CFN Bowl Analysis ... Alamo
Oklahoma St 36 ... Arizona 10
The crazy part about it was how the Cowboys made it look so easy.
Long layoffs are supposed to effect the timing and the rhythm of
high-octane offenses, and while Oklahoma State only put up 313 yards and
was outgained by Arizona, it was able to put it on cruise control in the
second half because of its ... defense?
It was all offense, offense, offense in the pre-Alamo hype, and rightly
so considering the talent coming into the game, but the defense came up
with four takeaways, Markelle Martin returned a bad Nick Foles throw for
a touchdown, and outside of the one long drive in the first quarter, OSU
didn't allow a touchdown for over 50 minutes. That allowed the offense
to take it easy and put it on cruise control.
While the Wildcats pulled to within 13 in the second half, the OSU
offense responded with 13 unanswered points and put the game away. The
OSU pass rush screwed up the Arizona offense, Cowboy QB Brandon Weeden
looked the part of an NFL passer when he had to, and this was a
coronation in what'll go down as the most successful season in OSU
history. But this could be the last hurrah.
Weeden is ready for the NFL, especially at 27, and Justin Blackmon is
all but gone after continuing his record-setting ways. Throw in the loss
of RB Kendall Hunter and offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, and
there's a chance that this could be the last hurrah for a special
offense. And if it is, even with all the young talent coming in, OSU
cruised past a solid Pac 10 team and showed that 2010 was for real and
that the Cowboys can reload in a hurry. After two straight bowl losses,
Mike Gundy can go into an offseason with a little swagger.
- There will be plenty of talk about how Arizona got blasted for a
second year in a row in a bowl game, but this year was different. The
team quit/never showed up in last year's embarrassment of a Holiday Bowl
loss to Nebraska, but this year's team was fighting until the end.
- Arizona QB Nick Foles might have led the Pac 10 in passing, but he
still has miles to go before he can be in the same level as Andrew Luck,
Jake Locker, and Matt Barkley. He didn't do a good job of anticipating
the open receiver, and the result was too many broken up passes and the
OSU safeties, that could wait around and react.
- Did Justin Blackmon look in any way like a player who plans on coming
back for another year?
- I got yelled at by a lot of readers for putting Blackmon No. 2 on my
Heisman ballot (okay, so most of the complainers were from Eugene and
Palo Alto), but a reasonable case could be made that his all-timer of a
season should've made him far more of a threat to Cam Newton.
- What's amazing about the blowout is that Kendall Hunter didn't matter.
15 of his 32 yards came on one play.
- How did Dan Bailey do handling the Oklahoma State punting duties with
Quinn Sharp academically ineligible? He averaged a solid 39 yards per
boot putting on inside the 20, and he nailed all three of his field goal
- Pac 10 fans, this might have been the start of uh-oh time.
- This was the Big 12's fifth win in the last six Alamo Bowls.
Remember the Alamo? Not if you're a member of the Arizona football team.
For the second straight postseason, the Wildcats got thoroughly whipped by a Big 12 opponent, failing to improve on last December's 33-0 beatdown at the hands of Nebraska. Go ahead and feel free to start wondering aloud if the program has hit a brick wall under head coach Mike Stoops. Sure, the ‘Cats have been to three consecutive bowls, but in a system that invites more than half of its members, is that enough in Tucson? Making matters worse has been the team's play in November and December. Arizona will carry the burden of a five-game losing streak into the offseason, which includes a home loss to rival Arizona State and Wednesday's face-plant in San Antonio. From ranked to rancid, the Wildcats have fallen off a cliff since climbing as high as No. 11 in the polls, and the staff will bear the brunt of the criticism.
- If football is Justin Blackmon's primary objective at this stage of his life, he shouldn't even consider returning to Stillwater in 2011. Against a talented secondary, it was once again evident that he's outgrown this level of competition.
- With all due respect to Mizzou's Blaine Gabbert and Oklahoma's Landry Jones, Cowboy graybeard Brandon Weeden throws the best ball of any current Big 12 hurler. He gets maximum RPMs on his passes, shows light feet in the pocket, and has nice touch on his deep balls. He'll play on Sundays.
- It won't get as much attention as it deserves, but Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young did a bang-up job prepping for this game. Maligned throughout the season, his Cowboys were the unsung heroes of the blowout, shutting down Arizona and creating four turnovers.
By Matt Zemek
So, one year after a 33-0 no-show against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl, Arizona served up another face-plant in the Alamo Bowl. Yes, the Oklahoma State Cowboys figured to win this game big, but it's still alarming to behold the fullness of the Wildcats' utter collapse in San Antonio.
Nick Foles has plainly regressed as a quarterback compared to last season, and he certainly didn't make use of pre-bowl practices. Arizona's receivers were shaky, both front lines got owned, and the secondary was easily outclassed by Justin "I'm As Arrogant As DeSean Jackson" Blackmon. However, as hard as it must be for Arizona fans and Athletic Director Greg Byrne to witness all of those events inside the Alamodome, the moment that has to sting the most for the Wildcat football family came at the very end of the first half.
The video of the sequence tells the story plainly: Mike Stoops, who has clearly not turned the corner in Tucson despite being given a fair chance to do something with the U of A program, ripped off his headset and then began to walk toward the locker room with four seconds left before halftime. At the time, Stoops had two timeouts and his offense held the ball at the Oklahoma State 41. A Hail Mary was a legitimate option; at the very least, something should have been done to pursue a scoring opportunity. Yet, Stoops – immersed in anger – was not focused on game management. His mind was on his halftime speech. That's the sign of an immature coach, a man who can't pay attention to details or focus on the present moment. If there was ever a snapshot for the passionate but inconsistent Stoops era near the Old Pueblo, that was it. Mr. Byrne needs to think long and hard about keeping Stoops around for yet another season.
--One night after Missouri allowed an inferior Iowa team to steal a win in the Insight Bowl, Oklahoma State upheld the honor a of a Big 12 Conference that also got dinged up when Baylor didn't show up against Illinois. The Cowboys deserved a better bowl game and matchup than this one, but they didn't sulk. Instructively, offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen flourished in his final game as a Cowboy. This was an impressive performance by Oklahoma State; one only wishes that the Jack Tatum-style headhunting in the secondary could have been avoided, along with the "look-at-me" DeSean Jackson idiocy that was demonstrated by Mr. Blackmon.
-- Recall the OSU touchdown catch late in the third quarter that was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass? As was the case with Calvin Johnson's non-touchdown catch for the Detroit Lions in game one of this year's NFL season, that play by Oklahoma State demonstrated college football's stupid obsession with over-legislating the rulebook. In future years, the rulebook needs to be simplified, not expanded, on the matter of legal catches, especially in the red zone. If you get one foot down with control of the ball, that should be it: touchdown. In the end zone, pass-catchers and ballcarriers have nowhere to run. When you have possession for just one second in the end zone, that should be enough to merit six points. Instead, both college football and the NFL have developed a strange and unfortunate insistence on making it harder to complete a touchdown catch in the end zone. This isn't football; it's legalism, and it needs to be undone as soon as humanly possible.