By JOHN ZENOR, AP Sports Writer
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Mason Rudolph became Oklahoma State’s most prolific passer with another impressive stat line. The defense was awfully good, too.
Rudolph passed for 335 yards and three touchdowns, ran for a score and, oh by the way, broke the 11th-ranked Cowboys’ career passing mark in the 11th-ranked Cowboys’ 44-7 victory over South Alabama on Friday night.
Getting that record, he said, “was cool” but not that big of a deal personally.
“That’s not even one of the goals on my goal sheet,” Rudolph said. “Getting the Big 12 title is the ultimate goal, and it’s going to take a lot more of these performances to get there.”
He and the Cowboys (2-0) are off to a pretty good start.
Rudolph topped Brandon Weeden’s mark of 9,260 yards late in the second quarter and finished the night with 9,352. He completed 25 of 38 passes for the Cowboys before heading to the sideline late in the third quarter. The 6-foot-5 senior has accounted for eight touchdowns in two games.
Rudolph and the team’s other leaders helped ensure the Cowboys didn’t have a letdown against a heavy underdog on a night generally reserved for high school ball.
“It can happen,” coach Mike Gundy said. “You can come here and guys can lose focus. It’s happened to us before. The leadership that he provides and a few other guys prevent that from happening most of the time.”
Oklahoma State’s defense throttled the Sun Belt Conference’s Jaguars (0-2), who lost starting quarterback Cole Garvin to a sprained right ankle after one series.
The Cowboys outgained South Alabama 505-175 in total yards and carried a shutout into the final five minutes.
“They just out-executed us,” South Alabama coach Joey Jones said. “Their quarterback was tremendous. They made a lot of big plays and completed a bunch of third-down throws. When you play a team like that, you can’t afford to not execute.”
Rudolph completed a 66-yard touchdown pass on a short slant pass-and-run to James Washington and connected on scoring strikes of 4 and 20 yards to Marcell Ateman.
“Surprisingly, they were really in a run-prevention defense most of the night and allowed us to throw the ball pretty successfully,” Gundy said.
Justin Phillips scored on a 25-yard interception return off a deflection by lineman Darrion Daniels.
OKLAHOMA STATE: The Cowboys’ offense didn’t quite match its 640-yard, 59-point performance against Tulsa, but the defense handled South Alabama most of the way. It didn’t matter much that leading rusher Justice Hill had a quiet night with 27 yards on 11 carries, along with four catches for 46 yards. Held South Alabama to 1-of-10 on third down conversions.
SOUTH ALABAMA: Has allowed nearly 800 passing yards against Mississippi and Oklahoma State. Backup quarterback Dallas Davis, a 10-game starter last season, completed 13 of 23 passes for 126 yards. He hit Maaseiah Francis for a late 17-yard touchdown.
Oklahoma State linebacker Calvin Bundage was ejected for targeting on the first play of the third quarter. He’ll miss the first half at Pittsburgh, a blow to an already-depleted linebacking corps. Kenneth Edison-McGruder missed the game with an injury and is day-to-day, Gundy said. He said backup Kevin Henry sustained a knee injury during a non-contact drill on Thursday and is likely out for the season.
“Bundage put us in a bind there when we lost him,” Gundy said.
SEE YOU LATER
The Cowboys will get two home games against South Alabama in exchange for playing in front of a crowd of 26,487 with a number of empty seats at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jaguars visit Stillwater next season and in 2023.
Oklahoma State visits Pittsburgh on Saturday, Sept. 16, before opening Big 12 play against TCU.
South Alabama gets a break from Power 5 opponents, facing FCS Alabama A&M.
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25
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