During the offseason, Mike Gundy’s mullet dominated the conversation in Stillwater. Now that the season is officially here for Oklahoma State though, it’s Mason Rudolph’s turn to steal the headlines.
The Cowboys quarterback was nearly perfect in dropping deep pass after deep pass over an exhausted Tulsa secondary on Thursday night and helped tenth-ranked OSU roll to a 59-24 win over their in-state rival in Stillwater. Rudolph didn’t play much in the second half and finished the night with nearly as many incompletions as touchdowns, posting a 20-of-24 stat line for a whopping 303 yards and three scores.
As expected, the high-powered offense relied a lot on what might be the best wide receiving corps in the country. James Washington led the way and showed no signs of pain despite playing with a hernia, catching six passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns (the longest of which checked in at 77 yards). LSU transfer Tyron Johnson had a pretty good debut in orange and white, scoring on a 44 yard touchdown pass from Rudolph.
Despite those pass-happy numbers, OSU was not one-dimensional. Tailback Justice Hill (132 yards, one touchdown) was one of three — count them, three — players with over 90 yards rushing on the night.
The story was not quite the same for the other high-powered offense on the field as head coach Philip Montgomery’s attack had a ton of trouble getting going despite high hopes coming into the season. All-name first-teamer Chad President made his first start at quarterback for the Hurricanes but finished with under 200 yards passing and will need to regroup if the team is to contend for the AAC title as many expect them to in 2017.
Either way, it wasn’t Tulsa’s night. Instead it was a showcase opener for Oklahoma State and their star signal-caller, who will only continue to hear the buzz build about making an early impression in the race for the Heisman Trophy and, possibly, the Big 12 title.