STILLWATER — It was as ugly as advertised.
But as efficient as Oklahoma State could have hoped against a clearly inferior team.
As expected, the No. 19 Cowboys throttled Savannah State 84-0 in their season opener Saturday, setting modern-day school records for points scored in a game and largest margin of victory.
“At times, I saw our (defensive) guys running across the field fast,” coach Mike Gundy said. “I hope that holds true throughout the season. We were able to function on offense at a quick pace (with) the new quarterback (Wes Lunt), so I was pleased with that early in the game.”
What matters, though, is how those scores piled on.
The Cowboys (1-0) put together 10 touchdown drives that each lasted fewer than two minutes. They amassed nine rushing touchdowns, a school record, and compiled 395 yards on 42 carries. It held SSU (0-1) to 139 yards of total offense.
And in true freshman starting quarterback Wes Lunt's debut, he was perfect, connecting on all 11 passes for 129 yards in just four drives. It was the first time in OSU history that a quarterback completed 100 percent of his passes with a minimum of 10 attempts.
“I don't know what else you really can take from it,” offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. “Other than you were trying to function as best as you can, not turn guys loose and control what you can control. Really, that's all you can do.”
The first quarter is really all that can be evaluated in this game. But it's when the Cowboys were most effective, even without top returning wide receiver Tracy Moore, who was suspended for violating team rules. Moore received a citation last week for supplying alcohol to a minor, his third brush with the law in six months.
OSU scored 35 points to tie a school record on five drives that lasted 1:30 or less. Every series Lunt played, a Cowboy running back found the end zone. OSU had one penalty for five yards in that period and held SSU to 15 yards of total offense.
How about this stat to sum it up? Jeremy Smith carried the ball five times and scored three touchdowns.
“We made it a point that we were going to try to tempo this game, and we kind of knew what to expect,” center Evan Epstein said. “It's always kind of a rush, but you kind of got to step back and make sure you do your assignments right, because above all else, that's most important.”
The night was not perfect, of course.
On three consecutive possessions in the second quarter, backup quarterback J.W. Walsh threw an interception, Austin Hays fumbled after a catch and Quinn Sharp missed a 46-yard field goal.
But by then, second- and third-team players were already on the field. And Walsh went on to direct five more touchdown drives, including OSU's first two passing scores of the season, after permanently replacing Lunt before third-team quarterback Clint Chelf came into the game late in the third quarter.
The final result was nothing surprising. The question coming out of this game, though, is was it a sufficient enough dress rehearsal before the Cowboys travel to Arizona for their first road contest on Sept. 8?
“A game's different, no matter how you cut it,” Epstein said. “You could scrimmage a 1,000-play scrimmage if you want, it's never going to be the same as a game and it gives a lot of guys real good experience.”
Added Monken: “The reality is, we needed a lot of guys to play football and get out there and play in front of people, no matter who the opponent was.”