It’s hard to judge a quarterback’s progress when he goes down with a knee injury on his first series. Wes Lunt was 3-4 for 23 yards before being helped off the field with what is assumed to be a dislocated knee cap. But it wouldn’t have mattered who was under center for this blowout at Boone Pickens Stadium. J.W. Walsh was solid against an underwhelming Louisiana defense (21-30, 347 yards, four touchdowns), especially when he kept the ball himself charged downfield. It was impressive. But it was also against Louisiana. There’s no QB controversy in Stillwater, Lunt is going to be the guy when he’s healthy. A solid performance by the QBs, but the injury makes this unit fall in week three.
GROUND GAME: (+1)
Another dominating performance by the stable of running backs at OSU – (Joseph Randle: 21 carries, 105 yards, two touchdowns. Jeremy Smith: 12 carries for 59 yards. Desmond Roland: 13 carries, 56 yards, one touchdown ). But the most important number? Zero. That’s how many fumbles the Cowboys gave up on Saturday. The added run game provided by Walsh (6 carries, 73 yards, one touchdown) also helped this unit’s stock. With future QB issues almost a certainty, the Cowboys will need more of the same when they face Texas in two weeks.
AIR GAME: (+1)
With a backup quarterback under center, the OSU wide receiver corps shined against the Cajuns’ secondary – with no ugly drops. With Walsh at QB, the Cowboys hit a ton of quick slants. That lead to wide receiver Josh Stewart eating up yardage (Nine catches, 104 yards and two touchdowns). Tight end Blake Jackson also hit big on consecutive Walsh passes for a touchdown in the second quarter. Eight different Cowboys’ caught passes on Saturday. An impressive performance against sub-par talent on defense. Let’s see what they can do against Texas. For now, they’re on the rise.
FRONT SEVEN: (Even)
The bad thing about the OSU defensive line on Saturday was also the good thing – they never really stood out as a major factor in the game. That means there weren’t any bone-headed personal foul penalties like last week at Arizona. But the unit was unable to pressure the quarterback like they did against the Wildcats. Safety Daytawion Lowe recorded the Cowboys’ lone sack. That keeps the front seven even this week.
This was a little more difficult. Yes, OSU had nowhere to go up after the debacle in Arizona, and they did play well. The Cajun’s only touchdown pass with all starters in the game was on a 73-yard catch-and-run from wide receiver Darryl Surgent. But he got his chance because OSU cornerback Devin Hedgepeth went down with an undisclosed leg injury. Hedgepeth just finished rehabbing a torn Achilles Tendon, rumors are he tore that tendon again. That’s a big hit the Cowboys’ secondary that is already low on depth. But still, the defensive backs were impressive on Saturday.
SPECIAL TEAMS: (Even)
Not much to say on this front. Like last week, no big returns, Quinn Sharp was solid (3-3 on field goals) and the coverage team didn’t give up any big returns. We’ll check back in when kick returner Justin Gilbert finds the end zone.
The Cowboys needed this win – but they got it in close to a worse-case scenario. OSU won’t release details on injuries to Lunt or Hedgepeth until the Friday before its next game, but it’s likely both could miss the Cowboys’ Big 12 opener against Texas in two weeks. The bye-week couldn’t have come at a better time. But considering what happened in Tucson last week, the Cowboys are on the rise. Even if Lunt is unable to go, head coach Mike Gundy has a legitimate confidence with Walsh at quarterback.