Hubbard run, Sanders hit Wallace on a bubble screen and the wide out pranced like a deer down the right sideline for a nice 69-yard touchdown to put OSU up 14-0 with 1:37 left in the first quarter.
McNeese went three-and-out again, but Raborn booted a 60-yard bomb to pin the Pokes inside the 10 for the fourth time. OSU struggled with field position and was forced to punt.
After stopping McNeese again and being pinned inside the 10 once more, OSU offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson began utilizing Sanders’ ability to run. Sanders ran seven times for 38 yards on a 15-play, 91-yard scoring drive, finished off by a Hubbard score as the offense started to find its groove.
Sanders connected with Wallace again on a rollout from 4 yards out to cap a 91-yard drive for a 28-0 halftime lead.
OSU came out firing in the second half, when Wallace spun to avoid a defender on a curl route and galloped 75 yards to the end zone on the first play from scrimmage.
The lone blemish for OSU’s defense came the next drive as Orgeron led McNeese 82 yards down the field on seven plays, highlighted by a 52-yard run by the QB. Orgeron put McNeese on the scoreboard with a 16-yard dot to D’Andre Hicks at 3:33 in the third quarter.
Brown checked into the game with 11:09 left in the third and threw his first career touchdown with OSU to CJ Moore for 59 yards to make it 42-7. Brown also threw a beautiful crossing route to Braydon Johnson, who took it to the house for 69 yards on the first catch of his career.
Redwine-Bryant, a former walk on who earned a scholarship for his play on special teams last year, checked into the game on defense and returned an interception to the half yard line. Cooper stuffed it in the endzone in one play to make it 56-7 and the game ended with that score.
OSU makes the short trip to Tulsa for an in-state game next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at H.A. Chapman Stadium.