SAN ANTONIO — There will be no questions about who the starting quarterback is for Oklahoma State next week.
J.W. Walsh completed his first 10 passes, finished 24-of-27 for 326 yards and four touchdown throws as No. 13 Oklahoma State beat UTSA 56-35 on Saturday.
It’s the fourth start for the sophomore Walsh, his first this season after a quick relief performance for Clint Chelf last week. With his speedy start against a Roadrunners team entering its third season of football, Walsh led the Cowboys (2-0) to touchdowns on five of six first-half possessions.
“We had a lot of stuff going for us,” Walsh said. “When you run that up-tempo stuff and the defense is having trouble keeping up, a lot of things are going to work for you. I think that answers (a lot of people’s) questions.”
UTSA (1-1) tied the score 7-7 when Kenny Bias scored on a 6-yard run with 4:22 left in the first quarter. But Walsh scored from 4 yards out in the second quarter and the Cowboys led 35-7 at halftime.
“We were in position,” UTSA coach Larry Coker said. “We let it get away from us. But we fought on. We didn’t give up.”
Walsh left with six minutes left in the third and the Cowboys up 42-7.
Eric Soza threw three TDs in the fourth quarter and finished 24 of 41 for 308 yards, with two interceptions.
One play following a 62-yard punt return by Kenny Harrison that put the ball on the Cowboys 19, Soza lofted a scoring pass to Bias that cut the deficit to three touchdowns with 12 minutes to go.
“In the third quarter I shouldn’t have wholesale changed,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. “I should have mixed some of the twos (backups) and younger players in, and they didn’t play well together. We did the same thing on the punt. We missed four or five tackles and they returned that punt on us.”
The Cowboys went up 49-21 on Chelf’s lone TD pass, a 33-yard TD pass to Charlie Moore with 10 minutes remaining. Chelf finished 11-of-16 for 192 yards and a pair of TDs.
Soza and Bias connected again on a 67-yard passing TD that brought back UTSA to a 21-point deficit, but Chelf threw a 21-yard scoring pass to backup running back Desmond Roland as the Cowboys cracked the 50-point barrier with 5 ½ minutes to go.
The Roadrunners rallied from a two-touchdown deficit last week to win on the road at New Mexico. UTSA now is 13-11 all-time under former national champion coach Coker.
In Oklahoma State’s opening victory against Mississippi State, Chelf started and Walsh relieved. Gundy had promised to use both of his quarterbacks in the opener, but Walsh was clearly more effective.
On Saturday, with Walsh running OSU’s hurry-up offense, the Cowboys were all but unstoppable for UTSA. Walsh’s 10-yard pass to Josh Stewart made it 21-7 three and a half minutes into the second quarter.
“J.W. played well,” Gundy said. “He obviously threw the ball effectively. We did a nice job of taking care of the football. We were able to run an up-tempo offense for the most part. He was able to execute our offense with a lot of speed.”
Walsh came up with his rushing TD less than seven minutes later and ended the first-half scoring four plays after the Cowboys’ Ryan Simmons intercepted Soza and returned it 27 yards to the Roadrunners’ 32. Running back Jeremy Smith got the call and ran in from a yard out with less than a minute before halftime.