Savannah State suffers 84-0 loss to No. 19 Cowboys
STILLWATER, Okla. -- When it was over, Savannah State coach Steve Davenport wasn't sure if it was worth the $385,000.
The Tigers headed back home to Georgia on Saturday night with a big check for filling a date on Oklahoma State's schedule, and an 84-0 loss to the 19th-ranked Cowboys.
After winning only four games against FCS competition over the past decade, Savannah State decided to play up -- way up -- and take on defending Big 12 and Fiesta Bowl champions in its first game against a top-level opponent.
Even as bad as the final score was, it still reflected mercy on Oklahoma State's part.
"It was a tremendously classy act by coach (Mike) Gundy and his staff, because things could have got even worse," Davenport said after his team's worst loss since a 98-0 defeat against Bethune Cookman in 1953, a season when the Tigers were outscored 444-6.
"It was obvious that they were a much better team than we were and I'm graciously appreciative of the way they handled the game."
Freshman Wes Lunt completed all 11 of his passes in a brief first outing as the new starting quarterback for Oklahoma State, as he and other starters didn't even make it to the end of the first quarter before getting pulled out of respect.
It was little more than a dress rehearsal for both teams -- and a decent payday for Savannah State, best known in football circles for producing Shannon Sharpe.
"We're going to have to readdress that. You get paid for certain things, but I don't know if at the end of the day, some things are worth the payments you get. But we'll see," Davenport said. "Those are conversations we'll have. But we've got to get better and be more competitive to do these kind of things and play these games. But it's a process for us and we're really in the early stages of rebuilding this program."
Not much will change before next week, when the Tigers (0-1) play at No. 7 Florida State.
"Our No. 1 goal is not to win either one of these games. Our No. 1 goal for this season is to win the conference championship," Davenport said. "We've got what we call another preseason game in Tallahassee next week and then our season gets under way."
This one was over almost as soon as it started. Oklahoma State scored on its first five possessions to take a 35-0 lead late in the first quarter, needing no more than 90 seconds on any of the scoring drives.
In a flash, the starters were replaced by backups and -- when the points kept piling up -- third, fourth and fifth-teamers were on the field.
Joseph Randle ran for 107 yards and two TDs on just six carries and Desmond Roland added 104 yards rushing and three scores. Jeremy Smith also ran for three scores as Oklahoma State broke the school record with nine rushing touchdowns -- two more than in a 54-0 victory against UTEP in 1977 but still three shy of the NCAA record.
Corey Bennett provided the final score on a 10-yard TD run with 1:20 remaining.
Oklahoma State compiled a 424-52 advantage in total offense by halftime, and the Tigers spent just as much time going backward. Savannah State had 12 penalties for 64 yards in the first half, getting called for false starts seven times, delay of game twice and losing a fumble recovery because of an offside penalty.
Wayne Burden, who forced the first would-be fumble, recovered another loose ball and John Wilson intercepted one of J.W. Walsh's passes to end Oklahoma State's run of five straight TDs to start the game.
It was the best stretch of the game for the Tigers, who had only eight first downs.
"We're a football team. We put on our pants just like they put on their pants. We weren't going to go out there and lay down," quarterback Antonio Bostick said. "I think my offensive line did a tremendous job of holding them back. ... We had some opportunities but we didn't capitalize and the score reflected that."
After the opening quarter, the Cowboys took it relatively easy by using a slew of reserves from far down the depth chart. By the end of the third quarter, 94 different Oklahoma State players had taken the field. There were 10 new starters on a team that lost stars Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon to the first round of the NFL draft after finishing last season ranked No. 3.
It ended up as the most lopsided victory for OSU since a 117-0 rout of Southwestern Oklahoma in 1916.
"We've just got to realize that they're struggling," said Oklahoma State co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, who knew some of the Tigers' coaches from his time at Georgia Tech. "There's a bunch of my friends over there on that other coaching staff, and I hated that for them. They're going through a growth process there and they're struggling.
"So, our kids need to know: Hey, it's about to get for real this week."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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