NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

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

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

Quarterback

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 swright@oklahoman.com or on Twitter at @ScottWrightOK. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

Related Photos
<strong>Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) takes the snap in a game against Texas Tech in November. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) takes the snap in a game against Texas Tech in November. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b1a714c3bdc95b49ab6823fbfc7e7b2b.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) takes the snap in a game against Texas Tech in November. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title=" Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) takes the snap in a game against Texas Tech in November. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) takes the snap in a game against Texas Tech in November. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›

Comments