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Walsh Guides Pokes Past Roadrunners

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Oklahoma State might not have aired out the ball much in the season opener but the Cowboys more than made up for it on Saturday in San Antonio.

J.W. Walsh put the "can the Cowboys still pass?" talk to rest in a dominant individual performance at the Alamodome, guiding No. 13 OSU to a 56-35 victory against UT-San Antonio.

Walsh completed 24-of-27 passed for 327 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for another score despite barely playing in the second half. Walsh guided OSU to touchdown drives on five of its six first-half possessions. Clint Chelf came in and put up solid numbers, as well, passing for 192 yards and two scores on 11-of-16 passing.

The Cowboys struck first with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Walsh to redshirt freshman Jhajuan Seales on their opening drive. After UTSA answered with a score of its own, the Cowboys went on to score the next 35 points of the game.

Walsh wasn't just accurate on Saturday, he also spread the wealth and opened up the offense. After his initial touchdown pass to Seales, he connected on scoring plays with Brandon Sheperd (19 yards), Josh Stewart (10 yards), scored a touchdown of his own on a designed run, and then found Blake Jackson on a 22-yard connection up the center of the field for his final score of the day.

The Cowboys weren't nearly as effective on the ground, but something has to give when the passing game is clicking as well as it was. Jeremy Smith led OSU with 12 carries for 33 yards and a score.

Thirty-nine yards led OSU in receiving last week but seven players eclipsed that number for the Pokes against UTSA. Stewart had five catches for 97 yards and a score, Jhajuan Seales had seven catches for 87 yards and a TD, Blake Jackson and Brandon Sheperd each had 73 yards and a score, Charlie Moore had three receptions for 43 yards and a TD, and David Glidden and Marcell Ateman each had 40 yards.

All in all, the Pokes had eight touchdowns going to eight different players en route to 605 yards of total offense and were far too much to handle for a young but gutsy UTSA squad.

But as good as the offense was, a lot of the warm feelings around the OSU defense after a dominating Week 1 performance evaporated on Saturday.

OSU only gave up one score through the first three quarters but was the beneficiary of two missed field goals and a dropped touchdown pass. The secondary looked particularly susceptible to slants and up the sidelines, which came back to haunt the Cowboys in the fourth quarter when UTSA marched up and down the field to the tune of four touchdowns against mostly second-and-third stringers for OSU.

Another cause for concern was unforced penalties. The Cowboys were called for seven penalties overall and five of those came on defensive offsides calls, which is inexcusable and needs to be cleaned up before conference play.

The Roadrunners finished with 504 yards of total offense, passing for 369 and rushing for 135. Soza completed 24-of-41 passes for 308 yards with three touchdowns to go with his two picks.

One bright spot for the Cowboys' on defense came from forcing two interceptions against the typically mistake-free Eric Soza. He had only thrown three picks in the past two years coming into the game but was picked off by OSU linebackers Shaun Lewis and Ryan Simmons.

The Cowboys will play their home opener next Saturday against FCS for Lamar 6:30 p.m. at Boone Pickens Stadium.

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