Oklahoma State football quarterback Spencer Sanders was named the league’s only first-team all-conference player at his position when the Big 12 Conference announced its annual individual awards today.
The first-team all-Big 12 quarterback honor comes in a banner year for Sanders, who has led the Cowboys to the nation’s No. 5 overall ranking and the brink of the College Football Playoff at the conclusion of the 2021 regular season.
Oklahoma State football’s Spencer Sanders was the only quarterback named to the All-Big 12 first team for the 2021 season.
With still a conference title game and a bowl game remaining, Sanders now ranks sixth all-time among OSU quarterbacks in terms of career passing yards (6,283) and career passing touchdowns (46) through only three seasons. The only Cowboys quarterbacks better than Sanders in these categories are Mason Rudolph, Brandon Weeden, Mike Gundy, Josh Fields, and Zac Robinson.
It’s pretty amazing company to be included with legendary OSU names like those.
The Denton, Tex. native finished the 2021 regular season with 2,211 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He also tallied 510 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground.
Sanders beat out some other talented quarterbacks such as Iowa State’s Brock Purdy and OU’s Caleb Williams to earn the first-team All-Big 12 honors.
Most importantly, though, was Sanders’ ability to lead the Cowboys to their best season in a decade. As his comfort level increased in the pocket and his decision-making improved throughout the fall, Sanders led the Cowboys to an 11-1 record and the nation’s No. 5 ranking. While anchored by a stingy Cowboys defense, he guided an OSU offense that still averaged more than 408 yards and 31 points per game.
If there were doubts about Sanders’ playmaking or concerns that he turned the ball over too much to be a quality quarterback, those critics are silenced now.
Head coach Mike Gundy won Big 12 Coach of the Year, becoming only the sixth coach to win the award more than once. Two OSU players were honored among the conference’s individual awards: running back Jaylen Warren won the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and defensive end Collin Oliver won Big 12 Freshman of the Year.
Five other Cowboys players were announced as part of the All-Big 12 first team honorees — offensive lineman Josh Sills, linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, defensive lineman Brock Martin, and defensive backs Jarrick Bernard-Converse and Kolby Harvell-Peel.
Oklahoma State will participate in its first-ever Big 12 championship game this Saturday, taking on No. 9 Baylor in Arlington, Tex. at 11 a.m. on ABC.