OSU edges Stanford in Fiesta Bowl thriller

slider fiesta_bowl_scoreboardIt took awhile, but eventually we got what we expected from the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Many thought Stanford-Oklahoma State would be a classic and in the end, the 69,927 couldn’t ask for a better script as OSU Quinn Sharp sealed the Cowboys 41-38 overtime victory with a 22-yard field goal on the game’s final play.  

Stanford struck first when All-American quarterback Andrew Luck connected with Ty Montgomery on a 53-yard score down the seam to put the Cardinal ahead 7-0. The strike came two plays after Luck found tight end Zach Ertz for 11 yards on third and ten to extend the drive.

They built their lead in the second quarter when fifth-year senior tailback Jeremy Stewart cut left and darted down the sidelines 24 yards to make it 14-0 following the PAT. The dash capped a seven-play drive which started at the Stanford 13 following a nice punt by Sharp.

“We just started slow,” OSU head coach Mike Gundy explained. “Our tempo wasn’t good. We just had to make some adjustments.”

The Cowboys finally woke up offensively on the next possession when senior quarterback Brandon Weeden hit future first-round pick Justin Blackmon for a 43-yard touchdown to cut the lead in half. It was Blackmon’s first reception of the game, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Following a Stanford three-and-out, the Weeden-to-Blackmon big play connection struck again, this time from 67 yards to pull the Pokes even at 14.

The teams swapped touchdowns and went into the half deadlocked at 21. Stanford rolled up 307 total yards at the intermission, while the Cowboys had 250. Weeden accounted for 239 of those through the air. Cardinal running back Stephan Taylor had 82 yards rushing on 13 carries. 

Midway through the third quarter Stanford looked to pad their 28-21 lead, but fullback Geoff Meinken fumbled and OSU recovered deep in Cardinal territory. However, the Cowboys drive stalled and they settled for a 19-yard Dan Quinn field goal to make it 28-24. 

Stanford pushed the margin back to seven following Jordan Williamson’s 30-yard field goal two plays into the fourth quarter.

Weeden-to-Blackmon completed the hat trick as they pulled the Pokes even after their 17-yard hookup made it 31-31 and set the stage for another classic Fiesta Bowl finish. 

Following Taylor’s second touchdown, Oklahoma State responded with a Joseph Randle four-yard touchdown to tie the game at 38.

That’s when Luck proved why many feel he’ll be a star at the next level. The redshirt junior completed five straight setting the stage Williamson, but his 35-yarder sailed wide left and sent the game into overtime.

Oklahoma State won the toss and deferred, but Williamson missed again, this time from 43.

Two plays later Weeden found Colton Chelf to the Stanford one setting up Quinn’s game-winner.

Blackmon was named the Offensive Player of the Game after his eight-catch, 186 yard, three touchdown performance. 

Weeden, who finished 29-42 for 399 yards and three touchdowns, described what the first BCS victory and 12-win season meant.

“This is the biggest win in Oklahoma State history,” he said. “This season has been an unbelievable ride.”