You never know when your name will be called.
It happened for Brandon Weeden in the Colorado comeback in 2010. On Saturday, it was J.W. Walsh's turn.
Oklahoma State (2-1) defeated Louisiana in a decisive 65-24 match. When starting quarterback Wes Lunt left the game with a left knee injury, coach Mike Gundy confidently handed the ball to Walsh and gave him command of the Cowboy offense.
"J.W. has been here and practiced," Gundy said. "We didn't change offenses but we feel that there are things he does better than Wes, and we tried to highlight that part of our play calling and just move forward."
Walsh immediately responded, eventually racking up 420 total yards and five touchdowns, including one rushing.
Feeling calm and collected in the face of injury, he was able to easily make plays and quickly run away from the Cajuns (2-1).
"When it happens, you've got to be prepared. You're just fortunate to have the guys around you helping out like they did," Walsh said. "The way the offense clicked today was just amazing. I think we did a good job of operating and being where you're supposed to be and setting up right."
Walsh's proudest moment of the day, however, came long before the game clock hit zero.
With just over seven minutes left to play in the first half, Walsh hit receiver Josh Stewart in the end zone for the pair's first collegiate touchdown.
"That was special. When I saw him catch it, I wasn't sure if he was going to score or not," Walsh said. "When I saw him run in the endzone, it was just pure excitement. I couldn't control myself."
The duo had played together at Guyer High School in Denton, Texas. After the play, Walsh ran toward Stewart at full speed and wrapped his arms around his friend as they shared a moment they never envisioned would happen.
"Man, he knocked the wind out of me. It was exciting," Stewart said. "To play with him and score a touchdown pass, it was an unreal feeling."
Walsh said he always enjoys playing with all of his teammates, because they are all very close. But there's something about having Stewart on the field with him that makes the game that much more special.
"To have Josh out there is just an unbelievable feeling, just a comforting feeling to know that you've got someone out there that I've been around since I don't know how long," Walsh said. "It's nice to know he's out there with me."
Stewart would finish the day with 104 yards and two touchdowns, but said none of that could compare to turning what started out as a nightmare afternoon into a dream come true.
"It was cool when he threw that touchdown to me, I've got to admit," Stewart said. "It's one of those dream things that happen. We talked about it and made sure it would happen."