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Brown relieves Sanders, throws for two touchdowns against McNeese

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OklahomaState quarterback Dru Brown hands the ball off to running back Micah Cooper during the Oklahoma State vs. McNeese State Football game on Saturday September 7, 2019 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Dru Brown didn't get a chance to throw a pass in his Oklahoma State debut.

Brown, a sixth-year graduate transfer quarterback, started every game for Hawaii two years ago and passed for 2,785 yards and 18 touchdowns before he transferred to OSU. He relieved OSU's starter Spencer Sanders in garbage time for the Cowboys' final offensive drive in their season-opening win at Oregon State last week. The game was out of hand, and Brown only handed the ball off to run time off the game clock.

OSU's second game, its 2019 home debut, was a different story.

The Cowboys hosted McNeese State and showcased their superiority throughout the evening, eventually winning 56-14.

OSU held a shutout lead of 28-0 at halftime, and coach Mike Gundy elected to end his starting quarterback's day early in the second half after tossing for 250 yards, 3 touchdowns and adding on 12 rushes for 51 yards. Sanders was OSU's busiest ball-carrier on Saturday, finishing with more rushes than any Cowboy running back and giving all the more reason for Brown to relieve him.

"Sanders had done a good job, he's out, Drew needed to get in and play," Gundy said. "We got him in there, and I was glad we could get him in there and let him play.

"I like the way Dru played for the most part."

Unlike in the first game, Brown stepped onto the field with plenty of time to play football. He trotted out with the offense with 11 minutes left in the third quarter, and it didn't take long for him to get back to the OSU sideline. His first drive was short. He completed his first pass to Landon Wolf on a screen for no gain, and then completed his second pass to CJ Moore for a 59-yard touchdown connection.

Brown's second offensive drive went even quicker than the first one. It took only two plays for him to find Braydon Johnson for a 69-yard touchdown pass with seven minutes to go in the third quarter. This put the Cowboys up 56-7, with Brown still holding a 100% completion percentage at that point in the game.

OSU's first-year offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson said OSU's battle for the starting quarterback spot was a "tight battle" coming into the season, and Sanders proved enough in the first game to remain the starter.

Gleeson also said it was crucial to get Brown onto the field this week after the opportunity didn't present himself last week.

"He's a good quarterback, I've been saying that all along," Gleeson said. "His ability to kinda see things out in the defense and make the right decisions for us, he did that tonight, and I was kinda expecting him to do that, to tell you the truth. We wanted him to get his feet wet because he's a big part of this program."

Brown finished 7-10 passing with 142 yards and 2 touchdowns in about a quarter and a half of action in his Boone Pickens Stadium debut before third string quarterback Shaun Taylor relieved him.

Sanders is more of a mobile quarterback compared to Brown, who seems a little more comfortable as a pocket passer. It's no secret that having a dual-threat quarterback adds an extra dynamic to an offense that makes it much more difficult to defend. Adding the quarterback as the ball-carrier, as opposed to maybe a running back, creates an extra player the defense has to worry about. It frees up a would-be ball carrier, like the running back, as an extra blocker for the attack.

Having a mobile quarterback also means he's gonna take some hits. The concept of a running quarterback is high risk, high reward. It's not something anyone wants to think about, but injuries do happen, making any reps Brown can get with the offense incredibly important in case he's needed.

sports.ed@ocolly.com