Lunt To Face His First Real Test In Tucson
STILLWATER, Oklahoma - Wes Lunt's Oklahoma State debut has come and gone and he still has yet to throw an incomplete pass.
How is it that an 18-year-old freshman can set a school record by completing 100 percent of his passes in his first college start and nobody really knows what to think of him yet?
The answer: Savannah State happened.
The Tigers were so inept that the highly-anticipated unveiling of the Rochester, Ill., native lasted just four offensive series before the Cowboys called the dogs off en route to a surprisingly humane 84-0 shellacking.
But for Lunt and the Cowboys, the questions still remain – at least outside of the locker room.
Lunt finished 11-for-11 passing for 129 yards in a brief showing against an inferior opponent but his performance was enough to draw high praise from those who have seen him grow on a daily basis.
"It's good to know that he can get the ball out there. We tried to help him as much as we could out there on the edge," said wide receiver Isaiah Anderson, who proved to be Lunt's go-to target. "I'm looking forward to him progressing throughout the season. Before the game, he wasn't nervous at all. I just went up to him and told him to keep doing what he's been doing in practice. He didn't seem to get rattled at all. We're expecting big things from him for the rest of the year."
One of the main things to take away from Anderson's quote is that Lunt wasn't nervous. He has been praised for his composure throughout the fall and it was evident in his short stint on Saturday. That confidence will come in handy in the desert.
"Sometimes, I forget he's a freshman," running back Joseph Randle said following the game. "He came out and did everything the coaches asked him to do. He came out with a lot of poise, and I'm glad for him."
The OSU offense hummed along with Lunt at the reins. In his four drives, the OSU offense marched down the field unchallenged.
All four drives ended with rushing scores, as Lunt's first TD pass has yet to occur, but Lunt's passing in between the 20's was Weeden-esque. He made the right decisions, he abstained from tunnel vision and he checked down through his options to find the open man, even if it was for just a short gain.
The drives lasted 1:30, 0:15, 1:06 and 0:55. That's not a great sample size but it's certainly an impressive sampling.
While many are questioning whether he received enough reps to be ready for a road test against a Pac-12 team, one thing was answered: the right man is quarterbacking the Cowboys.
He was more accurate, composed and made better decisions with the ball than reserves J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf, which is impressive considering both of the backups finished with excellent numbers, as well.
New Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez was impressed with what he saw from the Cowboys' young gun.
"It looked easy for him, but that's what you want from a quarterback, for them to look composed and make it look simple. He's a starting quarterback for a reason," Rodriguez said. "They have some talented quarterbacks and he's a true freshman. They have a pretty high standard for quarterbacks. He's a really good guy for them."
Sure, Lunt made it look simple, but who didn't against a vastly outmanned SSU squad? Even though it's difficult to make too much about any aspect of that game, it is equally difficult to find fault with Lunt's performance. That in itself is impressive and rare for a true freshman, regardless of position but especially as the signal caller.
Cowboy fans should have a much better idea after Saturday's showdown in Tucson but, unlike last week, how Lunt plays will be a determining factor in the outcome. And he has to do it on the road.
And how he handles that scenario is still a burning question.
"I have no idea; I don't know how he will handle being on the road," offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. "That is something that until you go and do it, you don't know. You prepare and try to convince him it will be the same thing. You don't have the crowd to pick you up. Your preparation is different. Where you stay is different. Hopefully he will be fine."
Surely motivation and focus won't be concerns in preparation for his first road game. And, if it is, Wildcat cornerback Shaquille Richardson likely rectified the situation by providing a little bulletin-board material.
The Arizona defender made it known he is anticipating going against an 18-year-old freshman.
"I know he's young," Richardson said. "That's going to be fun."
If Lunt plays like he did on Saturday, it won't be the Wildcats who are having the fun.