Illingworth was 15 of 21 for 139 yards, but threw one interception in OSU’s 27-13 home win against West Virginia last week as he stepped in for Spencer Sanders, who suffered a right ankle sprain in the season opener against Tulsa on Sept. 19. The Cowboys (2-0, 1-0 Big 12) used a run-heavy attack against the Mountaineers to help ease Illingworth into his first career start.
“For a true freshman being out there, he played OK,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said of Illingworth’s performance. “There’s times that he made mistakes, but there’s times that he did make some big plays. All that’s going to take time. The guy’s young. We found a way to win and that’s what’s important right now.”
Gundy listed Sanders as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback on their two-deep depth chart for the second straight week, but opted to go with Illingworth both times to give Sanders more time to recover. Sanders is available to play, if needed, for the Cowboys when they kick off at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Gundy said on OSU’s radio broadcast that Sanders is “at least 80 percent” after being 70 percent last week, but only took 40 percent of snaps in practice. Offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn and quarterbacks coach Tim Rattay made the call to start Illingworth.
The Cowboys have won 10 straight against the Jayhawks, who have allowed 85 points and are 0-2 this season. OSU has its lone bye week of the season after they play KU.