by: Nathan Thompson Updated:
The Oklahoma State football team held its annual spring game Saturday afternoon at Boone Pickens Stadium with the orange team defeating the black team 24-0.
“Overall it was a good day today,” head coach Mike Gundy said. “Some veteran guys got some work and some of the young guys got to play a little bit. We had a great crowd. It was awesome to have this many people here and now we’re looking forward to the next phase.”
Mason Rudolph guided the orange team through a dominant first half, as the Heisman candidate helped his squad jump out to a 14-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Rudolph's biggest play of the day came during the game's first series. On the third play of the opening drive, Rudolph delivered a 39-yard strike to redshirt freshman Tyrell Alexander on 3rd and 11 to keep the orange team's drive alive.
“I think Mason’s success over a three-year period and his numbers speak for themselves,” Gundy said of his starting quarterback. “He’s a tremendous leader.”
The Cowboys' field general continued to display his talent just two plays later when he connected with Chris Lacy for a 22-yard gain on a picture-perfect fade route that put the orange team down inside the one-yard line.
"Our offensive line was out there doing a great job blocking and Mason (Rudolph) made a lot of solid passes," Lacy said. "I was just trying to go out there and do what I do best, which is making big plays."
Junior running back Jeff Carr quickly capped off the drive by punching his way into the endzone from one yard out. Matt Ammendola's subsequent PAT attempt split the uprights, giving the orange team an early 7-0 lead.
Rudolph led the orange offense down the field once again on its next possession. He capped off the drive by stepping up in the pocket, evading a fierce pass rush and delivering a 12-yard touchdown pass to La'Darren Brown to put the orange team up 14-0. Rudolph completed 13 of his 17 passes on the day for 204 yards and the one touchdown.
“It was a fun, kind of short, day for me,” Rudolph said. “I felt like I had a good first half and led a few good drives while I was out there. I was able to get the ball to some new people. It makes my job a lot easier with the receivers that we have, but it’s on my shoulders to make sure I distribute the ball to all of them. Overall, it was a good day and everyone stayed healthy, which is all you can ask for.”
The orange team capped off a dominant first half with a six-play, 63-yard drive that ended when Taylor Cornelius found a streaking Obi Obialo in the endzone for a 22-yard score. Obialo's touchdown pushed the orange lead out to 21-0 with just over five minutes left in the half.
Bryce Brown quickly gave the orange team another chance to pad its lead just moments later, as the sophomore cornerback picked off a pass near midfield on the black team's first play from scrimmage after Obialo's touchdown. The orange team wasn't able to capitalize on its short field, however, and took the 21-0 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the orange team continued to look dominant during its first possession, but Bryce Balous snagged a pass out of the air while inside his own five-yard line to flip the momentum in favor of the black team.
The black offense couldn't break through though, and were again forced to punt the ball back to the orange squad.
Cole Walterscheid and Taaj Bakari were among the standouts defensively for the orange team, as they teamed up to sack Keondre Wudtee in the third quarter. Walterscheid was the only Cowboy to record multiple tackles for loss on Saturday.
Trey Carter was also a bright spot on the black team's defense, as the 6-3 junior picked up a sack of his own during the contest.
The orange team tacked onto its impressive lead one final time in the fourth quarter when Matt Ammendola drilled a 30-yard field goal to make it 24-0. Jerel Morrow then sealed the orange's shutout victory by recording the third interception of the game.
“There’s a lot of excitement and energy with the guys,” Gundy said. “We have a number of returning players that are experienced and can make plays. It seems like we also have really good leadership. Last year, I mentioned that I was concerned we hadn’t created an identity four our team until about the third or fourth game of the year. I think that we’ve somewhat created our identity now for this year’s team.”
Saturday's final whistle marked the end of spring football for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State will kick off its 2017 season on Sept. 2 when it hosts Tulsa at Boone Pickens Stadium.
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