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October 16, 2012

OSU’s quarterback quandry persists

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy still isn’t sure whether starting quarterback Wes Lunt can return from his knee injury or backup J.W. Walsh will get another start against Iowa State. Either way, he knows the Cowboys will need to block better than they did against Kansas.

Oklahoma State, which has the Big 12’s top-rated offense, finished with 371 total yards — more than 200 below its season average — in a closer-than-expected 20-14 win at Kansas on Saturday. The Cowboys, forced by wet weather conditions to run the football more than usual, had just 116 yards rushing on 44 attempts.

Walsh, who’s started the last three games in place of Lunt, threw for 255 yards, although 72 of that came on a short pass that receiver Charlie Moore turned into a touchdown.

Kansas players “were just more physical up front than our guys,” Gundy said Monday. “We had practiced well, but defensively, they played with more effort than we did up front on offense, so we weren’t very effective running the football. That forced us into a situation where we became somewhat predictable throwing the ball.

“It was good to get out of there with a win. We’ll need to play much better this week to beat Iowa State.”

It was the Cyclones who effectively ended Oklahoma State’s national championship hopes last season, stunning the visiting Cowboys 37-31 in double overtime on Nov. 18, one day after Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna and two boosters died in a plane crash in Arkansas.

That was Oklahoma State’s only loss in a 12-1 season

Gundy gave no indication Monday if Lunt — who injured his left knee early in a win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 15 — will return when Oklahoma State (3-2, 1-1) hosts Iowa State (4-2, 1-2) on Saturday.

Asked Lunt’s status, Gundy said simply “day-to-day,” although he noted that Lunt “is out there with us” during practice and is working with the Cowboys’ first-team unit.

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