If the Texas Bowl was his last game as a Cowboy, Mike Gundy's son ended it in fitting fashion.
HOUSTON — When the Gundy family moved into their new home 12 years ago, Gunnar Gundy had an oddly specific request for the wallpaper in his room.
He wanted Oklahoma State football wallpaper. And not just any OSU-themed wallpaper, but the wallpaper from one of his favorite places — the suite in Boone Pickens Stadium where he grew up watching his father Mike coach the Cowboys.
Twelve years after that decorating decision, sophomore quarterback Gunnar Gundy’s OSU career is over. The Cowboys beat Texas A&M 31-23 in the Texas Bowl on Wednesday night. Gunnar, who entered the transfer portal on Dec. 6 and played just one snap in the game, has been unavailable for interviews since the preseason.
Those who know Gunnar best know just how much the one snap he took against Texas A&M means to him.
With 9:29 left in the second quarter, Gunnar ran onto the field for a first-down play from the Texas A&M 10-yard line. He clapped once for the snap, looked to his left and darted right on a designed run. He followed running back Ollie Gordon untouched into the end zone, scoring his first-career rushing touchdown and putting the Cowboys up 17-6.
Mike Gundy said OSU has had Gunnar’s red zone package installed for three weeks and it made sense to finally use it.
“We had four or five plays where, if they wanted to lighten the box, (Gunnar) would run it,” Mike said. “If they pressed up on him, we were going to throw it.”
Pending a last-second portal pullout, Gunnar will play elsewhere next season. He played in eight total games for OSU, completing 40 of 73 passes for 449 yards. He threw four career touchdowns, four interceptions and ran for 120 yards. His most notable accomplishment at OSU was in this year’s season opener. Gunnar led two late touchdown drives against a feisty Central Arkansas team to avoid an upset loss.
Gunnar competed for the starting job at OSU this season but lost out to senior Alan Bowman. With Bowman potentially coming back, and sophomore Garret Rangel and freshman Zane Flores also in the picture, Gunnar’s role at OSU seemed set to shrink next season.
Offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn spoke readily when asked how he hopes Gunnar is remembered.
“He’s a kid that has come in here and done everything we asked him to do,” Dunn said. “I’m happy for him. I think the portal has some good things going and some bad things going. This is a situation of good things going on. It’s a good opportunity for him to take his skill set down the road. To find a place to sling it around a little bit. I am happy for him on the decision.”
Gunnar garnered interest from Toledo and Eastern Michigan as a recruit and has publicly thanked Abilene Christian and Elon University for scholarship offers since hitting the portal.
Regardless of where he finishes his career, Gunnar accomplished a lifelong goal in his three years as a walk-on backup at OSU.
Again, his boyhood room puts his life in context. The specialized wallpaper was covered with pictures of past Cowboys. Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Hart Lee Dykes and Brandon Weeden. There’s also family photos. Mike’s photos wearing No. 12, the number Gunnar wore, check both boxes.
“I think Gunnar has privately — since he was little, very little, like four and five years old —wanted to play football,” his mom Kristen Gundy said. “He wanted to play for his dad. And that was it. Very simple.”
Bowman said he was delighted to see Gunnar’s touchdown run. Now, Bowman said, he’s excited to see what Gunnar can do elsewhere.
“I think that’s a great way to be remembered (at OSU),” Bowman said. “His last play is a walk-in touchdown against A&M.”