STILLWATER, Okla. - J.W. Walsh continues to make the most of his chance to start at quarterback for Oklahoma State.
Walsh, who took over after fellow freshman Wes Lunt got hurt early in the third game of the season, threw for 415 yards Saturday - the ninth-best total in school history - in leading the Cowboys to a 31-10 victory over Iowa State.
Walsh was 32 of 47, including a 74-yard touchdown, and ran for a score to help give coach Mike Gundy his 63rd career victory, moving him past Pat Jones into No. 1 on the school's all-time list.
"When you get more and more reps, you get more comfortable," Walsh said. "I played good. You're never as good as you think; you're never as bad as you think."
Gundy said that given Iowa State's strength against the run, he expected his team would need to throw 50 times to win. Walsh finished three shy of that, and did so effectively despite the Cowboys (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) being without their top two receivers, Isaiah Anderson and Tracy Moore, due to injury.
Charlie Moore came through with 129 yards on eight catches, including the 74-yarder for a TD; Blake Jackson had 96 yards on four catches; and Josh Stewart caught 13 passes for 89 yards.
It started with Walsh, though, and he excelled after a closer-than-expected victory at Kansas last week.
"At this time last week, everyone was telling us how bad he played," Gundy said. "He hasn't arrived because he's a freshman who's played four games. But he was very productive today."
"The good news is that we've always felt like we've had two quarterbacks who are good players," Gundy added.
The Cowboys gained a small measure of revenge on Iowa State (4-3, 1-3), which ended Oklahoma State's national title chances last year with an upset in double overtime. There was no drama this time - the Cyclones struggled to move the ball after scoring 10 first-quarter points.
Jared Barnett threw a 35-yard completion on the game's first play but finished 19 of 39 for 206 yards and an interception and was replaced by Steele Jantz in the fourth quarter.
"After those first couple drives, they started making adjustments to our offense and we didn't respond," Barnett said. "They were definitely getting pressure on me and making it hard for our guys to beat them in one-on-one coverage."
Oklahoma State took control of the game in the second quarter, when it held Iowa State to 74 yards of offense and forced five punts. Trailing 10-7 after one quarter, the Cowboys tied it on a 20-yard field goal by Quinn Sharp in the first minute of the second, then went ahead for good one possession later when Moore got behind cornerback Jansen Watson and caught Walsh's throw in stride for a 74-yard touchdown.
Although Joseph Randle had 151 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, Oklahoma State had a hard time running consistently. But Walsh picked up the slack and the defense helped, too, with an interception by Daytawion Lowe setting up the Cowboys at the ISU 44 early in the third quarter. Randle scored a short time later on a 12-yard run to make it 24-10.
His 62-yard gain early in the fourth quarter put the Cowboys at the 14-yard line, and Walsh scored three plays later to seal things.
The Cyclones drove 75 yards for a touchdown on their first drive. A 20-yard keeper by Barnett on a third-and-1 put the Cyclones on the doorstep, and two plays later Jeff Woody scored on what looked like an option pitch but was recorded officially as a 2-yard pass from Barnett.
A 42-yard pass to Chris Young was the big play in a drive later in the quarter that ended with Edwin Arceo's 41-yard field goal that gave Iowa State its final lead, 10-7.
Oklahoma State's first-quarter score was a 4-yard run by Randle. It capped a drive aided by two Iowa State penalties, one of them a personal foul on a third-down incompletion at the Cyclones' 20. Randle scored two plays later.
The Cowboys threatened again later in the half, but Stewart had the ball stripped by Deon Broomfield after making a catch inside the 5-yard line. Sharp also missed two second-half field goals, from 44 and 51 yards, and Walsh was stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the Iowa State 16 late in the third quarter.