Oklahoma State football: Why Spencer Sanders is the Cowboys' present and future at quarterback
STILLWATER — Holding the MVP trophy from the Cheez-It Bowl in December, Spencer Sanders had firmed up his grip on Oklahoma State’s starting quarterback job.
Sanders turned in his best performance of the year in the season’s final game, showing the consistency, accuracy and game management the Cowboys needed from their leader.
Here’s a look at where the Cowboys’ quarterback position stands heading into 2021:
Season rewind: It had the look of a long year from the start, when Sanders suffered an ankle injury on the first series of the season opener against Tulsa.
True freshman Shane Illingworth guided the Cowboys through wins over Tulsa, West Virginia and Kansas before Sanders returned for a huge win over Iowa State.
But inconsistency and a habit of turning the ball over haunted Sanders at times down the stretch as the Cowboys lost three of the next five games.
But Sanders put on a display of brilliance against Miami in the Cheez-It Bowl victory.
Who’s out: None
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Who’s in: Gunnar Gundy, Fr.
The take: At times during the season, it seemed like the Cowboys might need to go into the offseason with an open quarterback battle, but Sanders closed the door on that conversation with his bowl performance.
Still, Sanders will be reminded that he can’t relax in his position, with Illingworth getting a good load of work in the second-team spot.
The key for Sanders is replicating the consistency he showed in the bowl game on a regular basis going forward.
Projected depth chart
Spencer Sanders, RSo., 6-1, 205
Shane Illingworth, Fr., 6-5, 220
Ethan Bullock, RJr., 6-3, 215
Gunnar Gundy, Fr., 6-1, 195
Scott Wright covers OSU athletics, especially football. You can send your story ideas to him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ScottWrightOK. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.