John Klein: Cowboys overcame slow starts in first, third quarters
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
1/03/12 at 6:29 AM
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GLENDALE, Ariz. - Oklahoma State didn't show up in the first and third quarters of the Fiesta Bowl.
But, for the second and fourth quarters, OSU's offense was a thing of beauty.
Then, in overtime, the Cowboys were solid gold.
Oklahoma State, finishing off one of the most wonderful seasons in school history, knocked home a 22-yard field goal in the first overtime for a 41-38 overtime victory over Stanford on Monday night in the Fiesta Bowl.
"I couldn't be happier for our fans and players and coaches," said OSU coach Mike Gundy. "This is a great victory for Oklahoma State football."
Quinn Sharp hit the field goal to give OSU its 12th victory of the season, the most in school history.
Despite OSU's slow starts in both halves, the game turned out to be the scoring fest that most expected.
"We started kind of slow but we finally got it going," said OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Still, it turned on defense and a little luck. You need a little of both to have the kind of season OSU had this year.
The luck was Stanford's inability to kick short field goals.
Stanford's Jordan Williamson missed a 35-yard field goal that would have won the game at the buzzer in regulation.
"Our kids played hard but they just didn't finish the game," said Stanford coach David Shaw.
Then, in overtime, OSU's defense showed up for the first time after halftime and made a stop, forcing Stanford to attempt a 43-yarder that was missed.
That opened the door for OSU's heroics. Weeden hit Colton Chelf on a 24-yard pass to the Stanford 1 that was originally signaled a touchdown.
However, upon review, it was placed on the Stanford 1. One play, to move the ball to the middle of the field, was followed by Sharp's game-winner.
It was an exciting finish to perhaps the most exciting season in OSU history. The Cowboys, with an electrifying offense, finished 12-1 with Big 12 Conference and Fiesta Bowl championships.
It was appropriate that Justin Blackmon and Stanford's Andrew Luck were the big heroes in this game.
Blackmon caught eight passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns.
Blackmon's first two catches of the game, just minutes apart, went for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
Luck was equally fabulous. He hit 27-of-31 for 347 yards and two touchdowns.
"It was a great game but we're very disappointed," said Luck.
Weeden, who started poorly, finished 29-of-42 for 399 yards and three touchdowns.
It was Blackmon who seemed to rescue the Cowboys with big catches in the second and fourth quarters.
Oklahoma State was on the verge of a loss before the Cowboys got the first of two gifts from the Cardinal.
The Cowboys couldn't stop Luck, especially when they had an even game late in the fourth quarter.
However, Williamson couldn't convert Luck's late drive, missing a 35-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.
OSU had plenty of firepower and Blackmon was fabulous in his final game.
After the game, the junior wide receiver told a television interviewer that he was definitely making himself available for the NFL draft.
Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert celebrates after they defeated Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 2, 2012 in Glendale, Az. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World