The Oklahoma State Cowboys started their 2023 campaign with a 27-13 win against Central Arkansas. In a game that made sure every Cowboy fan was on the edge of their seat, Mike Gundy and crew were able to prevent the FCS upset on their home field and start the season 1-0.
In the first game for both teams, early season mistakes were bound to happen. However, when you’re paying over $400,000 dollars to play them, fans might expect a more one-sided showing. Instead, Oklahoma State only outscored the the Bears 14-13 in the second half, leaving fans with some major questions as showdown in the desert looms. Here are three thoughts on the Cowboys win.
Mike Gundy has never been shy about trying new things. Like, why only have two quarterbacks fighting for the starting role when you could have three? Freshmen Garrett Rangel got the start for the Cowboys, throwing for 118 yards and a touchdown pass to pre-season All-Big 12 Wide Receiver Brennan Presley. Rangel also made some mistakes, like on the first drive when his pass was intercepted on fourth-and-three near the red zone. That was the only OSU turnover of the day.
Senior Alan Bowman saw time, throwing for 80 yards on 13 completions, which averages out to 3.3 yards per completion. When a running back is averaging three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust, fans cheer. When a quarterback does it…it doesn’t get the same result. Bowman looked like the odd man out of the rotation which leads us too…Sophomore walk on Gunnar Gundy
Gundy threw for 106 yards and lead the two scoring drives in the second half that put away Central Arkansas. The first, a 17-yard run from senior running back Elijah Collins. Collins finished the day with 41 yards and a score. The second was a two-yard run from Ollie Gordon. Gordon finished the day with 44 yards and a score. Of all the parts of the offense, running back is the one fans should be the most confident in.
While Gundy didn’t throw a touchdown, the offense looked the best when he was the one running it, which might make things a little awkward around Stillwater. When Shedeur Sanders is lighting up a team for 500 yards, nobody would second guess Deion for playing his son. When the Cowboys go into the fourth quarter leading by a touchdown against a FCS team that won five games in 2022, some fans are going to talk. Normally, a win will calm down a quarterback controversy, but Saturday might have just stoked the flames more.
Dance with the Devil
This leads us to next week’s game against Arizona State. The Sun Devils had their own problems, barley taking care of business at home against Southern Utah on Friday night winning 24-21 against the Thunderbirds. The difference is that ASU is starting freshman QB Jaden Rashada and are dealing with fallout from the recruiting violations and have a new head coach in Kenny Dillingham.
On paper, a game against a team with that much baggage should mean an win for Oklahoma State, but if the Cowboys show the same inconsistency on offense as they did in Week 1, this could be the writing on the wall for a tough season in Stillwater.