By:|CLIFF BRUNT AP Sports Writer
Taylor Cornelius ran for two touchdowns and passed for another to help No. 24 Oklahoma State beat No. 17 Boise State 44-21 on Saturday.
Cornelius, a fifth-year senior who waited his turn behind Mason Rudolph, passed for 243 yards and ran for 41. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Cornelius played well and found a rhythm in his first career start against a ranked opponent.
“I think he’s comfortable when he’s running the ball some,” Gundy said. “He gets into the flow of the game, right? Like a 3-point shooter in basketball — hits a couple threes, he gets hot, and you give it to him and he starts hitting a few more.”
Justice Hill ran for 123 yards and a touchdown, and Tylan Wallace had five catches for 105 yards for the Cowboys (3-0). It was one of the most important nonconference wins in Gundy’s 14-year tenure.
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.
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.
Boise State plays at Wyoming on Sept. 29.
Oklahoma State hosts Texas Tech on Sept. 22.