Walsh, Oklahoma State hang with FSU in 37-31 loss
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — J.W. Walsh is running an Oklahoma State offense desperately short on experienced players.
The Cowboys started the season with a pretty good building block Saturday night, even if it wasn’t a win over No. 1 Florida State.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston threw for 370 yards and had a sparking 28-yard scoring run to offset a pair of touchdowns from Walsh, and the defending national champion Seminoles held on to beat the Cowboys 37-31.
Playing in the $1.2 billion home of the Dallas Cowboys, where the next national title will be decided in January, Walsh brought Oklahoma State back from a 17-0 deficit but couldn’t get one more shot in the final 2 minutes after his second rushing TD.
“To be able to battle back the way we did with all the young guys taking the field for us, it was good to see,” said Walsh, who had 203 yards passing and led the Cowboys with 51 yards on the ground. “We’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Winston wasn’t nearly as efficient as he was in the college debut that jump-started his Heisman season a year ago. But he made plays when it mattered to help the Seminoles hang on.
The unranked Cowboys were 19-point underdogs but stayed close when Walsh matched Winston’s scoring run with a 24-yard sprint and dive across the goal line to get within 27-24 early in the fourth quarter.
“You don’t ever know what to expect with so many young players on the field,” said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, whose offense only has two players with at least 10 career starts. “But we never saw any fear in any of their eyes.”
Winston’s only passing touchdown was a 50-yarder to Rashad Greene, who had 203 yards receiving.
The scoring pass, which gave Florida State a 37-24 lead, was set up when P.J. Williams sent Walsh cart-wheeling to the turf on a hit that forced a fumble. Williams recovered the loose ball.
“We all preached it, but I do think they felt the pressure of being No. 1. I do,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Now I think we can relax and go play football.”
The Seminoles were up three in the third quarter when Winston broke loose for the longest run of his career. He hurdled offensive lineman Josue Matias at the 10 and sidestepped a defender at the 5 before diving across the goal line as the ball was falling out of his arms.
The score was reviewed, and Oklahoma State players celebrated on the sideline when the giant video board showed the ball coming out near the goal line.
Seconds later referee Land Clark of the Pac-12 announced that the touchdown was upheld, drawing loud reactions from both sides of a crowd split pretty evenly between Florida State’s dark red and Oklahoma State’s bright orange.
“We just needed a play,” Winston said. “Everybody contributed on that play. A 300-pound lineman, when he cuts a linebacker all the way down the field, which was amazing, I had no choice but to put the ball in the end zone.”
Winston was 25 of 40 with two interceptions and several other misfires a year after throwing just two incompletions to beat Pitt in his debut. Cowboys defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah gave Winston the most trouble, getting two sacks and breaking up two passes.
Speedy Oklahoma State newcomer Tyreek Hill had 106 yards combined rushing and receiving. He was a perfect decoy on a 55-yard scoring pass to David Glidden, who was uncovered and ran untouched after catching the ball at the 30 to make it 20-17.
“We know he’s fast,” Gundy said. “We confirmed that. Because those guys who were chasing him are fast.”
Hill recovered from a botched kickoff return that stranded the Cowboys at their 3-yard line and led to Nate Andrews’ 9-yard interception return for the game’s first touchdown.
Oklahoma State also had trouble on punts, with a bad snap on what was supposed to be a fake leading to the drive that ended in Winston’s scoring run. Another poor snap in the fourth quarter gave Florida State good field position, and Robert Aguayo’s third field goal put the Seminoles up by six.