By Murray Evans
STILLWATER, Okla. — —
Wes Lunt passed for 324 yards and a touchdown in his first start in six weeks, Quinn Sharp tied a school record with five field goals and Oklahoma State overcame a sluggish first half to beat TCU 36-14 on Saturday.
Lunt, playing for the first time since suffering a knee injury in a Sept. 15 game against Louisiana-Lafayette, started slow but finished strong as Oklahoma State scored 36 unanswered points after falling behind 14-0.
Lunt completed 18 of 33 passes for the Cowboys (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) in their first meeting with TCU (5-3, 2-3) since 1993. He guided Oklahoma State on third-quarter touchdown drives of 64 and 80 yards to erase TCU’s 14-9 halftime lead.
Joseph Randle rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries for Oklahoma State, and Josh Stewart caught six passes for 120 yards.
TCU is 1-3 since suspending starting quarterback Casey Pachall after he was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. His replacement, Trevone Boykin, was 21 of 40 for 185 yards as the Horned Frogs’ streak of scoring at least 20 points ended at 33 games, which had been the nation’s longest such run. Oklahoma State now has the current longest streak at 33 games.
Boykin limped off the field after being hit while throwing an interception with 1:26 remaining. Matt Brown finished the game at quarterback for the Horned Frogs.
Lunt’s return was vital for the Cowboys, as his fill-in, J.W. Walsh, suffered a season-ending knee injury a week earlier in a win over Iowa State. Lunt beat out Walsh and Clint Chelf in spring practice for the starting job.
The Cowboys — who entered the game leading the FBS in total offense — didn’t record a first down until the 3:03 mark of the first quarter and had three first-half drives stall inside the TCU 20.
Lunt’s first pass was thrown slightly behind Stewart, and the football bounced off the receiver’s hands to TCU safety Elisha Olabode, who returned it 11 yards for a touchdown.
A 46-yard run by TCU’s B.J. Catalon — on which he broke two tackles — set up an 18-yard touchdown pass from Boykin to LaDarius Brown, putting the Horned Frogs up 14-0 with 3:22 left in the first quarter.
Sharp hit field goals of 22, 24 and 30 yards before halftime for the Cowboys. The last one came after a holding call wiped out a 30-yard touchdown pass on a trick play, as Lunt lateraled to Randle, who hit Blake Jackson in the end zone.
The Cowboys took their first lead, 16-14, midway through the third quarter, with Jeremy Smith plunging in from the 1-yard line on fourth down. TCU almost answered, but Jaden Oberkrom banged a 33-yard field-goal attempt off the right upright.
Lunt capped the next series with a 20-yard TD pass to Charlie Moore. Sharp’s 32-yard field goal after the next drive extended Oklahoma State’s lead to 26-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Defensive tackle Nigel Nicholas sealed the win for Oklahoma State on a bizarre play. Nicholas knocked the ball loose from Boykin just as the quarterback’s arm was starting forward. Players on the field stopped, thinking it was an incomplete pass, but no whistle blew, and Nicholas ran to the ball, picked it up and returned it before being tackled.
Sharp’s 27-yard field goal with 2:32 left allowed him to match the single-game school record, set by Larry Roach against Missouri in 1982.