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2012 Fiesta Bowl Recap: Oklahoma State Outguns Stanford

Danny Lee |
January 2, 2012 | 11:35 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

QB Brandon Weeden led the Cowboys to their first BCS game victory. (KT King/Creative Commons)
QB Brandon Weeden led the Cowboys to their first BCS game victory. (KT King/Creative Commons)

No. 3 Oklahoma State defeated No. 4 Stanford 41-38 in Monday's Fiesta Bowl overtime thriller in Glendale, Ariz. Here is a summary of the highly-anticipated shootout for those who may have missed it.

The Game Was Over When...

Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden completed a 24-yard pass in overtime on 2nd and 10 to Colton Chelf to place the Cowboys (12-1) on the 1-yard line. OSU kicker Quinn Sharp converted the 22-yard field goal to hand the Cowboys the victory in their first-ever Bowl Championship Series game appearance.

When Stanford Had the Ball:

Quarterback Andrew Luck might garner most of the headlines, but the Cardinal (11-2) were by no means a one-trick-pony offense in their showdown with Cowboys. Junior running back Stepfan Taylor helped provide Stanford with a balanced run-pass attack. Taylor carried the ball 35 times, rushing for a career-high 177 yards and two touchdowns.

Andrew Luck went 29-for-40 for 330 yards and three TDs. (Sara Ramsey/Neon Tommy)
Andrew Luck went 29-for-40 for 330 yards and three TDs. (Sara Ramsey/Neon Tommy)

Stanford was in control for much of the game and had little trouble in moving the ball against OSU's defense. Luck completed 27 of 31 passes for 347 yards and tallied two touchdown passes to go with an interception in his final collegiate outing.

The Cardinal punted the ball just twice — none in the second half — and should have won the game if not for late-game special teams miscues.

When Oklahoma State Had the Ball:

On the other hand, the Cowboys are notoriously known for featuring a pass-heavy offense, but with a big-play wide receiver Justin Blackmon to throw to, it's hard to fault them for that. OSU produced 399 yards of offense in 42 pass attempts, but just 13 yards on 15 carries.

The Cowboys' offense was held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season. Their four drives in the first quarter produced an interception (on the first play of the game) and three punts. But head coach Mike Gundy's no-huddle offense eventually had Stanford's defense reeling and fatigued toward the end of regulation when the Cowboys knotted the game at 38-38 and moved the ball in overtime to set up the winning field goal.

Cardinal Sin

Cheer up, Boise State fans. Your team might not be playing in a BCS bowl game, but at least your kickers are no longer the standard-bearers for shanking late-game field goals. That dubious distinction now probably gets passed on to Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson.

His missed field goal from 35 yards, which could have won the game in regulation, was just the second time all season the Cardinal failed to produce points after getting the ball inside the red zone. Stanford scored on all four of its trips inside the red zone Monday before the missed kick. Williamson also missed the 43-yard attempt in overtime that preceded the Cowboys' game-winning drive.

Game MVP: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

WR Justin Blackmon (KT King/Creative Commons)
WR Justin Blackmon (KT King/Creative Commons)
The Cowboys could get away with running the ball just six times in the first half, with Blackmon in unstoppable form. The projected top-10 draft pick (he announced after the game that he's entering the Draft) accounted for 139 of OSU's 250 total first-half yards. Blackmon finished with 186 receiving yards on eight receptions to go with three touchdown receptions, and showcased his deep-play abilities with 43- and 67-yard touchdown catches.

Honorable Mention: Colton Chelf, WR, Oklahoma State

The senior capped his Cowboys career with five receptions for 97 yards, including the catch that led to the game-winning field goal in overtime.

Legging Out a Triple...er...Touchdown

Weeden might not be known for his mobility, but the OSU quarterback picked the perfect moment to punch in the first rushing touchdown of his college career. The former minor league pitching prospect ran it in from two yards out on a 3rd-and-goal play to tie the game 21-21 just before halftime. Weeden's score was critical in helping the Cowboys keep things close after the sluggish start.

Tiger Sighting

Tiger Woods (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Tiger Woods (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
There's at least one injury-plagued 30-something athlete who probably doesn't mind standing on the sideline while Luck takes all the snaps. For all the speculation surrounding the Indianapolis Colts possibly selecting Luck with the first-overall pick to play alongside Peyton Manning, Stanford alum Tiger Woods was the Cardinal's honorary captain for the Fiesta Bowl. That had me pondering one question, between Tiger and Peyton, which aging superstar has a better shot of making a comeback in 2012?

Better Luck Tomorrow

For Stanford, it was a missed opportunity that the team could be mulling over for some time to come because of how smoothly the team ran its offense from start to finish. The Cardinal posted 588 yards of total offense on the board, produced 29 first downs (compared to the Cowboys' 17) and had a 41:47 to 18:13 time-of-possession advantage in regulation.

For Oklahoma State, the gutsy win over a top-five team like Stanford proved that it deserved to be in the same discussion as the likes of LSU and Alabama, the two teams vying for the BCS national title. The Cowboys could have suffered a hangover after being snubbed of a spot in that title game, but credit them for taking Stanford's best punch and surviving.

With Stanford's loss, the Pac-12 wrapped up its 2011-12 bowl season going 2-5, with Oregon and Utah recording the only two wins. OSU's victory pushed the Big 12's bowl record to 6-1.


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