STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Mason Rudolph launched his Heisman campaign with a nearly flawless performance.
The senior quarterback passed for 303 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score to help 10th-ranked Oklahoma State beat Tulsa 59-24 on Thursday night. He was 20 of 24 with no interceptions.
“We knew we had a good game plan going in,” Rudolph said. “They brought a lot of pressure, and I think we combated it well.”
Rudolph joined Brandon Weeden as the only Cowboys quarterbacks to surpass 9,000 yards in career passing.
Preseason AP All-American James Washington caught six passes for 145 yards, including touchdown receptions of 77 and 40 yards.
Justice Hill ran for 132 yards and a touchdown, J.D. King had 95 yards and a score and LD Brown added 92 and a touchdown for the Cowboys, who are in the preseason Top 10 for the third time in school history.
“We have a long ways to go, but we had a good start,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said.
Oklahoma State led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and 38-17 at halftime. The Cowboys gained 640 total yards.
“Scoring early, scoring often is something we haven’t done in the past,” Rudolph said. “We would kind of sputter in the first quarter. I was happy with the way we jumped on them quick, I don’t think it could have started any better.”
Tulsa’s Chad President got the start over Luke Skipper and passed for 178 yards and ran for 69. Corey Taylor II ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns. D’Angelo Brewer, who ran for more than 1,400 yards last season, finished with 33 yards on 22 carries.
Tulsa gained 432 total yards, but much of that damage came in the second half and didn’t lead to points.
“I’m proud of our guys continuing to fight and grind,” Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. “You know, we’re young, but that’s not an excuse. We’ve got to step up and be ready to play. We’ll go back and look at this tape and get an opportunity to correct those mistakes.”
TULSA: The Golden Hurricane are down several notches from the squad that went 10-3 last season and beat Central Michigan 55-10 in the Miami Beach Bowl. Neither quarterback is ready to replace Dane Evans, but President showed good pocket presence and created problems with his speed.
The Cowboys, wary of home upsets after last year’s stunning loss to Central Michigan, were never in danger in this one. Oklahoma State rushed for 332 yards on 37 carries to balance its dynamic passing attack.
The Cowboys did nothing to hurt their standing. They were a solid favorite, and they handled business against an overmatched opponent.
Early in the second quarter, Oklahoma State’s Jalen McCleskey fielded a punt inside the Cowboys’ 10-yard line. Rob Riederer forced him to fumble, and Adam Higuera recovered in the end zone for Tulsa’s first touchdown.
“McCleskey knows better than that,” Gundy said. “His ball security was absolutely terrible, and that’s something that we’ll continue to work on.”
Rudolph made one mistake, and it was costly. Tulsa’s Kolton Shindelar hit him and he fumbled at the 50-yard line. Petera Wilson, Jr., recovered and ran it back 26 yards. Tulsa got a field goal out of it.
“He has to stay in his world,” Gundy said. “That’s not in his world. Just play in your world and throw the ball away. We have three more downs with seven good receivers.”
In the third quarter, President fumbled and Oklahoma State’s Kenneth Edison-McGruder ran it back 82 yards for a touchdown. It was the fourth-longest fumble return in school history.
Washington surpassed 3,000 career yards receiving. He now has 3,068 and remains in fourth place on the school list behind Rashaun Woods, Justin Blackmon and Hart Lee Dykes.
TULSA: The Golden Hurricane host Louisiana on Sept. 9.
OKLAHOMA ST: The Cowboys play at South Alabama on Sept. 8. Oklahoma State will play its first Saturday game in Week 3 at Pittsburgh.
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