Away from home is where the hurt is

AT ONE POINT, the most pressing question seemed to be how many Cougars could fit into a Medevac helicopter. After all, the injuries were piling up like cars on Stadium Way in December en route to a 65-17 season-opening loss to Oklahoma State Saturday night in Stillwater, Okla.

It started with true freshman Rickey Galvin breaking his right arm on a 2-yard gain -- the first carry of his collegiate career.

Sophomore fullback Jared Byers limped out of the first half with a sprained knee.

Junior wide receiver Jared Karstetter took a hard hit and suffered a concussion and rib damage.

Sophomore wide receiver Gino Simone's ongoing hamstring issues made a showing in Stillwater.

And senior linebacker Myron Beck, one of the Cougars' stars in fall camp, limped in and out of the second half.

THE INJURIES WERE a major blow to coach Paul Wulff, who had suffered two years of significant maladies during fall camp and was excited to be relatively unscathed headed into the season opener.

Most concerning, sideline reporter Bud Namek said at halftime, was that Galvin is expected to miss the remainder of the year.

The 5-foot-8 freshman from Berkeley, Calif., was expected to be a change-of-pace back to veterans James Montgomery, Logwone Mitz and Chantz Staden.

"We've known all along that he's very dynamic," Wulff said of Galvin, who is eligible for a medical redshirt. "We thought he would do special things for us this year."

OKLAHOMA STATE, on the other hand, barely batted an eyelash at its own injures.

Senior defensive tackles Shane Jarka (knee) and Chris Donaldson (ankle) were both hurt during a three-play span in the second quarter.

"It looks like we've lost a couple of guys for a game or two," coach Mike Gundy said at halftime. He shrugged and added, "We're going to play the freshmen."

Buoyed by senior running back Kendall Hunter, the Big 12's leading rusher in 2008 who racked up 208 yards rushing in the first half alone, his team was leading 38-10.

It's not like he had much to lose.

Radio color commentator and former WSU coach Jim Walden wasn't as thrilled about the Cougars' reliance on freshmen, though.

"I think we've got too many doggone young kids out there," he said of the defense, which only started four seniors.

Wulff agreed, but was a little more specific.

"We played like a team that's not very mature at times," he said. "We were inconsistent throwing the football.

"We've got to get better. We need those guys to continue to grow."

WULFF ADDED THAT his team's opening drive didn't inspire much confidence. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Tuel handed the ball off to Montgomery, a senior, but failed to make the connection. Oklahoma State defensive end Ugo Chinasa pounced on the ball and the Cowboys were in business at the WSU 15-yard line.

It took just two carries by Hunter to put the Cowboys on the board -- and the Cougars in a hole out of which they never climbed.

"They almost played like they didn't want to make mistakes," Wulff said of his team.

Then again, some of the players almost didn't play at all.

Walden said the team bus carrying the quarterbacks and wide receivers never made it to Boone Pickens Stadium. The Cougars had to leave the broken-down vehicle on the side of the road and bring the players aboard another bus to get to the game on time.

"I think this football team is going to grow a lot," Wulff said. "We're a lot better than the score."

  • Two new wide receivers were among WSU's most productive players. Freshman Marquess Wilson finished with 108 yards on four receptions, while junior-college transfer Isiah Barton added 69 yards on four catches.

    "It felt pretty good," Wilson said. "Once I got the hang of everything … it was easy."

  • Staden, who missed the entire 2009 season because of a knee injury, had 40 yards on three carries. Montgomery, who was limited to three games last year with compartment syndrome in his left leg that nearly ended his career, also had 40 yards on 10 carries.

  • Junior Nico Grasu's 56-yard field goal in the second quarter was the sixth longest in program history. Jason Hanson, who is entering his 19th season with the Detroit Lions, still holds the record with a 62-yard kick in 1991 against UNLV.

  • Senior Reid Forrest averaged 43.8 yards on nine punts.

  • Sophomore safety Tyree Toomer, who redshirted in 2009 because of a torn pectoral muscle, finished with a team-high seven tackles.

  • After Oklahoma State's 26-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden threw his final touchdown pass, the Cowboy Sports Network reported that he may have injured his right thumb during the celebration following the play. After being examined by doctors, Weeden watched the fourth quarter from the sideline.

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