Garman Gets His Chance Against Bears

STILLWATER – Daxx Garman doesn’t remember the last touchdown pass he threw in a real football game. As a matter of fact, the Oklahoma State junior quarterback doesn’t even recall the last football game he played. But Saturday afternoon he ran onto the field for the first time since 2009, helping lead Oklahoma State to a 40-23 victory over Missouri State at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Garman has spent the past three years at Oklahoma State waiting for his chance to play for the Cowboys. He quarterback the Cowboys scout team in 2012 while sitting out a year after transferring from Arizona, and was the third-team quarterback a year ago behind Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh.

The 21-year-old began 2014 as the backup to Walsh, but got his first chance to play since his junior year at Jones (Okla.) High School on Saturday afternoon when the Cowboys starting quarterback left the game with what appeared to be either a foot or ankle injury.

The Cowboys already led 10-6 late in the first quarter when Garman came on in relief of Walsh. He helped direct scoring drives 55, 78 and 56 yards in the second quarter as the Cowboys increased their lead to 27-6 at halftime.

Garman’s final numbers were pretty impressive considering that the last time he played competitively was for the Jones Longhorns in 2009. He was 16-of-26 passing for 244 yards with two touchdowns, including the second-longest touchdown pass in school history – teaming up with wide receiver Brandon Sheperd on an 87-yard catch and run midway through the second quarter to give the Cowboys a 24-6 lead.

“It felt great to get back out there. It’s been a long time,” said Garman. “It felt good to get out there on the field going through the actual motions in a real game situation.”

OSU head coach Mike Gundy said, “I think he did OK. He made some plays. There were some throws I’d like to have back. A couple of throws that I know that he could make a better throw because I’ve seen him do it.

“The first time you play in a game at this level it’s different because you really can never manufacture the speed and the tempo. So I thought he did fine. We’ll know a lot more when you watch tape and see where all the defensive players are and what his reads were and if he was sound in what was important, which is getting the ball in the right guy’s hands.”

The Cowboys scored on their first two possessions of the second half (meaning the offense produced points on five of the first six possessions with Garman behind center) to take a commanding 37-6 lead with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter.

Here is a summary of OSU’s offensive possessions with Garman at quarterback:
** 8 plays, 24 yards, 0 points (Ben Grogan missed 46-yard field goal attempt)
** 6 plays, 55 yards, 7 points (Rennie Childs 2-yard touchdown run, Grogan PAT), OSU, 17-6
** 3 plays, 78 yards, 7 points (Garman to Sheperd for 87-yard touchdown, Grogan PAT), OSU, 24-6
** 11 plays, 56 yards, 3 points (Grogan 19-yard field goal), OSU 27-6
** 4 plays, 68 yards, 7 points (Garman to Jhajuan Seales for 21-yard touchdown, Grogan PAT), OSU 34-6
** 7 plays, 42 yards, 3 points (Grogan 34-yard field goal), OSU 37-6

Gundy said that Garman has gotten plenty of reps in practice and he wasn’t surprised at how he performed against the Bears.

“He’s had a lot of reps built. He’s had reps since day one,” he said. “He had to go through some grueling things. The speed of the game is something different for him. He hasn’t played in a long time. He made some mistakes, but he also made some throws.”

Garman wasn’t the only bright spot for the Cowboys.

Sheperd entered the game with 17 career receptions for 253 yards and two touchdowns. In the first half of Saturday’s game, the junior from St. Louis caught four passes for 131 yards, including the 87-yard scoring toss from Garman (which is second in OSU history only to the Zac Robinson-to-Jeremy Broadway 95-yarder against Iowa State in 2008).

The Cowboys special teams were impressive after several costly miscues in the season-opening loss to Florida State a week ago. OSU blocked a point-after touchdown, field and punt against the Bears (all in the first half). Those three blocks mark an OSU school record, a Big 12 record and only the second time in NCAA history that a team has blocked a PAT, field and punt in the same game. Oregon State accomplished the feat in 1996 against USC.

“I think we have a good group of players that understand how to accelerate and take the ball off of the foot as a punt block group, and most of them are freshmen and sophomores,” Gundy said. “In practice, they’ve been really good at it. I had mentioned to our staff that I thought we had a good young group of players that understand blocking a good punt, which we never know.”

Gundy said he did not know much about Walsh's injury.

"We'll know more about [Walsh] and his situation tomorrow," he said. "Either way, at that point we were going to play Daxx so we just decided to go ahead and leave him in and move forward."

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