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2012 Fiesta - Oklahoma St 41, Stanford 38 OT

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 2, 2012


2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

2012 Fiesta

Stanford vs. Oklahoma St

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
O S
3rd Total Offense 11th
107th Total Defense 25th
2nd Scoring Offense 6th
61st Scoring Defense 23rd
43rd Rushing Offense 22nd
83rd Run Defense 5th
2nd Passing Offense 26th
102nd Passing Defense 78th
2nd Turnover Margin 25th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
O   S
5 Quarterbacks 5
5 RBs 4
5 Receivers 3
4 O Line 5
3.5 D Line 5
4 Linebackers 4
3.5 Secondary 2.5
3 Spec Teams 3.5
4.5 Coaching 4
Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma State 41 … Stanford 38 OT

Oklahoma State: The Cowboys only committed one penalty. … Brandon Weeden completed 29-of-42 passes for 399 yards and three scores with a pick. … Joseph Randle ran ten times for 23 yards and a score. … Justin Blackmon caught eight passes for 186 yards and three scores. …Alex Elkins made 12 tackles, all solo.

Stanford: The Cardinal outgained OSU 243 rushing yards to 13. … Andrew Luck completed 27-of-31 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns with a pick. … Stephfan Taylor ran 34 times for 177 yards and two touchdowns and caught tree pases for 21 yards. … Ty Montgomery caught seven passes for 120 yards and a score. … Jarek Lancaster and Delano Howell each made seven tackles.

Fiutak - OSU Should've Played LSU
Cirminiello - A Special Fiesta
Sallee - Shaw Lost It
Johnson - Weeden Outplayed Luck
Mitchell - Luck Did His Job
Harrison - No Split Title

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Brandon Weeden threw for 399 yards and three touchdowns to Justin Blackmon in his final collegiate game, and Quinn Sharp hit a 22-yard field goal in overtime to give No. 3 Oklahoma State a 41-38 win over Andrew Luck and No. 4 Stanford in a wildly entertaining Fiesta Bowl on Monday night.

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) had the last one on Sharp's game-winner to win in its first BCS bowl game, earning a chance to stake claim at being No. 1 in The Associated Press poll should Alabama beat LSU in the BCS title game.

Stanford (11-2) had a chance to win in regulation, but redshirt freshman Jordan Williamson hooked a 35-yard field goal wide left as time expired. He also missed from 43 yards in overtime.

Usually balanced Oklahoma State had just 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.

Weeden did his best to keep up with Luck, who hit 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 had 590 yards - nearly 200 more than Oklahoma State - but lost a chance for their second straight BCS bowl victory after Williamson's two misses.

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 shoulder, 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.

Finishing a tantalizingly close .0086 behind the Crimson Tide in the BCS standings, Oklahoma State had plenty to prove, with booster T. Boone Pickens saying the Cowboys should get first-place votes in The Associated Press poll with a Fiesta win and a loss by LSU in the title game.

The Cardinal lost to eventual Pac-12 champion Oregon and crushed nearly everyone else with an offense that was top-15 in scoring and yardage. Stanford also has Luck, the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up and all-but-certain No. 1 overall NFL pick, complemented by a powerful running game that's as good as any anywhere.

Stanford was the only team to live up to the billing in the early going.

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 - and 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.

Stanford opened the second half with a yard-churning drive for a 6-yard touchdown pass from Luck to Zach Ertz to put the Cardinal up 28-21.

Oklahoma State had a great opportunity after recovering Geoff Meinken's fumble at Stanford's 4-yard line, but had to settle for a field goal. After a Stanford field goal, Weeden found Blackmon for a third time, on a 17-yard crossing pass that tied the game at 31.

Taylor put Stanford up 38-31 with 4 1/2 minutes left, ducking behind Stanford's massive offensive line for a 1-yard touchdown. Oklahoma State answered quickly, moving 67 yards in less than two minutes to tie it on Joseph Randle's 4-yard touchdown run.

Luck seemingly had the Cardinal in position after moving 63 yards, but Williamson couldn't come through, sending the game to overtime, where the Cowboys celebrated by mobbing each other in front of the OSU student section.

Oklahoma State (11-1) vs. Stanford (11-1) Jan. 2, 8:30, ESPN

Here’s The Deal … It might be the No. 3 team in the nation vs. the No. 4 team, but it doesn’t matter. This isn’t a playoff game, it’s not for any sort of a Plus One format, and in the bowl world we live in it’s not any more meaningful in the general scheme of things than Temple’s win over Wyoming in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. In this race, there were points for second place, but not third.

But this is a symbolic game for argument’s sake. If Stanford wins, the BCS heads will get a chance to chirp and crow about how the system “got it right.” If Oklahoma State wins, especially if it does it decisively, then the door will be wide open for more screaming and yelling that someone else should’ve gotten a shot against LSU for the national championship.

Depending on what happens, neither side will be 100% right. If the Cardinal win, that still doesn’t mean that Oklahoma State didn’t deserve to play in the BCS championship over Alabama – considering the Cowboys won the Big 12 title and the Tide didn’t even win its own division. It’s about the process, and just because the final result might work out, that doesn’t really mean that it was right. It still might be a bad precedent to be set for the future.

On the flip side, if Oklahoma State wins easily, many will still believe that the two best teams are playing in the title game. The Iowa State loss to Rutgers in the Pinstripe didn’t help the Cowboys’ cause, and to all of those who wanted to see an OSU-LSU title, the loss to the Cyclones – even under extreme circumstances – is a tough one to argue against.

But beyond all the rhetoric and all the debates and all the crying, whining, and politicking from all sides, this should simply be a terrific game between two high-powered teams not used to being among the elite of the elite.

As disappointing as it might be for Oklahoma State to not be playing for the national title, this is still one of the biggest games in the school’s history. It’s the first Big 12 title, the first BCS game, and the first time the program has been this high-profile on a national scale since Barry Sanders was ripping up the record books in 1988.

Head coach Mike Gundy has done some nice things during his time, and the Cowboys have won three of their last five bowl games, but this is his moment. This is when it’s all coming together in the biggest bowl appearance since beating St. Mary’s in the 1946 Sugar Bowl to finish 9-0.

With a high-powered offense that can run when needed and can throw on anyone, Oklahoma State has been able to simple outscore, outbomb, and out last just about everyone on its schedule. The Iowa State loss might have been the killer, but it came in double overtime; a late field goal in regulation barely missed – with some still thinking it could’ve been called good; and the offense worked. Throw in the emotional side of things with a plane crash killing two OSU basketball coaches the day before, and it’s not like the loss was all that bad.

But now it’s time for Oklahoma State to prove to the world that it deserved better, and beating a great Stanford team would do it.

There have been Rose Bowl wins and other big moments for the Cardinal program, but this has been a truly special era considering how fast and how successful the rise has been. In 2006, Stanford was 1-11. 2007 and 2008 were losing seasons, Jim Harbaugh took the team to the Sun Bowl in 2009, and then … boom.

Led by almost-certain Indianapolis Colt Andrew Luck, the offense has been as good as any in college football over the last two seasons as the Cardinal has gone 23-2 with only losses to Oregon providing the blemishes.

The 40-12 obliteration of Virginia Tech in last year’s Orange Bowl proved that the team was for real, and while there weren’t many huge wins this year outside of a classic against USC, 11-1 is still 11-1, making this the best two-year stretch in the program’s history. Beating Oklahoma State would make it back-to-back bowl wins for the first time since winning four straight in appearances from 1970 to 1978, and it would be one of the most important wins since Jim Plunkett shocked Ohio State in the 1971 Rose. After finishing fourth in both the AP and coaches’ polls last year, a win over Oklahoma State will mean at least a No. 3 ranking and possible the No. 2 spot.

It’s the second-best bowl matchup on the board and it has the potential to be a special game. Stanford knows how to battle in dramatic shootouts, and Oklahoma State had a few thrillers of its own. The two teams combine for over 80 points and over 1,000 yards per game, and they’re about to put on a show.

Why Stanford Might Win: The Big 12 is loaded with high-octane offense after high-octane offense, but there aren’t many teams able to power the ball. The one team that does get a bit nasty up front – Kansas State – gave the Oklahoma State defensive front fits in a thrilling 52-45 Cowboy win. Oklahoma has a great offensive line, and Missouri can beat some people up, but by far the Stanford offensive line will be the toughest the Cowboys have had to deal with.

Left tackle Jonathan Martin is a first round pick whenever he chooses to come out, and right guard David DeCastro could be the first guard off the board when he’s ready. These two are the stars on a good-sized line that likes to hit and likes to run block for 5-11, 210-pound junior running back Stepfan Taylor, and against a run defense that’s giving up over 180 yards per game to begin with, Stanford’s best defense could be an offense that keeps Brandon Weeden and company on the sidelines.

Oklahoma State’s defense might not be a brick wall, but it’s amazing when it comes to making big plays, leading the nation in takeaways. Andrew Luck will give up a strange interception from time to time, throwing six in the last five games, but the Cardinal doesn’t have turnover issues. There were three fumbles in the meltdown against Oregon, but there were only three more throughout the rest of the season. Luck’s mistakes in the passing game have almost always been followed up by an answer, so even if Stanford loses the turnover battle by a small margin it might not be that big a deal. This game should be enough of a shootout that a giveaway makes the difference.

Why Oklahoma State Might Win: How did Oregon beat Stanford? Pressure on Luck, and lots of it.

The Cardinal offensive line might be great in pass protection, and Luck might be a pro already at getting the ball out of his hands in a hurry, but that didn’t seem to matter much to an Oregon defense that came up with four sacks and constantly popped Luck as he came up with a 256-yard, two pick day. Oklahoma State should be able to get to the quarterback and get to him often.

Oklahoma finished the year ninth in the nation in sacks allowed, giving up just 11, but the Cowboys got two of them along with constant pressure to screw up Landry Jones into one of the worst games of his career. With a month to prepare, the OSU pass rush should be able to come up with just enough wrinkles to throw Luck a few curve balls, and while Stanford’s line will win its share of battles, Richetti Jones, Jamie Blatnick, and the rest of the Cowboy defensive front will make plays.

The power game has to work for Stanford, because it doesn’t have the speed or the athleticism on either side of the ball to keep up with OSU. The two games against faster more athletic teams were nightmares for the Cardinal, getting totally outclassed by Oregon and having a rough time putting away USC.

Defensively, the secondary doesn’t have the playmakers to handle all of the Cowboys’ weapons, and if the terrific pass rush isn’t getting to Weeden, it’ll be target practice. On the other side, the Cardinal offense doesn’t have the receivers to burn the OSU secondary. The Cowboy back seven will take its chances on the outside and will swarm to the ball whenever Taylor tries to pound.

OSU might be 106th in the nation in total defense, but that’s partly because everyone had to bomb away to try to keep up the pace. The Cowboys are eighth in the nation, and first in the Big 12, in pass efficiency defense, and it’ll be good when it has to.

What To Watch Out For: Really, is Andrew Luck worth all the hype? Is he really the be-all-end-all, No. 1 pick, best-prospect-since-Elway, prospect? Considering the receivers he has to work with, yeah.

He’s another Peyton Manning in terms of managing his team and knowing everything that’s going on with the offense, and that’s obviously not going to be lost on the Colts. No, he wasn’t worthy of being a Heisman finalist considering his problems against Oregon and good, but not Heisman, stats – completing 70% of his throws for 3,170 yards and 35 scores with nine picks. At 6-4 and 237 pounds with smarts, mobility, and an NFL accurate arm, he has it all. He’ll be the top pick no matter what happens against the Cowboys, but another win would cement his place as the greatest Stanford quarterback of all-time. Considering the talent that’s gone through The Farm, that would be no small feat.

Again, remember, Luck isn’t doing this with top shelf receivers like Justin Blackmon. A likely top ten overall pick, the two-time Biletnikoff winner didn’t have as good a year as his 2010 campaign, but 113 catches for 1,336 yards and 15 touchdowns is impressive by every measure. The 6-1, 215-pound Anquan Boldin type has already said he plans on leaving a year early for the NFL, and he’s more than ready with terrific hands and the toughness to work inside or out. He’s not a blazer, but he’s a precise route runner who always seems to find ways to get open. While he wasn’t the home-run hitter he was last year – catching a touchdown pass and going over the 100-yard mark in every game – he became an even more reliable go-to target.

Luck might be the star quarterback in the game, but Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden had the better season. The 6-4, 218-pound senior is older than Aaron Rodgers and has the NFL maturity to handle everything thrown his way. Whether it was a long rain delay against Tulsa, or the blitzing of several Big 12 teams, or the tragedy and battles surrounding the Iowa State game, he always dealt with the adversity by producing. Interceptions were a problem with 12 on the year, including three against Iowa State, but he also threw for 476 yards and three scores against the Cyclones before closing out with the win over Oklahoma. Over the last two seasons he has hit the 400-yard mark seven times, and OSU is 14-1 when he hits the 300-yard mark.

What Will Happen: Did Oklahoma State peak with the win over Oklahoma? It’s possible that everything the program had been shooting for happened in the blowout Bedlam win, but that won’t be the case in Glendale.

Luck will be Luck and will put up 300 yards through the air, and the ground game will work just enough to keep the Cardinal alive, but Weeden and the Cowboy offense will be a machine. It’ll take a few series to get the timing and the rhythm back, but the balance showed against OU – with Joseph Randle tearing off yards in chunks – will be too much for the Stanford defense to deal with. Oklahoma State will show that it really and truly is the real deal, and it’ll do so impressively.

CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 41 … Stanford 34
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Oklahoma State -3.5  O/U: 75

Confidence Picks
Stanford vs. Oklahoma State -3.5
  O/U: 75
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ST (30) OS (23) OS (28) OS (29) OS (8) OS (13) OS (11) ST (14) OS (38)

E-mail Pete Fiutak
#CFBnews & #ColFootballNews
It's the BCS, and it has a Tebow-like way of always getting miraculous breaks. Oklahoma State will lose to Andrew Luck, and everyone will spend the rest of the week saying, "see, the BCS worked with LSU playing Alabama for the title."

By Richard Cirminiello 
It’d be to see what Andrew Luck could do with Brandon Weeden’s supporting cast. I’d also like to see whether or not Oklahoma State can handle the best collection of tight ends in America.

By Matt Zemek
Yes, we shall have a Fiesta when Oklahoma State and Stanford lock horns. Brandon Weeden versus Andrew Luck? Yes, please.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
A plus one would have been nice...

By Russ Mitchell
Perhaps the most interesting match-up of the bowl season, absent the top tilt... Statistically, Stanford is by far the more balanced team, but the knock on the Cardinal is it really hasn't played anyone, and has struggled to put away teams down the stretch that had no business keeping up with Stanford. Will we see if it's the OSU from Stillwater (vs. Oklahoma) or the one from Ames (Iowa State).

By Terry Johnson
Both teams firmly believe that they should be playing for the national championship, and it will show in this game. While the Andrew Luck – Brandon Weeden dual should be exciting, the team that runs the ball most effectively will win this game.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
There’s still an outside shot that OSU can get a split national title if LSU loses. To do it, the Cowboys will ave to dismantle a talented Stanford team led by the next millionaire QB in the making.
  
Best Bowl Moments

Best Cardinal Bowl Moment: When you’re a member of the Pac-12, success is measured by Rose Bowl victories. For Stanford, that hasn’t happened since the early 1970s. The Cardinal actually won back-to-back games in 1971 and 1972 under the guidance of head coach John Ralston. In 1971, it handed Ohio State its first loss of the year, 27-17, behind Heisman-winning quarterback Jim Plunkett. In 1972, it gave Michigan its lone blemish, 13-12, on the strength of a clutch effort from quarterback Don Bunce and a game-winning field goal from Rod Garcia with 12 seconds left. The 2011 Orange Bowl rout of Virginia Tech was special, but the Granddaddy means so much more for Stanford.

Best Cowboy Bowl Moment: One of the great offensive displays in postseason history, Oklahoma State ambushed Wyoming 62-14 in the 1988 Holiday Bowl. The Cowboys cranked out 698 yards and 34 first downs behind Heisman winner Barry Sanders’ 222 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, and a near- perfect passing performance from current head coach Mike Gundy.

Fiesta Bowl History 
2011 Oklahoma 48, Connecticut 20
2010 Boise State 17, TCU 10
2009 Texas 24, Ohio State 21
2008 West Virginia 48, Oklahoma 28
2007 Boise St 43, Oklahoma 42 OT
2006 Ohio State 34, Notre Dame 20
2005 Utah 35, Pitt 7
2004 Ohio State 35, Kansas State 28
2003 Ohio State 31, Miami 24 2OT
2002 Oregon 38, Colorado 16
2001 Oregon State 41, Notre Dame 9
2000 Nebraska 31, Tennessee 21
1999 Tennessee 23, Florida State 16
1997 (Dec.) Kansas State 35, Syracuse 18
1997 (Jan.) Penn State 38, Texas 15
1996 Nebraska 62, Florida 24
1995 Colorado 41, Notre Dame 24
1994 Arizona 29, Miami 0
1993 Syracuse 26, Colorado 22
1992 Penn State 42, Tennessee 17
1991 Louisville 34, Alabama 7
1990 Florida State 41, Nebraska 17
1989 Notre Dame 34, West Virginia 21
1988 Florida State 31, Nebraska 28
1987 Penn State 14, Miami 10
1986 Michigan 27, Nebraska 23
1985 UCLA 39, Miami 37
1984 Ohio State 28, Pitt 23
1983 Arizona State 32, Oklahoma 21
1982 Penn State 26, USC 10
1980 Penn State 31, Ohio State 19
1979 Pitt 16, Arizona 10
1978 Arkansas 10, UCLA 10
1977 Penn State 42, Arizona State 30
1976 Oklahoma 41, Wyoming 7
1975 Arizona State 17, Nebraska 14
1974 Oklahoma State 16, BYU 6
1973 Arizona State 28, Pitt 7
1972 Arizona State 49, Missouri 35
1971 Arizona State 45, Florida St 38

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