Cornelius throws 5 TDs in 1st start; Oklahoma St. rolls
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Taylor Cornelius passed for 295 yards and five touchdowns in his first career start to help Oklahoma State defeat Missouri State 58-17 on Thursday night.
Cornelius had been Mason Rudolph’s backup for most of his career, but Rudolph now is with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cornelius, a fifth-year senior, seized his opportunity by completing 24 of 34 passes and rushing for 27 yards in the season opener for both teams.
He left some opportunities on the field, though. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Cornelius missed about six passes that he normally completes and said he was aiming instead of throwing.
“He was more tentative instead of cutting it loose,” Gundy said. “He needs to cut it loose. You make a mistake, you make a mistake.”
Gundy said he expected some rough moments from Cornelius because he was new to the stage.
“I told you guys everybody is going to have to be patient with Taylor,” he said. “I knew there would be times he would miss some throws. This happened with Mason.”
Jalen McCleskey caught two touchdown passes and ran for another score, Justice Hill ran for 122 yards and a touchdown and LD Brown added 115 yards and a score for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys gained 732 yards, the third-highest total in school history.
Oklahoma State led 17-0 at the end of the first quarter and outgained the Bears 280 yards to 9 in the period. Hill scored on a 3-yard touchdown run on Oklahoma State’s opening possession. Later in the first quarter, he took off for a 93-yard run before being stopped at the Missouri State 2-yard line. It was the fourth-longest run in Oklahoma State history, and it pushed him into 10th place on Oklahoma State’s career rushing list.
Peyton Huslig passed for 150 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 109 yards for Missouri State.
The Bears struggled from the start, and things got worse when linebacker Angelo Garbutt was ejected late in the first quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Missouri State: The Bears weren’t expected to be competitive in this game — they were coming off a 3-8 season and were picked to finish ninth in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, a 10-team Football Championship Subdivision league. They were overwhelmed early but improved after the first quarter.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys simply overpowered the Bears. They ran on 55 of their 92 plays, and most of their passes were short, high-percentage throws. It’s still unclear if Oklahoma State can throw the ball deep down the field effectively.
Missouri State: The Bears host Lincoln University (Mo.) on Thursday.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys host South Alabama on Saturday.
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