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Cowboys shine on backs of Sanders, Hubbard and Wallace

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Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard charges forward during the Oklahoma State vs. Oregon State football game on Friday, August 30, 2019, at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.

Corvallis, Ore. -- Questions have finally been answered.

In the weeks leading up to the Oklahoma State football team’s season opener against Oregon State, many questions were raised including who will coach Mike Gundy start at quarterback? As well as which OSU reigns supreme? And finally, how good is Chuba Hubbard.

The answers: Spencer Sanders, the one in Stillwater and apparently really good.

This year’s Cowboys featured many new talents including a new QB, starting running back, offensive coordinator and defensive line. 

Though they may be inexperienced, the Cowboys defeated the Beavers 52-36 at Reser Stadium on Friday.

Prior to the game, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy announced on Twitter that Spencer Sanders would start at quarterback. The redshirt freshman from Denton, Texas, battled redshirt senior Dru Brown the better part of seven months for the starting job.

In his first career start, Sanders showed why he deserved to be Gundy’s main guy. Sanders had some cobwebs in the first drive where he completed one pass for a yard and rushed twice for seven yards. But once he got the ball again, he showed off the same skills that made him the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2017.

Sanders finished the game going 19-for-24 with 203 yards and 3 touchdowns. He said that there were nerves, but they quickly calmed down. 

“Chuba Hubbard he kept talking to me before the game,” Sanders said. “Just talking to me and getting my mind off of it.”

When former Cowboy Justice Hill announced that he was skipping OSU’s bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft, all fingers pointed to Chuba Hubbard to take the helm at running back.

The redshirt sophomore from Alberta, Canada, said he was excited to start the season again.

Hubbard quickly made his name known in the first drive where he rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown. Drive after drive, Hubbard pushed through the Beavers’ defense downfield. Hubbard ultimately finished the game with 221 yards and 3 touchdowns.

“Chuba is very serious about football,” Gundy said. “I see some guys go through this transition and its really good guys like James Washington, (Mason) Rudolph, (Jordan) Brailford, (Emmanuel) Ogbah, Chuba’s really serious about football. He’s not in any shape or form in jacking around. When he’s in practice, he’s serious.” 

While Hubbard was grinding yards downfield, Tylan Wallace was silently waiting for his chance to show why he was named as an All-American last season.

Wallace had to wait till the second quarter for his first catch, which he turned into a 23-yard gain. 

With 6:35 left in the first half, Wallace caught his first touchdown from Sanders to give the Cowboys a 24-10 lead. Wallace would score another touchdown before the Cowboys took a 34-10 going into the half. 

Wallace added two more receptions in the second half, finishing with 92 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

“All you gotta do is give (Tylan) the ball,” Hubbard said. “He’s an amazing athlete, amazing player, friend, leader. To me, he’s the best in the nation. To me, he’s the Biletnikoff winner every single year.”

One question that has gone relatively silent is how second-year coordinator Jim Knowles’ defense will fare against the Beavers’ offensive line. 

The Beavers’ offensive line features four upperclassmen and is one of the few strong points of the team.

OSU’s defense quickly saw how powerful the Beavers’ offensive line is when Oregon State scored in just six plays and under two minutes.

After another rough drive which luckily for OSU ended in a Beavers field goal, the Cowboys’ defense forced Oregon State to punt on three straight drives.

“I think we started off trying to move the D-line,” Knowles said. “With new guys and young guys, I didn’t really think that was a good thing. Really we just settled down. We started playing better at the line of scrimmage, holding our gaps and playing tighter coverage.”

Though they gave up 36 points to the Beavers, Knowles is hopeful for the future of the Cowboys’ defense.

In the battle of OSU versus OSU, the Cowboys from Stillwater came out on top and will hope to continue their talents against McNeese State at Boone Pickens Stadium next Saturday.

“I thought we just did a great job honestly,” Hubbard said. “Winning the first game of the season obviously it's a great feeling.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com