Cowboys Rush Past The Bears

STILLWATER – Oklahoma State fans who braved the rains Saturday got a chance to see the future of Cowboy football. Mike Gundy's coaching staff had the opportunity to get a lot of young players some game experience in Oklahoma State's 57-13 rout of Missouri State in front of 33,242 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

The Cowboys, now 3-0 entering an off week before playing against Troy on Sept. 27, got playing time for a number of inexperienced players, including backup quarterbacks Alex Cate and Brandon Weeden.

After three quarters – and 100-plus rushing yard performances from Keith Toston (148), Beau Johnson (138) and Kendall Hunter (132) – the Cowboys were out of scholarship running backs to put on the field, other than true freshmen Kye Staley and Travis Miller both of whom Mike Gundy wants to redshirt. Not wanting to make the score any worse than it already was, OSU started giving the ball to walk-on Michael Roberts, who last ran the ball two years ago for Cache (Okla.) High School.

It was just the second time in school history that the Cowboys have had three 100-yard rushers in the same game. Dantrell Savage (130), Zac Robinson (116) and Hunter (113) also accomplished the feat last season against Texas Tech.

Other Cowboys, besides Cate, Weeden and Roberts, to get significant game action were tight end Jamal Mosley, and backup offensive linemen Trent Perkins, Jonathan Rush, Andrew Mitchell, Noah Franklin and Andrew Lawrence. Defensively, the OSU coaching staff got to see in action backups like Chris Donaldson, Richetti Jones, Jared Glover, Victor Johnson, Johnny Thomas, James Thomas, Markelle Martin and Deron Fontenot.

"We were excited about getting some guys in and playing more (than they have the first two games), letting some of the second team offensive linemen, down the line running backs, and let the other quarterbacks play some. So that was good," said Gundy.

"We were excited about getting the second team defense, and some of the down the line guys in the game. Overall, it was a good game for us," Gundy continued in his postgame news conference.

The backup quarterbacks – neither of whom saw action in the Cowboys' first two games – played most of the second half. Cate, sophomore from Salt Lake City, was 2-of-3 passing for 32 yards, and led the offense on back-to-back scoring drives to open the second half. He scored on a 1-yard keeper to cap a 10-play, 70-yard drive to put the Cowboys up 43-6 early in the second half.

Weeden, the 24-year-old redshirt freshman from Edmond, Okla., completed one of his three passes and directed the Cowboys' final scoring drive of the game. Toston ran 56 yards to the Missouri State 17-yard line, and two plays later Beau Johnson capped the three-play, 73-yard drive by scoring on a 17-yard run.

"The challenge for our football team was to come out and play well, no matter who the opponent was," Gundy said. "Like I said on Monday, we need to get better as a team, and compete against each other and go out and play the game. Hopefully, for the most part they did that but we'll have to watch the tape to find out."

Oklahoma State scored on five of its first six possessions of the first half – which combined with an impressive second-half performance in last week's win over Houston made it 11 of the last 13 times the offense touched the ball resulted in Cowboy touchdowns.

The only time the OSU offense didn't score when it took possession of the ball in the first half against Missouri State was when Beau Johnson fumbled it away after catching a Zac Robinson pass late in the first quarter and when Dan Bailey's 52-yard field goal attempt came up short on the final play of the first half.

OSU scored on its first three possessions of the game – on a Zac Robinson 1-yard quarterback sneak, a 66-yard Robinson-to-Bo Bowling pass and run and Kendall Hunter's 8-yard run – to go ahead 22-0 just a little more than eight minutes into the first quarter.

The Cowboys' next possession was derailed when a bad snap from center resulted in a 31-yard loss and Johnson's fumble after a 16-yard gain on the next play. But they put the game out of reach by driving 60 and 54 yards, respectively, the next two times they got the ball. Hunter's 4-yard scoring run and Johnson's 6-yard TD capped the scoring to give OSU a 36-6 halftime lead.

The game also allowed the Cowboys to rest several first-teamers who suffered injuries in the previous week's victory over Houston. Starting defensive tackle Jeray Chatham and wide receivers Damian Davis and Artrell Woods did not play against the Bears. All three are expected to return for OSU's home game Sept. 27 against Troy.

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