John Klein: OSU and J.W. Walsh responded well after Wes Lunt's injury
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Sunday, September 16, 2012
9/16/12 at 5:54 AM
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Original Print Headline: Walsh and OSU respond after Lunt's injury
STILLWATER - There was every reason to believe Oklahoma State was in for a tough day, especially when OSU quarterback Wes Lunt was injured on the sixth play against Louisiana.
Instead, J.W. Walsh was ready and the Cowboys soared on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.
"There was no fear in him," said OSU coach Mike Gundy.
Walsh came on in relief and Oklahoma State scored on eight straight possessions as the Cowboys hammered Louisiana 65-24.
This was expected to be somewhat of a challenge for the Cowboys. When Lunt went down, there was some thought this could be a disaster.
Instead, Walsh was better than anyone had a right to expect. He led OSU to scores on 10 of its first 11 possessions.
"Our team responded well and J.W. responded well," said OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken.
Before leaving in the third quarter, Walsh was 21-of-30 for 347 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran for 73 yards and one TD.
That's 420 yards of total offense. That's a great game by any measurement.
It is remarkable considering he expected to be carrying a clipboard and wearing a baseball cap for this game.
"You've always got to prepare and be ready," said Walsh.
He was prepared for the moment, and as a result, the Cowboys will head into an off week, with Texas coming to Stillwater in two weeks, with some new-found confidence.
"It was a bounce back game for everybody," said Gundy.
By the time Walsh left, with a few minutes to go in the third quarter, OSU was up 58-10 in a game that was never close.
Considering the situation, it was the best news possible. Walsh was ready and carried the Cowboys with his passing accuracy and ability to make things happen with his feet.
"It speaks for itself," said OSU running back Joseph Randle. "He had a great game.
"We knew J.W. could play. He's proved it in practice."
This game got off to the worst possible start for the Cowboys. Lunt was gone before many in the crowd of 56,062 got in their seats.
Lunt, the freshman who had shined in two games, suffered a knee injury just six plays into the game.
In came Walsh, with a reputation as a gamer, and he was ready.
O-State shifted its offense a bit, adding some quarterback runs, and the Cowboys sprinted away from the Cajuns.
"We had a game plan for him," said Monken. "He's not a drop-back quarterback. He isn't.
"He's going to get big plays in different ways. He can make as many plays with his feet as he does with his arm."
As a result, a game that many thought might be close was never in doubt.
It was never in doubt because Walsh was prepared and OSU's defense, a no-show in the loss at Arizona, was much better against Louisiana.
"We're still a good football team," said Walsh. "We made some mistakes last week and we paid a price for that."
While Walsh had OSU's offense in high gear, O-State's defense was dominating.
As the Cowboys built a 44-0 lead in the first half, Louisiana gained just 104 yards and picked up five first downs. The Ragin Cajuns moved the chains just once in the first 20 minutes. By that point, Walsh had staked OSU to a 31-0 lead.
"Anytime you've got a backup quarterback that can come in and execute the offense that says a lot," said Louisiana coach Mark Hudspeth. "A lot of teams don't have that ability."
You couldn't ask for much more out of a backup.
Walsh was ready when called upon and was especially sharp for a guy who lost the starting job to Lunt in spring practice.
Walsh was good from the word go. He hit 13-of-17 for 246 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
The Cowboys gained 450 yards in the first half while building a 44-0 lead.
Oklahoma State was so good on offense that it set a record for yards (742) and first downs (39).
Louisiana-Lafayette is not Texas, which will be the biggest test of the first month of the season.
However, the Cajuns were expected to be a difficult foe. Instead, Oklahoma State got to flex its muscles with Walsh, who may be the quarterback for OSU when the Longhorns come to town.
In addition, OSU's defense got to have some success and perhaps build a little confidence before the Big 12 showdown with Texas.
"Our defense was very disappointed in the game at Arizona," said OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young. "I think our guys were very eager to get back out there."
The injury to Lunt is bad news. But, in just about every other way, it was a good day for the Cowboys on Saturday.
OSU's Wes Lunt injured against Louisiana at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, OK, Sept. 15, 2012. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World