GLENDALE, Ariz. — Brandon Weeden threw for 399 yards and three touchdowns to Justin Blackmon in their final collegiate game, leading No. 3 Oklahoma State to a 41-38 overtime win over Andrew Luck and No. 4 Stanford in an entertaining Fiesta Bowl on Monday.
The most anticipated postseason game outside of the BCS championship, the Fiesta Bowl was an impressive offensive show, two of the nation’s best teams trading big plays and scores.
Oklahoma State (12-1) came up with the last one on Quinn Sharp’s 22-yard field goal in overtime to win its first BCS bowl game, earning the right to stake claim at being No. 1 in The Associated Press poll should Alabama beat Louisiana State in the BCS title game.
“Our team rallied. Every time we got down, they just found a way to come back,” said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy, who dedicated the victory to the four people who died in the Nov. 17 plane crash that killed Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna.
Oklahoma State, which never led until the final play, was fortunate to get a chance in overtime.
After getting the ball back with 2:35 left in the fourth quarter and the score tied, Luck drove the Cardinal within field-goal range in the closing seconds. Stanford couldn’t finish it off, though. Redshirt freshman Jordan Williamson hooked a 35-yard field goal wide left as time expired, then missed from 43 yards in overtime.
Williamson was sobbing in front of his locker after the game and didn’t speak with reporters.
“In the end, we lost, and I’m as much to blame as anyone,” Luck said.
Luck completed 27 of 31 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns in his final game before heading to the NFL. Stepfan Taylor ran for 177 yards and a pair of scores, and the Cardinal (11-2) had 590 yards — nearly 200 more than Oklahoma State — but couldn’t pull out their second straight BCS bowl victory.
“Our kids played hard,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “They just didn’t finish the game.”
Usually balanced, Oklahoma State had only 15 yards rushing on 13 carries, but Weeden made up for it, completing 29 of 42 passes and the three scores to Blackmon, who had eight catches for 186 yards.
After the game, Blackmon said he will skip his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. He is expected to be selected high in the first round.
Weeden threw what he thought was the winning touchdown pass in overtime, a 25-yarder to Colton Chelf. But the celebration was put on hold after officials put the ball just inside the 1-yard line after a video review.
Oklahoma State didn’t go for the touchdown, instead setting up the field goal attempt by Sharp, who sent the Cowboys rushing onto the field after his kick went through the uprights.
“I think coast to coast, people have a lot of respect for Oklahoma State football,” Gundy said. “What a great job by our players to battle back all night.”
The Fiesta Bowl needed a pick-me-up game after the year it had.
Last year’s game was a dud on pretty much all accounts. Connecticut had trouble selling its allotment of tickets and keeping up with Oklahoma — a 44-10 rout — leading to a big dip in the ratings.
Not long after that, the bowl got tangled in controversy, nearly losing its BCS status following financial improprieties that were uncovered and led to the firing of executive director John Junker.
This matchup figured to be the ticket to match the golden jackets worn by Fiesta Bowl officials.
Oklahoma State has an electrifying offense — second in scoring, third in total yards — run by the 28-year-old Weeden and featuring Blackmon, the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner.
The Cowboys also came in with a chip on their shoulders, believing they should have gotten a shot at the BCS title game instead of it being a rematch of the field-goal-kicking Game of the Century earlier this season between Alabama and LSU.
Manhandling Oklahoma State’s defense up front, the Cardinal had 225 yards by early in the second quarter and led 14-0 after Luck hit Ty Montgomery on a 53-yard touchdown pass and Jeremy Stewart ran for a 24-yard score.
Oklahoma State’s offense was stranded in the desert early: Weeden threw an interception on his first pass, the Cowboys had 27 yards while failing to score in the opening quarter for the first time this season and Blackmon was nowhere to be found.
That changed in the second — quickly.
Blackmon caught his first pass by splitting the middle of Stanford’s defense for a 43-yard touchdown catch, then showed off his power on the next, brushing off a defender like a jacket over his shoulder before racing for a 67-yard touchdown that tied it 14-all.
Two big catches, 110 yards and the offensive show was on.
Stanford answered with an 80-yard drive in eight plays, capped by Taylor’s 4-yard touchdown run. The Cardinal left too much time, though, and the Cowboys raced down the field for Weeden’s first career rushing touchdown, an ugly-but-effective 2-yarder that made it 21-all at halftime.