There would be no upset by Central Michigan in Stillwater as there was in 2016 as No. 12 Oklahoma State picked up a 58-44 win Thursday night at Boone Pickens Stadium.
The Big 12 Conference runner-up and Fiesta Bowl champion dominated the first half, made a safety, exploded with its offense and forced turnovers with a 44-15 lead over the Chippewas (0-1) in the first half.
However, the defense had to hang on for the final 14-point margin in the second half.
The game marked the 150th career win for coach Mike Gundy, who began his 18th season coaching his alma mater.
"Like I told the team, it takes a lot of really quality people and good young men for a guy to stay in once place long enough to win 150 games,” Gundy said. “I'm just lucky enough to be along for the ride. That's pretty cool."
It was also a career-night for OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders as he passed for 406 yards while accounting for six touchdowns — four in the air and two rushing. Another Poke with a career-evening was wide receiver Braydon Johnson with 133 yards on six receptions.
Sanders and John Paul Richardson connected on a 45-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring with 10:09 left in the first quarter.
The Chippewas answered three minutes later as Daniel Richardson hit Carlos Carriere with a 15-yard TD, and the game appeared competitive with a 7-all tie in the first quarter.
However, the tide turned as Bishop Lamont sacked Richardson in the end zone for a safety with 55 ticks to go in the opening period. That would begin a 30-point explosion for OSU. With the two points giving a 9-7 advantage, the host had a chance to extend its lead with Central Michigan kicking off. The Cowboys (1-0) took advantage as Sanders got his first touchdown on the ground from 17 yards as the opening period expired.
OSU added 21 more points before Central Michigan scored again. Sanders tossed TD passes of 13 and 17 yards, respectively, to Johnson and Jaden Nixon, then added his second rushing TD from 23 yards and it was a 37-7 game in the second quarter. One more TD would put the host up 44-15 before halftime.
The Cowboys kept rolling when the third quarter began, scoring on their first drive, making it 51-15 after Bryson Green caught a 7-yard TD from Sanders.
"I was pleased," Gundy said. "Our target punting made a big difference tonight. We were really good in our return game. For the most part, we weren't very penalized. We were even with turnovers. We intercepted one and then they blocked a punt, which is basically the same thing. Obviously, offensively, we played really well. Spencer was really good. Wideouts made plays. Backs did a nice job, took care of the football, made plays. Played pretty good up front.”
OSU welcomes Arizona State in a big non-conference game at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at Boone Pickens Stadium.

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