Isaiah Anderson was Wes Lunt's favorite target in Oklahoma State's season-opener against Savannah State, hauling in four catches for 63 yards in the first quarter. Then he caught four balls for 42 yards against Arizona.
But in the Cowboys' past two games, Anderson has zero catches. At times, Anderson has played sparingly, primarily stepping on the field to block on running plays.
Anderson isn't concerned about the lack of balls thrown his way, however.
“Whatever they need me to do, downfield blocking or just getting the team excited to play out there,” Anderson said with a smile. “I'm a senior, so that's my job. I'm not gonna complain about not getting balls or anything like that. It's team first, me second, and as long as I keep that mentality, I'm good.”
But Anderson isn't the only OSU outside receiver who has seen his production dip considerably since Lunt injured his knee against Louisiana-Lafayette and J.W. Walsh stepped in at quarterback.
Against ULL and Texas, the outside receivers combined for 13 catches for 216 yards and no touchdowns, compared to 24 catches for 397 yards and five scores for inside receivers. But even those numbers are skewed, as Tracy Moore, who is technically an outside receiver, recorded all six of his catches for 93 yards against the Longhorns in the second half, when the Cowboys began moving him to the inside to get him more touches.
SPRING KEY FOR CENTER, QUARTERBACK CHEMISTRY
Much has been made about the Cowboys' starting quarterback switch, with a left knee injury to starter Lunt throwing Walsh into first-team duties for almost all of the past two games.
But the guy getting the quarterback the football has changed, too.
So far this season, Lunt and Walsh have both worked with starting center Evan Epstein and backup Jake Jenkins. Lunt and Epstein both started the first two games, before Epstein went down with an ankle injury late in the Arizona contest. Against Louisiana-Lafayette, the center-quarterback combo went from Jenkins-to-Lunt to Jenkins-to-Walsh after Lunt's injury. Then, against Texas, it was Epstein-to-Walsh when Epstein returned from injury and Walsh got his first collegiate start.
Despite the rotating quarterbacks and centers over the past two games, there haven't been any snap issues. Epstein and Walsh both credit that to spring practice, when OSU's three-man quarterback competition between Lunt, Walsh and Clint Chelf allowed all the signal-callers to work with all the centers.
“I've snapped to all those guys hundreds of times,” Epstein said. “From my point of view, there's no difference. I've said it 100 times — you could put anyone back there, and I would be able to snap it to them and just do the job that I have to do.”
OPPONENT WATCH: KU STARTING RUNNING BACK TONY PIERSON EXPECTS TO PLAY
Kansas starting running back Tony Pierson, who left the Jayhawks' loss to Kansas State last week with a left elbow injury, said he's 90-95 percent healthy and expects to play against OSU.
“Everything's good,” Pierson told the Lawrence Journal-World. “I'm planning on playing.”
Pierson wore a brace on his elbow during Wednesday's practice, according to the newspaper, but said it was mostly for precautionary reasons.
2013 SEASON OPENER AGAINST MISSISSIPPI STATE IN HOUSTON FINALIZED
OSU will officially open its 2013 season against Mississippi State on Aug. 31 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, both schools announced Thursday.
The game is part of ESPN's Texas Kick Off Classic.
“We're excited to open the season in Houston,” OSU athletic director Mike Holder said in a release. “We have a growing number of Texans attending Oklahoma State and a large alumni base in the area. We will be playing a high-profile season opener in a great stadium. I think our fans will be eager for this matchup all summer.”
The matchup, which completes OSU's 2013 nonconference schedule, will put the Cowboys on national television against an SEC opponent that is currently ranked 19th in the Associated Press poll. But it also leaves OSU with just one home nonconference game in 2013, as the Cowboys are currently scheduled to play at Texas-San Antonio and at home against Lamar.
This game will be OSU's second time playing in Reliant Stadium (2002 Houston Bowl win over Southern Miss) and first time playing in Houston since its 2006 contest against the University of Houston.
OSU and MSU have played four times, most recently a 29-11 Bulldog victory in Starkville in 1999.