Finally, Taylor Cornelius has emerged from Mason Rudolph’s shadow.
The fifth-year senior ran for two touchdowns and passed for another to help No. 24 Oklahoma State beat No. 17 Boise State 44-21 on Saturday.
Cornelius waited his turn for years behind Rudolph, who now is with the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. He made the most of his first career start against a ranked opponent.
“It’s hard to faze that guy,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said.
Cornelius passed for 243 yards and ran for 41. Several times, he kept momentum going with runs and kept plays alive with his strength and deceptive speed.
“He took care of the and he led our team with toughness, and that was great to see,” Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “He’s a highly competitive guy, and that’s one of the most important things any quarterback can have, is competitiveness and the willingness to lead your team, protect the and do whatever it takes to win.”
Justice Hill ran for 123 yards and a touchdown, and Tylan Wallace had five catches for 105 yards for the Cowboys (3-0).
Boise State’s Brett Rypien passed for 380 yards and three touchdowns, but was sacked seven times and pressured throughout the day. Defensive end Jordan Brailford had three sacks, defensive end Jarrell Owens had two and linebacker Devin Harper had 1.5.
“Their D-line, I thought, did a good job,” Rypien said. “You don’t want to get into third-and-long against that defense.”
Oklahoma State held the Broncos (2-1) to 34 yards rushing on 31 attempts.
A blocked punt by Oklahoma State’s Amen Ogbongbemiga led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Cornelius that gave the Cowboys a 14-7 lead. Oklahoma State led 17-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Oklahoma State’s Jarrick Bernard blocked another punt, and Za’Carrius Green scored on the return to push the Cowboys’ lead to 34-14.
Rypien’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Chase Blakley on fourth down cut Oklahoma State lead to 34-21 late in the third quarter, but the Cowboys maintained control. Cornelius closed the scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run on which several of his teammates ganged up and pushed him over the goal line.
“We’re obviously disappointed in the loss,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “Give credit to Oklahoma State— they played well. They played like we’ve seen on tape. They played fast, they played physical and they made plays.”
Boise State: Rypien can only take the Broncos so far if he doesn’t have time to throw. His quick release saved him from disaster numerous times, but the Cowboys still got to him too often and his running game was no help.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys usually have to depend on their offense to win games, but they showed they can change the game on defense and special teams, too.
Oklahoma State handled a ranked nonconference opponent with a strong reputation and should make a significant leap in the Top 25 . Boise State shouldn’t fall too much with a road loss to a ranked Big 12 team.
Oklahoma State opened the week as 4 1/2 -point favorite, but as of Friday, that was down to a point according to Pregame.com.
“That means somebody locked up a lot of money on the other side,” Gundy said. “I don’t know anything about gambling, I just know if that happened, somebody’s sad.”
Oklahoma State’s top returning receivers this season were Jalen McCleskey, Dillon Stoner and Tyron Johnson, but Tylan Wallace has become the standout. The 6-foot sophomore caught five passes for 105 yards a week after catching 10 passes for 166 yards against South Alabama.
Oklahoma State blocked two punts and Matt Ammendola made three field goals, including a 48-yarder. Meanwhile, Boise State’s Haden Hoggarth hit a 26-yard field goal off the goalpost in the first quarter, and the Broncos averaged fewer than 20 yards on kickoff returns.
Boise State plays at Wyoming on Sept. 29.
Oklahoma State hosts Texas Tech on Sept. 22.
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