Saturday's season opener for OSU also marked the Cowboy debut for 12 players, five transfers and four true freshmen:
Redshirt freshmen — receiver Jhajuan Seales; defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah; offensive lineman Zac Veatch.
Transfers — punter/kickoff specialist Kip Smith; defensive tackle Ofa Hautau; offensive lineman Brandon Garrett; defensive end Sam Wren.
True freshmen — kicker Ben Grogan; receiver Marcell Ateman; defensive back Deric Robertson; defensive back Taylor Lewis.
ATEMAN'S IMPACT UNSUNG
After a strong preseason that created much buzz around his playmaking ability, Ateman got involved modestly as a receiver, recording one catch for six yards.
The true freshman's major contributions, however, flew under the radar, in the form of preventing two turnovers.
Ateman broke up a likely interception on a pass into traffic by Clint Chelf, stripping the ball from the hands of Mississippi State safety Jay Hughes. Later, Ateman pounced on a Jeremy Smith fumble at the OSU 37, preceding a 54-yard punt by Smith that flipped field position.
J.W. Walsh on leading the Big 12 in rushing: “I didn't know that. That's cool. The only title I want to have at the end of the season is Big 12 champs. I couldn't care less about the rest of that.”
OPPONENT WATCH: UTSA
Roadrunners coach Larry Coker is familiar to OSU fans as a former assistant and offensive coordinator with the Cowboys from 1983-89.
And Coker's UTSA staff offers more Oklahoma connections.
Assistant Eric Roark played in the secondary at OSU under Jimmy Johnson from 1979-82 and got his coaching start at Southeastern Oklahoma State in 1984. Defensive coordinator Neal Neathery is a native of Stillwater.
Beyond football, athletic director Lynn Hickey is a native of Welch, where she was a standout basketball player for her father, Kenneth Sooter. And UTSA men's basketball coach Brooks Thompson was a two-time All-Big Eight guard for the Cowboys during his career from 1992-94.