GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a glorious night in the desert, Justin Blackmon was the best player on the field.
Yes, I realize Andrew Luck was on the same University of Phoenix Stadium turf. Yes, I know everyone considers the Stanford quarterback the best college football player to ever walk the planet or something crazy like that.
And there's no doubt that Luck is good.
Blackmon was better Monday night.
As a result, so was Oklahoma State.
OSU 41, Stanford 38 in overtime.
“I could've had no catches and no touchdowns,” the Cowboy receiver said, “and as long as we would've won, I would've been excited.”
But without Blackmon, the Cowboys couldn't have won. He had eight catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns, which tied a Fiesta Bowl record for touchdown catches in a game.
Roll those numbers around your head a bit. That many yards and that many touchdowns on only eight touches?
Then again, that word describes Blackmon perfectly. Before the start of last season, he was an unknown. Now, he is the two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award and the best wide receiver in college football.
And soon, he's going to be one of the best in the NFL. After the game during a television interview, Blackmon made official what everyone has suspected since he joined the festivities during the Cowboys' Senior Day.
“I think I am going to go ahead and enter the draft and see what happens after that,” he said.
Here's what's going to happen — he's going to be one of the first few players taken in the draft, and he's going to go have a big-time career in the NFL.
Blackmon is that kind of special.
Here's an idea that might blow your mind: Blackmon to St. Louis.
Right now, the Rams have the second pick in the draft. They have no star wide receivers to help a franchise-type of quarterback. Guy you might've heard of. Fellow by the name of Sam Bradford.
How does Bradford to Blackmon sound?
It doesn't have quite as smooth a ring as Weeden to Blackmon, but I suspect the good folks of St. Louis would come to love Bradford to Blackmon.
Stanford coach David Shaw and one of his assistants mentioned in the lead up to the Fiesta Bowl that they had to stop Blackmon first and foremost. Rare is the team that doesn't want to stop the run first, but the Cardinal knew that Blackmon was that good, that influential.
The truth is, the only ones that could stop Blackmon were the Cowboys. They almost didn't throw it to him enough. Blackmon had no catches in the first or third quarters.
It was no coincidence that OSU had no touchdowns in either quarter.
Then, his first two touches went for touchdowns, a 43-yarder and a 67-yarder. Just like that, he became the first receiver to have more than a 100 yards receiving against the Stanford defense this season.
He finished the game with eight catches.
He should've had 18.
Every time he caught the ball, he gained an average of 23.3 yards. And there was no reason to think if the Cowboys would've thrown it to him 10 or 12 more times that he wouldn't have been able to keep up that pace.
The Cardinal had no answer for him. No defense did.
Maybe the guys in the NFL will have a little more success.
Even when Stanford knew that OSU was going to go to Blackmon, it couldn't stop him. Down a touchdown and facing fourth-and-3 in the game's final minute, he made the biggest play of the game. He caught a pass from Weeden and went 21 yards not only to get the first down but also to push OSU into Stanford territory.
The Cowboys scored three plays later.
“He takes pride in his one-on-one matchups,” Weeden said. “If I know it's one-on-one, there's no one I'd rather throw it to.”
Word before the game was that Blackmon was dealing with some sort of inner thigh infection.
Whatever that is, it required some antibiotics, but it's hard to believe anything would've kept Blackmon off the field.
It was a field where he showed once again just how special he is.
Good enough to be the best player on the pitch.