STILLWATER, Okla. – J.W. Walsh came off the bench to throw for 347 yards and four touchdowns and he rushed for a fifth score as Oklahoma State handed Louisiana (2-1) its first loss of the season, a 65-24 defeat before a crowd of 56,062 on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium.
Walsh was thrust into the game midway through the first quarter and the game tied when starter Wes Lunt went down with an apparent ankle injury. Walsh, a redshirt freshman, guided the Cowboys to points on all eight series in the opening two stanzas as Oklahoma State built a 44-0 halftime lead. For the game, he was 21-of-30 and rushed six times for 73 yards.
OSU (2-1) improves to 9-0 all-time against the Ragin' Cajuns, including wins in each of the last three years.
“I am disappointed because we did not play the way that we are capable of,” head coach Mark Hudspeth said. “We didn't execute, we didn't stop the run and we didn't move the ball effectively, especially in the first half. It was a total team defeat.
“We came into the game knowing that Oklahoma State was not happy with the way they played last week at Arizona and that they were going to be ready to play. We need to take this game and use it the way OSU used Arizona and get out in practice the next two weeks and get ready to put our foot on the gas for the last nine games.
“We didn't give our defense a fighting chance today. Our offense was three-and-out on each of its first three possessions and that kept the defense on the field,” Hudspeth added.
The Cowboys scored first, taking the opening kickoff and driving 33 yards in nine plays, culminating in a 51-yard field goal by Quinn Sharp with 12:40 left. The drive was costly however as Lunt went down when he was hit by Melvin White and Justin Anderson hit him as he threw. Walsh came in and UL was able to hold on third down to force the kick.
The Cowboys scored touchdowns on their next five possessions to take a 38-0 lead with 6:57 left in the half. The run started with a 52-yard pass from Walsh to Kye Staley with 9:14 left in the first quarter.
“Walsh did a great job today,” Hudspeth said. “It was a lot like last week at Troy when Terrance (Broadway) ad to come in for Blaine (Gautier). Walsh was ready and even though he is a freshman, he ran the offense like a pro. He had a great game.”
Joseph Randle, who rushed 21 times for 105 yards, scored on runs from eight and two yards before Walsh closed the TD run by throwing a 20-yard score to Blake Jackson (11:11) and a 33-yard TD to Josh Stewart (6:57), to make it 38-0.
The Cajuns best opportunity to score in the first half came midway through the second quarter. Terrance Broadway replaced Gautier at quarterback and led UL nine-play, 48-yard drive. The Cajuns couldn't take advantage of the opportunity as Brett Baer's field goal from 45 yards was just wide left with 7:59.
The miss snapped Baer's Sun Belt Conference record streak of 18 straight field goals going back to last season, including his first seven this season.
Sharp closed the half by connecting on field goals from 25 and 44 yards, the last coming as time expired, to put the Cowboys ahead, 44-0 at the break.
Gautier returned to play in the second half and immediately got the Cajuns on the scoreboard when he connected with Darryl Surgent on a 73-yard touchdown to make it a 44-7 game. Surgent had broken away when OSU defender Devon Hedgepeth bit on a fake and fell down.
For Surgent, it was the longest catch of his career, topping the 65-yard grab he made last year vs. North Texas.
The Cowboys came right back with Sharp capping of a 10-play, 81-yard drive by running it in from four yards out to make it a 51-7 contest.
UL scored on its next possession, a 41-yard field goal by Baer that capped a 51-yard drive and made the score 51-10. It was Baer's eighth field goal in nine tries this season (.889). He is now 33-for-36 in his career (.917) and he remains ahead of the NCAA record for career field goal percentage (43-49, .878 by Florida State's Bobby Raymond).
Walsh added his fourth touchdown of the game, a 17-yard pass to Stewart, to put the Cowboys ahead 58-10 after three quarters.
Freshman Marcus Jackson opened the scoring in the fourth quarter when he battled his way into the end zone from one-yard to make it a 58-17 contest. The touchdown came on the first career carry for Jackson.
OSU added a three-yard TD run by Desmond Roland to make it a 65-17 game with 8:58 left in the game before Gautier closed out the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run with 4:08 left in the game.
Gautier completed 16-of-31 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown. He has not been intercepted in 55 pass attempts this year.
After catching just six passes in the first two games, Javone Lawson made eight catches for 92 yards in the game. Harry Peoples added six grabs for 69 yards while Surgent's two receptions totaled 83 yards. Josh Stewart led OSU with nine catches for 104 yards and a pair of scores while Blake Jackson made five grabs for a game-high 112 yards and TD.
After being outgained 450-104 in the first half, the Cajuns battled hard in the final two quarters to gain 272 yards of total offense but OSU still held a 742-376 edge in total offense.
The Cajuns will have next weekend off, the only true bye week of the 2012 season, before returning to Sun Belt Conference play by hosting FIU on Saturday, Sept. 25 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Cajun Field.
LAGNIAPPE: Captains for the game were Javone Lawson, Blaine Gautier, Melvin White and Jemarlous Moten. . . the Cajuns elected to go with the white uniform tops with black pants and the red helmet. . . Jemarlous Moten intercepted a Clint Chelf pass late in the third quarter, the fourth interception of his career and his second at Oklahoma State. . . the reigning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Week forced a fumble and returned it 56 yards for a score last week at Troy. . . Baer was a busy man, punting seven times for a 43.3 yard average. . . Hunter Stover took over the kickoff chores in the second half, averaging 62.8 yards on four kicks. . . Effrem Reed led the UL ground game with 45 yards on seven carrries.