Oklahoma State storms past Washington State 65-17By MURRAY EVANS, Associated Press Writer Sep 5, 12:18 am EDT
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP)—Kendall Hunter rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns out of Oklahoma State’s new-look offense and the Cowboys beat Washington State 65-17 on Saturday night.
Oklahoma State (1-0) hired offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen away from Houston during the off-season and Hunter thrived in Holgorsen’s system, scoring on runs of 3, 9, 2 and 39 yards.
Brandon Weeden threw three touchdown passes for the Cowboys, all to Justin Blackmon and Blackmon also scored on a 7-yard blocked punt return. The Cowboys have won 15 straight home openers, the longest streak in school history.
Oklahoma State’s point total was its highest since a 66-24 win over Baylor on Nov. 11, 2006.
Jeff Tuel completed 14 of 29 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown for Washington State (0-1).
Washington State went 3-22 the past two seasons and things began badly for the Cougars on Saturday as James Montgomery—making a return from a career-threatening leg injury he suffered last season—fumbled on the game’s first play and Oklahoma State’s Ugo Chinasa recovered at the Cougars’ 20.
Two plays later, Hunter scored and Washington State never recovered.
Hunter was a third-team All-America pick after rushing for 1,555 yards as a sophomore, but an ankle injury limited him to eight games, two starts and 382 yards as a junior. By halftime against Washington State, he had rushed for 208 yards, the first time an Oklahoma State back had passed the 200-yard mark in a half since Barry Sanders had 217 yards against Kansas during his Heisman Trophy season in 1988.
Among Oklahoma State running backs, only Sanders has rushed for more touchdowns in a game than Hunter did Saturday. Sanders had five rushing touchdowns three times in 1988, against Tulsa, Kansas and Wyoming. Hunter’s 257 yards ranked 12th on Oklahoma State’s single-game list. Sanders has five of the Cowboys’ top six rushing efforts.
Hunter also moved into eighth place on Oklahoma State’s career rushing list.
Hunter’s stellar outing eased the pressure on Weeden, a 26-year-old junior making his first start since the fall of 2001 as a high school senior. The former New York Yankees minor-league pitcher finished 22 of 30 for 218 yards before also exiting in the third quarter. His favorite target was Blackmon, who caught eight passes for 125 yards.
In the first quarter, Hunter rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns as the Cowboys jumped to a 17-0 lead.
A 56-yard field goal by Nico Grasu—the sixth-longest in Washington State history—and a 48-yard touchdown pass from Tuel to Marquess Wilson pulled the Cougars within 17-10. But Oklahoma State quickly answered, with Weeden hitting Blackmon for a 42-yard touchdown.
Hunter’s 66-yard run to the 1 set up a short scoring pass from Weeden to Blackmon and Hunter scored his third touchdown on the final play of the half to make it 38-10. He added a 39-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter before leaving the game after 21 carries. Blackmon scored again on a 24-yard catch on Oklahoma State’s next series, making it 51-10 and giving the Cowboys touchdowns on five straight possessions.
Chantz Staden rushed for 40 yards, Montgomery added 32 yards on 10 carries and Wilson had four catches for 108 yards for Washington State, which was picked in the preseason to finish last in the Pacific-10 Conference. The loss was the Cougars’ worst in a season opener since 1967, when they lost 49-0 to Southern California.
Oklahoma State now has won 19 of its last 20 games at Boone Pickens Stadium against nonconference opponents. The Cowboys are 5-0 all-time when opening the season against a Pac-10 team, with all of those wins since 1984.