Oklahoma State, Stanford put on quite a show in Fiesta Bowl

Jan 3, 2012, 7:24 AM | Updated: 11:33 pm

Glendale, ARIZ — Monday’s Fiesta Bowl matchup between
Oklahoma State and Stanford was supposed to be a good one.

Pitting No. 3 (Oklahoma State) against No. 4 (Stanford)
should have added enough intrigue, but the game also
featured two of the nation’s best quarterbacks in the
Cardinal’s Andrew Luck and Cowboys’ Brandon Weeden.

The game did not disappoint on any level, with Oklahoma
State winning 41-38 in overtime and the quarterbacks
being on top of their respective games, as they combined
to complete 56 of 73 passes for a Fiesta Bowl-record 746
yards and five touchdowns.

It was also the first time in the game’s 41-year history
both teams had QBs throw for more than 300 yards, and
Oklahoma’s Justin Blackmon caught eight passes for 186
yards and three touchdowns.

“I think what made this game real neat was the offensive
firepower on both sides,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy
said after the game. “And you had two future NFL
quarterbacks.”

Yes, the stars were shone very bright in Glendale, and it
was certainly a pleasure to watch.

No one who left University of Phoenix Stadium
should have done so disappointed, and the only ones
hanging their heads were wearing Stanford colors. However,
even they should be proud of what the team accomplished
this season, losing just twice with a new coach and
winning games despite a ridiculous amount of injuries.
They had Luck, though, and that was enough.

“He’s a Hall of Fame college football player,” Stanford
coach David Shaw said of his QB. “They come around every
20 years or so. He hates to hear that, but it’s the dog-
gone truth.”

Shaw added that his sentiments have nothing to do with how
Luck throws a football, but that very quality kept
Stanford in the game and, really, put it in position
to win at the end. If not for a miss by Jordan Williamson
on a 35-yard attempt, the story would be about Luck
leading a great final drive in his last game before
heading to the NFL, likely as the top pick in the draft.

But, the kick sailed wide – way wide – and overtime was
not kind to Luck or the Cardinal. However, even with the
bitter loss, Luck said he has no regrets about forgoing
the NFL Draft last year for one more shot in college.

“Yes, it was worth it,” he said. “Not to say I enjoyed
every moment, because I didn’t. But I would never regret
it. I felt I grew a lot as a person, as a player.”

Even with Luck’s imminent departure, it’s hard to imagine
the Cardinal fading away as a program.

“These guys right up here, in particular these seniors up
here, they came in with Andrew,” Shaw
said at the postgame podium, with a handful of his players
to his right. “They came in with the mind-set that they
are going to make a splash here, that they were going to
show the nation that you can be a high academic
institution and go to BCS Bowl games and make it happen.”

They did a fine job, but were just not able to make it
happen in the final moments Monday, and there’s no shame
in that.

After all, they faced and Oklahoma State team that was in
the National Championship picture until November, only
“falling” to the Fiesta Bowl because of a double-overtime
loss at Iowa State. They deserved every bit of their
ranking, and maybe even a shot at the title. But, for now,
they’ll just have to make due with a Fiesta Bowl victory.

“I would say this is probably the biggest win in Oklahoma
State football history, I think,” Weeden said. “This is
the 12th win and it has never been done; we have never
been in this situation before.”

It’s tough to say when the Cowboys may be in this
situation again, as it’s tough to replace both a start QB
and WR in one season. However, it would be foolish to
doubt Gundy, who has built a great program in Stillwater
and isn’t likely to be “down” for long.

“It is difficult to let these young men go, but I have a
lot of excitement for the future,” Gundy said.

That’s great, because his team and Stanford combined to
give everyone plenty of excitement Monday night.

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Oklahoma State, Stanford put on quite a show in Fiesta Bowl