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Oklahoma State Hammers Cardinals In Home Opener

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

Lamar might as well have put "SI" on the side of its helmet.

No. 12 Oklahoma State came out motivated and looking to take out some frustrations, scoring on its first four possessions en route to a 59-3 drubbing of the Cardinals in front of Boone Pickens Stadium record crowd of 59,061.

Cowboy fans came out in droves to support their team, and the Pokes responded in kind by giving them a show of dominance on a day that was all about football in Stillwater.

And the Cowboys played it at a high level in all facets.

The offense amassed 426 yards of offense, 13 receivers caught passes, Jeremy Smith scored three TDs in the first half and backup quarterback Clint Chelf completed 100 percent of his passes.

The defense kept Lamar, who scored 75 points in its season opener, out of the end zone. It limited the Cardinals to just 3.2 yards per play, 245 total yards and just 7-of-23 on third down.

And on special teams, Ben Grogan connected on the first field goal of his young career and Josh Stewart had 114 punt-return yards, highlighted by a 67-yard touchdown. It was OSU's first punt return score since 2010.

It was a well-rounded outing against an over-matched opponent.

RELATED: OSU vs. Lamar By The Numbers

As expected, coach Mike Gundy wasn't thrilled with his team's overall execution, particularly on offense, but he was pleased with how his team has responded this week.

"I think they've done a nice job of focusing, paying attention, learning and competing. I think they like each other, and they're starting to create an identity for the season," Gundy said. "We have good leadership … I like where we're at. I like that we're competing. I've said this before, their responsibility is to work hard and prepare Sunday through Thursday. They've done that.

"They've done everything we've asked them to do in that area. I think that's more important than anything else and that they give us everything they've got."

And what they had on Saturday was a 56-point beat down for a rowdy gathering of orange-clad supporters. It wasn't perfect but there was plenty good about the performance from the starters all the way down the line.

Quarterback J.W. Walsh wasn't as crisp as he was a week ago against UTSA, but he still had a solid outing with 181 yards on 17-of-30 passing with a touchdown and an interception. He also led the team with 45 rushing yards on 6.4 yards per carry.

Walsh said he was pleased with the flow of the offense.

"We had good tempo going. The guys up front were blocking real hard, and the running backs were running really hard," he said. "We were able to wear them down up front. Early on we were in a rhythm and on the same page. That really got us going."

And the Cowboys certainly got going early. OSU scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, capped by a Desmond Roland 2-yard score and a pair of TDs from Jeremy Smith, going for 4 and 1 yards, respectively.

OSU (3-0) also got on the board on its fourth possession with a 39-yard field goal by Grogan to take a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Smith tacked on another 1-yard TD later in the quarter to make it 31-0 and the Pokes looked poised to score again after taking over possession with a little over a minute remaining and two timeouts. But OSU made its lone significant miscue of the game when Walsh threw an interception to Lamar's Brandon Thomas, setting up the Cardinals' only score of the game on a 44-yard field goal as time expired.

The Pokes came out firing again in the second half, outscoring Lamar (1-2) 21-0 in the quarter despite sitting its starters for good midway through the period.

The second-half scoring got going with a spectacular 67-yard punt return by Stewart, who weaved in and out of would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone. The second score came in impressive fashion, as well, when receiver Blake Jackson snagged a Walsh pass with one hand with a defender draped all over him in the end zone.

Clint Chelf then relieved Walsh and led the offense to two more scoring drives in the contest, highlighted by the first rushing touchdown of his career on an eight-yard QB keeper on a zone-read option.

Chelf later found Blake Webb for a 16-yard score in the fourth quarter and finished the day 6-of-6 passing for 90 yards.

The defense also impressed throughout against the overmatched Cardinals. OSU owned the line of scrimmage and hounded the Lamar QBs into a combined 19-of-40 effort through the air for just 124 yards and an average of just 3.1 yards per pass.

Perhaps making the defensive outing more impressive was the play of the second and third units, who held Lamar scoreless a week after giving up 28 fourth-quarter points against UT-San Antonio.

Safety Daytawion Lowe was encouraged with the overall performance from the defense and talked about the importance of getting the younger players on the field.

"It's always to come out and dominate before conference play because it gives us confidence," Lowe said. "It lets a bunch of guys get some experience under their belt because we may need them in conference play. It's really a confidence booster."

Oklahoma State will have a bye week before traveling to face West Virginia (2-1) in the Cowboys' conference opener.

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