HOUSTON – Oklahoma State University has won a lot of football games in recent years. Few like their victory Saturday at Reliant Stadium.
With a running quarterback and a stiff defense, the 13th-ranked Cowboys opened the 2013 season by beating Mississippi State University 21-3.
The 15,000 or so OSU fans decked out in orange must have been wondering what this new sport was.
Last year alone, the Cowboys played games of 59-38, 65-24, 41-36, 44-30, 55-34, 59-21, 51-48, 41-34 and 58-14.
But Saturday, OSU beat a Southeastern Conference foe with an SEC-like performance. Dominant defense and a commanding run game.
Quarterback J.W. Walsh relieved starter Clint Chelf after two series and played the rest of the way. Walsh ran for 125 yards — his 46-yard scamper in the second quarter broke the shackles of an anemic Cowboy offense and set up Walsh's go-ahead touchdown.
“When J.W. came in, he kind of gave us a spark,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy. “So we just continued to move forward from that point.”
After the game, Gundy declared Walsh the starter for Game 2, Saturday at the University of Texas-San Antonio.
Meanwhile, OSU's defense shook off a shaky start. Mississippi State kicked a field goal on its first possession but was shut out the rest of the game. Justin Gilbert's interception ended the Bulldogs' second drive, in OSU territory, and Mississippi State had just 185 total yards in the final three quarters.
“It's nice to be able to not feel like you're so stressed to score every time, that your defense is having success,” Gundy said.
“I told them after the game today, it's awesome, but that's one game. You have to maintain through a stretch here. You've got to do it in October. You've got to do it in November and next week. But obviously, they're off to a good start.”