Oklahoma State beat Stanford University 41-38 in overtime at the Fiesta Bowl, sending Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck to a loss in his final college football game.
Quinn Sharp’s 23-yard field goal gave Oklahoma State the win at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, after Stanford freshman kicker Jordan Williamson missed field goal attempts at the end of the fourth quarter and in overtime.
Last night’s victory caps the most successful season in school history for third-ranked Oklahoma State, which finishes with a 12-1 record. No. 4 Stanford fell to 11-2. The Fiesta Bowl matchup featured college football’s two highest-ranked teams outside the Bowl Championship Series title game between No. 1 Louisiana State and No. 2 Alabama.
“These seniors have won 41 games in four years and Oklahoma State football has come a long ways,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said as he accepted the Fiesta Bowl trophy in a televised ceremony. “The challenge will be for our underclassmen to keep it at a high level.”
In the first of yesterday’s six bowl games, Case Keenum passed for 532 yards and three touchdowns as the University of Houston beat Pennsylvania State University 30-14 in the TicketCity Bowl. It was Penn State’s first bowl appearance since 1962 without Joe Paterno as coach.
Michigan State rallied to beat Georgia 33-30 in triple overtime at the Outback Bowl, Florida defeated Ohio State 24-17 in the Gator Bowl, and South Carolina beat Nebraska 30-13 in the Capital One Bowl.
Oklahoma State won its first BCS bowl game as Brandon Weeden threw three touchdown passes to Justin Blackmon to offset the play of Stanford’s Luck. Blackmon, a junior and two-time Biletnikoff winner as the nation’s top wide receiver, had eight catches for 186 yards and said after the game he’ll enter the 2012 National Football League draft.
Luck, a two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up, is projected as the top pick in this year’s NFL draft, and completed 27-of-31 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns. He drove the Cardinal into position for a potential winning field goal in the closing minutes, though Williamson missed a 35-yard kick. Williamson also missed a 43-yard field goal attempt to start overtime.
“At the end of the day we lost and I’m as much to blame as the next guy,” said Luck, who talked about his jump to the NFL in post-game interviews.
Oklahoma State’s Success
While Oklahoma State has been to nine bowl games in the past 10 years, the Cowboys 23-3 record over the past two seasons is their most successful stretch in school history. The program has received a boost in more than $500 million in donations from T. Boone Pickens, the Texas oilman turned hedge fund investor who said he had gotten tired of watching his alma mater’s football team lose.
“We have a tremendous administration, we’ve got people who are willing to pay the price and our coaches have been unbelievable,” Gundy said.
At the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, Darron Thomas threw three touchdown passes while De’Anthony Thomas and LaMichael James combined to rush for 314 yards and three touchdowns as the fifth-ranked Ducks topped No. 10 Wisconsin.
Oregon, the Pacific-12 Conference champion, finishes the season with a 12-2 record, a year after losing to Auburn University in the BCS national championship game. Wisconsin (11- 3) had a five-game winning streak snapped in losing the Rose Bowl for the second straight season.
The teams combined for 1,129 total yards, with neither leading by more than seven points.
Keenum, who led college football’s top level with 5,099 passing yards this season, threw for 380 in leading Houston to a 24-7 halftime lead against Penn State.
Houston (13-1) won for the second time in its past 11 bowl games, while the No. 22 Nittany Lions finish the season 9-4.
“The guys came out and they played hard,” Penn State interim coach Tom Bradley said. “It’s been a difficult year for them. It just didn’t go our way.”
Penn State played 36 bowl games from 1967 to 2009 under Paterno, who was fired in November after 46 years over his handling of child-abuse allegations against former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
At the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida, 17th-ranked Michigan State forced overtime against Georgia when Le’Veon Bell rushed for a one-yard touchdown with 19 seconds to play. After Dan Conroy’s 28-yard field goal in the third overtime, the Spartans blocked a 47-yard attempt by Georgia’s Blair Walsh to end a five-game bowl losing streak.
Gamecocks Snap Streak
The victory gave ninth-ranked South Carolina 11 wins for the first time in school history and ended a run of three straight bowl defeats. Nebraska, ranked 20th, finishes 9-4.
Florida (7-6) avoided its first losing season since 1979 by beating Ohio State (6-7) at Everbank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, behind a pair of special teams touchdowns. Ohio State had its first losing season since 1988.
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