DALLAS — From the field as he accepted the Heart of Dallas Bowl championship trophy, Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy pointed to the “sea of orange” in the stands that followed the Cowboys from Stillwater to witness their 58-14 win over Purdue at Cotton Bowl Stadium.
Oklahoma State supporters made up about 80 percent of the fans in attendance Tuesday. Though the chilly, rainy weather likely kept some fans away, an estimated 30,000 of the 48,313 who bought tickets were on hand.
And most of them were orange.
“Thanks to this great sea of orange who followed us to Dallas, rain, shine or snow,” Gundy said over the stadium speakers. “As soon as we walked on the field, we noticed all the orange.”
It provided even more motivation for an OSU team salivating to get back on the field and forget the two difficult losses that ended its regular season, and the Cowboys struck quickly on Tuesday.
Quarterback Clint Chelf, who completed the journey from third-teamer to bowl-champion quarterback over the course of the season, threw a touchdown pass to Charlie Moore on OSU’s second possession. Moments later, Shamiel Gary intercepted a Purdue pass, and Chelf hit Blake Jackson for a touchdown.
The Cowboys were on cruise control from that point on. The offense produced 524 yards, and the defense had a season-high five turnovers in the rout.
Known as the TicketCity Bowl its first two years in existence of 2011-12, the Heart of Dallas Bowl was designed to benefit the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, a non-profit group of 53 agencies in the Metroplex committed to fighting Dallas-area homelessness. Additional proceeds from Tuesday’s game were donated to the organization.
“We were just really excited about the turnout we had today,” said Jay Pritchard, Heart of Dallas Committee member. “We sold 48,313 tickets and that included a great walk-up (same-day ticket purchase), especially when you consider it was a cold and grey day.
“We were hoping for 32,000 fans and we surpassed that by leaps and bounds.”