And in the transition, didn't miss a beat, at least not in a mismatched opener, an 84-0 romp past Savannah State at Boone Pickens Stadium. True freshman Wes Lunt, taking over for Brandon Weeden, kept OSU's offense humming, starting his career with 11 straight completions before exiting in the second quarter to make way for the backups. Lunt, an 18-year-old freshman from Rochester, Ill., had the Cowboys' no-huddle, spread attack running at the fast and efficient pace so familiar under Weeden, who was 28 as a senior last fall and is now considered an "old" rookie with the Cleveland Browns. Lunt led scoring drives on each of his four first-quarter possessions, throwing for 129 yards with his 11-for-11 passing performance. "I think, for the most part, he played pretty well and did what (the coaches) asked him to do," said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy. "He got the ball where it was supposed to be and distributed it." The running game was dominant as well, with Joseph Randle, Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland combining for 293 yards and eight touchdowns. The Cowboys, the reigning Big 12 champions, won its opener and ran its home winning streak to seven games after going unbeaten at Boone Pickens Stadium in 2011. In the process, they set a modern-era school record for points scored and posted the program's first shutout since 2001. The Tigers were playing up in class, making the jump from the FCS level, and it showed. Savannah State managed only eight first downs and 139 total yards, most of it coming against OSU deep reserves in the second half. "There were some proud moments and sometimes you have to take baby steps," said second-year Tigers coach Steve Davenport. "We will watch the film, but there were some things we saw that we were proud of. Our kids fought hard. We wanted to play until there were three zeroes on the clock." Tigers quarterback Antonio Bostick finished 12-of-25 passing for 81 yards and was intercepted twice. Alex Simmons led Tigers rushers with 36 yards on seven carries. After one quarter, the rout was already on, as the Cowboys had more points than Savannah State had yards: 35-15. "I have to think they're pretty good," Davenport said, "because if not, we are really bad. Obviously, they are a talented team." OSU scored on its first five possessions, with running backs Randle and Smith finishing each drive. Randle had scoring runs of 2 and 40, while Smith went in from the 6, 2 and 1. Roland - the Cowboys' third-team back - only continued the production and punishment, scoring two more touchdowns on the ground, pushing the score to the halftime lead of 49-0. "I knew coming in that I would get to play a lot and I just had to be ready," Roland said. "When they called my name, I took advantage of it." The Tigers, who finished 1-10 overall and last in the MEAC a year ago, took the game as part of a two-week opening grind for paydays that will fund the athletic program. Savannah State visits Florida State next Saturday. In the second year of a rebuild under Davenport, the Tigers scuffled offensively in the preseason and again against the Cowboys. Their 38 first-half plays netted just 52 yards and their only possession in OSU territory came following a turnover. Still, Davenport appreciated Gundy emptying his bench, subbing early and eventually using some 95 players in all, including many walk-ons. "Tremendously classy act by Coach Gundy and his staff," Davenport said. "This thing could have gotten even worse. It was obvious that they were a much better team than we were. I am graciously appreciative of the way he handled the game." NOTES: OSU wide receiver Tracy Moore did not play, sitting out a suspension for violation of team rules. Earlier in the week, Moore was cited on suspicion of providing alcohol to a minor, his third run-in with the law in six months. ... When Roland scored his second TD late in the first half, the Cowboys had tied a school record for rushing TDs in a game with seven. ... Savannah State received a $385,000 payout for the game in Stillwater.
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By The Sports Xchange September 2, 2012 1:10 AM