Home / Sports / No. 11 Oklahoma State loses QB Spencer Sanders and returns in the opener on Tulsa 16-7

No. 11 Oklahoma State loses QB Spencer Sanders and returns in the opener on Tulsa 16-7

It wasn’t the clean, exhilarating start many had expected from Oklahoma State # 11, but the Cowboys survived a tough opening game against Tulsa in a 16-7 rock match early Saturday afternoon in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Almost anything that could go wrong in this game did – for both sides.

It started when the Cowboys lost quarterback Spencer Sanders to an injury officially known as a “lower extremity injury” that sidelined him for the remainder of the game. Sanders, who had an injury-related season behind him in 2019, didn’t even make it out of the first quarter when he appeared to injure his ankle in a botched handover with returning star Chuba Hubbard.

What followed was nearly two-quarters of Oklahoma State̵

7;s unobservable crime. Backup Ethan Bullock didn’t do the job, just threw 41 yards and intercepted. To be fair, the offensive line game was bad. The pokes allowed six sacks against a Tulsa defense who mostly rushed three and had only 14 sacks all last year. Hubbard, the nation’s leading rusher in 2019, had 93 yards of rushing – but many of those came in the fourth quarter and overall averaged just 3.4 per rush. This will be a concern to monitor further developments.

Oklahoma State found its spark when he joined Shane Illingworth in the late third quarter. A couple of key connections with star-wide recipient Tylan Wallace helped the cowboys develop some confidence and chemistry before hitting their only touchdown of the day – a 3-yard Hubbard run.

The exact prognosis for Sanders’ injury is unknown, so it is not clear how long he could be out. If he’s out for long periods of time it’s hard to see coach Mike Gundy not playing with Illingworth as QB1. The rookie stats weren’t good, but no one is going to complain that 4 out of 5 74 yards were overtaken by a man running three scoring drives. It is certainly better than what Bullock offered.

The rap on Illingworth is that he hasn’t really practiced much in the past week. The inexperience of being a frog in an off-season shortened by a pandemic showed up from time to time, particularly with Illingworth’s fear of throwing some passports. Still, he fits more into Gundy’s traditional quarterback form and led three scoring drives. Can’t be disappointed.

Tulsa wasn’t much better for all his hard work. The Golden Hurricane was a painful 0 for 12 in third place and 1 for 3 in fourth place. The only third change, a touchdown that would have given Tulsa a 13-10 lead, was recalled due to an illegal shift penalty. The next game it missed a chip shot field goal that would have tied the game. His penultimate possession of the game received three penalties, and a second and a seventh quickly turned into a fourth and a 24.

With that in mind, the hurricane inflicted a whopping 15 penalties for 120 yards. They also had numerous problems with clock management both before and after timeouts. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused all sorts of disruptions affecting the flow of exercises, but the number of misunderstandings was unacceptable for a team trying to cause a surprise.

Tulsa must be sick and miss the chance for a surprise. It last won in Stillwater in 1951, and Oklahoma State has now won 22 straight games against the Golden Hurricane on its home field. Oklahoma State also won its last eight games against Tulsa in 1999.

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