HOUSTON -- With sophomore quarterback J.W. Walsh providing a spark to the running game off the bench, Oklahoma State ran roughshod over Mississippi State, claiming the inaugural Advocare Texas Kickoff with a 21-3 victory on Saturday at Reliant Stadium.
Walsh entered on the third offensive series for the 13th-ranked Cowboys (1-0) and his 46-yard run on the read option late in the second quarter provided the decisive spark in the Cowboys' six-play, 69-yard scoring drive. Walsh capped the possession with a 3-yard touchdown run and finished with a game-high 125 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Oklahoma State, which averaged 215.3 rushing yards last season, amassed 286 yards on the ground against the Bulldogs (0-1). The tailback combination of Jeremy Smith and Desmond Rolland rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns, enabling the Cowboys to overcome an inconsistent aerial attack. Oklahoma State passed for just 146 yards.
While Oklahoma State sputtered early on offense, the Bulldogs roared out of the gate. However, while their eight first-quarter first downs helped yield 148 yards, all Mississippi State could manage on the scoreboard was a 40-yard field goal from Devon Bell with 6:22 left in the quarter. Bell missed a 32-yard field goal attempt with 8:50 left in the game.
Mississippi State totaled just 54 yards and two first downs in the ensuing two quarters, losing senior quarterback Tyler Russell to an undisclosed injury with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter.
The Cowboys were especially stout on run defense, limiting the Bulldogs to 3.0 yards per carry. Senior running back LaDarius Perkins, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, mustered only 50 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Sophomore Dak Prescott replaced Russell and passed for 89 yards with an interception.
Renowned for their no-huddle offense, the Cowboys relied on their ground game to provide balance on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that opened the second half. Smith capped that march with a 1-yard plunge with 10:41 left and, 37 seconds into the fourth quarter, added his second touchdown, a 31-yard dash off left end and down the Cowboys' sideline.
NOTES: Bulldogs QB Tyler Russell passed for 133 yards and moved into fifth place on the Mississippi State career list before exiting with an undisclosed injury in the third quarter. Russell entered the season with 4,566 yards and trailed John Bond (1980-83) by 55 yards. He matched Bond on the opening drive of the game. ... The Cowboys moved to 9-1 in their last 10 games against SEC opponents. ... The Bulldogs have dropped 12 consecutive games against ranked opponents under fifth-year coach Dan Mullen. They had won four consecutive season openers, last winning at least five openers in succession from 1994 to 2001.