Freshman QB Wes Lunt throws 11 passes for 129 yards in brief debut against over-matched Savannah State.
By ANDREW GILMAN FS Southwest
STILLWATER – Saturday was supposed to be when we found out how good new Oklahoma State quarterback
Wes Lunt is.
Weird. Instead it turned into more about how bad Savannah State is.
Wish Lunt would have played more. Maybe then we could have formed a more-educated opinion of what kind of player he is. But he spent more time wearing a baseball cap than a football helmet.
Sure, Lunt looked good, but it was just a glimpse. That's what happens when you schedule a game that was close right up until kickoff.
Lunt led OSU on scoring drives of 1:30, 0:15 and 1:06 in the first quarter. It was 21-0 with less than 8 minutes gone by and Lunt was done for the night.
It was 35-0 after the first quarter, 49-0 at half and an 84-0 final in front of 55,784 fans at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Lunt was efficient, but not prolific, completing all 11 of his passes for 129 yards in a performance which he played about as much as an NFL starter in the preseason.
Lunt played all of 9 minutes Saturday against a Savannah State team that provided less opposition than the 127-degree heat on the field at kickoff. That's what happens when your team runs for a school record nine touchdowns and makes a first appearance seem like a walk-through. And thanks to that run game, there was no pressure or real worry for Lunt.
I thought our guys ran the ball well," coach Mike Gundy said of the 395 yards the Cowboys ran for. "The competition is not what we're accustomed to. We should have run the ball well."
It was the most points Oklahoma State has scored since 1916 when it scored 117 against a Southwestern (Okla.) State that probably could have stayed close to this Savannah State team.
Try to forget about the points, if possible. Think about Lunt, instead. His appearance was brief, but clearly Gundy saw enough to think Lunt is ready for what will certainly be a bigger, bolder test next week at Arizona.
"We have a lot of confidence in him running our offense," Gundy said. And that was about it. Not a lot of info from Gundy. Not a lot to go on, either.
So, one game in, the Oklahoma State quarterback transition from Old Man Winner to New Kid on the Block has been smooth. A season ago,
Brandon Weeden, age 28, led the Cowboys to a record-setting season, a 12-1 record, a Big 12 title and a BCS Bowl victory. This year, Lunt has set some records, too.
He is the first Cowboy freshman to start at quarterback since at least 1950 and the first freshman to start at quarterback since 1993. He also became the first quarterback in school history to complete every pass he attempted.
But safe to say no one had a debut like this – perfection, albeit against maybe the worst team ever to play in the state of Oklahoma.
Savannah State came in fresh off of a 1-10 season. The
Tigers brought just five seniors and 42 freshman to Oklahoma State. And to make matters worse, it was the first game in school history against a FBS school.
So, while the home fans greeted Lunt with cheers before he even took his first snap, did they really get enough of a look to determine whether he's ready for making the trip to Tucson, Ariz., next week to play the Wildcats?
No idea. Not from Lunt, at least. First-year players are not made available for interviews at Oklahoma State, so getting in Lunt's head wasn't going to happen.
"I listened to what was being said on the headsets," Gundy said. "For the most part, he played pretty well on what they asked him to do and distributed it where it was supposed to be. I think it's important and we all realize that it's going to change in the next week. It's hard to say where we're at as a football team. A month from now we'll have a much better feel for who we are and where we're at."
Hard to tell much of anything against Savannah State. It was so bad, Gundy even refused comment on anything to do with the Tigers. Wouldn't talk about the score. Wouldn't talk about the scheduling.
"I'm just glad the kids went out and played hard," he said. "It's not fair for me to comment on them. The game was scheduled and we played it."
Sort of. By the time Lunt got loose, he was gone, as were a good number of the starters.
"In every game, when you're in that situation, sometimes coaches want to leave guys in to get them experience," Gundy said. "We've not ever done that here. We've taken them out and let other guys play."
But clearly this situation is different. Never before has OSU started a freshman quarterback in what amounted to a glorified scrimmage the week before a monstrous road game. Lunt certainly could have been afforded some wiggle room if he played longer. Overall, 95 players got in against the Tigers.
Said Savannah State coach Steve Davenport: "I am graciously appreciative of the way he (Gundy) handled this game."
Now we'll see if it was good enough heading into week two.
We do know this: Lunt will play more in Arizona than he did Saturday in Stillwater. For that matter, he'll get more snaps in practice, against a better defense than he faced Saturday, too.
Will it be enough?
"He's very mature for an 18-year old," OSU receiver Isaiah Anderson said. "And we're excited to have him as our quarterback."