Oklahoma State’s football team got head coach Mike Gundy his 150th career win with a 58-44 victory over Central Michigan on Thursday night at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.
OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more as the Cowboys rolled to a big early third quarter lead before holding on to win by two scores.
Sanders was 28-for-41 passing for 406 yards.
Central Michigan surged late, and ended up outgaining OSU in total yards, 546-531.
After forcing a Chippewas punt, OSU took their opening possession for a score, with Spencer Sanders throwing a short pass to John Paul Richardson, who zipped 45 yards for the touchdown to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead with just under five minutes played in the game.
CMU responded with an 8-play, 75-yard drive, with Daniel Richardson passing to Carlos Carriere for a 15-yard touchdown to tie it at 7 with 7:05 to play in the first quarter.
The Chippewas forced a punt, then moved the ball into OSU territory, but Marshall Meeder missed a 50-yard field goal attempt wide left with 2:36 to play in the first quarter.
OSU once again had to punt, with Tom Hutton punting to the two-yard line.
On the first snap of the possession, OSU’s Lamont Bishop tackled Lew Nichols in the end zone for a safety and the Cowboys led 9-7 with 55 seconds left in the first quarter.
After the free kick, OSU took just four plays to go 70 yards.
Sanders passed to Braydon Johnson for 41 yards, then two plays later, Sanders kept it himself and ran it it from 17 yards out to give the Cowboys a 16-7 lead.
OSU forced a Chippewas punt to start the second quarter, then went 59 yards in five plays, with Sanders passing to Braydon Johnson for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys a 23-7 lead with 11:32 to play in the second quarter.
Johnson had 6 catches for 133 yards.
The OSU defense stopped CMU on a fourth and two at the OSU 43-yard line, then the Cowboys marched 57 yards in seven plays, with Sanders passing to Jaden Nixon for a 17-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 30-7 with 7:14 to play in the first half.
The Cowboys forced a three-and-out punt for CMU, then went 51 yards in 5 plays, with Sanders keeping for a 23-yard touchdown to make it 37-7 OSU with 4:32 to play in the second quarter.
Sanders rushed for 57 yards and two scores.
CMU finally ended OSU’s scoring run, going on a 10-play, 75-yard drive, with Lew Nichols scoring from four yards out on a run.
The Chippewas got a two-point conversion pass from Richardson to Jalen McGaughy to make it 37-15 Cowboys with 43 seconds left in the first half.
It took OSU just 32 seconds to answer, going 75 yards in three plays, with Sanders passing to Brennan Presley for a gain of 42, then Dominic Richardson finishing the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 44-15 Cowboys with 11 seconds in the first half.
Presley had 5 catches for 83 yards.
OSU got the ball to start the second half, and took just two plays to score, with Sanders passing to Braydon Johnson for 45 yards, then passing to Bryson Green for a 7-yard touchdown to make it 51-15 OSU with 14:23 to play in the third quarter.
Central Michigan responded with a 7-play, 80-yard drive, with Daniel Richardson passing to Jalen McGaughy for a one-yard touchdown to cut the OSU lead to 51-22 with 11:14 left in the third quarter.
CMU forced an OSU punt, but gave the ball back to the Cowboys when Kendall Daniels intercepted Richardson at the CMU 42-yard line.
Early in the fourth quarter, OSU’s Tom Hutton had his punt deflected and it went just 16 yards.
Central Michigan then went 39 yards in three plays, with Richardson passing to Myles Bailey for an 18-yard touchdown to cut the OSU lead to 51-28 with 12:31 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys answered by going 71 yards in 7 plays, with Zach Middleton scoring on a one-yard run to put OSU up 58-28 with 9:17 to play in the fourth quarter.
Central Michigan came back with a 6-play, 70-yard drive, with Lew Nichols scoring on a 15-yard touchdown run.
The Chippewas converted a 2-point play on a Richardson pass to Carlos Carriere to make it 58-36 Cowboys with 6:50 to play.
Mike Gundy’s son Gunnar came on to play quarterback for OSU on the next series, but the Cowboys went three-and-out and had to punt.
Central Michigan went 72 yards in six plays, with Richardson passing to McGaughy for a 54-yard touchdown.
A two-point conversion pass from Richardson to Joel Wilson made it 58-44 with 3:15 to play.
The win was OSU’s eighth straight season-opening win and Mike Gundy improved to 16-2 in season openers.
The Cowboys will host Arizona State on September 10 at 6:30 pm.