GLENDALE, Ariz. — An amazing season came to an amazing end in the Fiesta Bowl.
After Stanford missed a field goal that would’ve won the game at the end of regulation, then missed another in the first overtime, Oklahoma State got a game-winner from Quinn Sharp in overtime.
OSU 41, Stanford 38.
“Obviously, we were excited,” Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden said of the Cardinal misses which both went wide left. “We had one that didn’t quite go our way at Iowa State.”
But Monday night, the kicks went the way of State.
The greatest season in school history came to a grand end. Playing in the school’s first BCS bowl, the Cowboys not only came out on top but also won the program’s 12th game this season.
Win No. 12 was a school record.
The Cowboy faithful turned out in force at University of Phoenix Stadium to cheer their team. Of an announced crowd of 69,927, about 30,000 wore orange. And what a show their Cowboys put on.
The anticipated shoot-out between these two potent offenses materialized, but it took a bit for both to get on track. Each failed to score on its first two possessions, Stanford missing a field goal, then punting and OSU throwing an interception, then punting.
But then the Cardinal scored on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to Ty Montgomery.
The OSU defense scored a big turnover on Stanford’s next possession. Cowboy defensive back Justin Gilbert, the game’s defensive most valuable player, came up with a leaping interception along the sideline that set up the OSU offense with a short field.
But the Cowboys couldn’t take advantage and finished the first quarter scoreless for the first time this season.
“The first quarter wasn’t very good for us,” Weeden said. “You’ve got to put it behind you.”
Stanford scored on its next possession, putting OSU in a double-digit hole, but the Cowboys responded with back-to-back scoring drives — and the touchdowns came from a familiar pair. Weeden connected with Justin Blackmon, the game’s offensive most valuable player, on a 43-yard pass, then on a 67-yard pass.
And the shoot-out was on.
Stanford rolled up 590 yards while OSU had 416 yards.
But when that field goal sailed wide left at the end of regulation, the Cowboy defense stepped up. It kept the Cardinal from gaining any yards in the first overtime.
“We knew we could get a stop,” Gilbert said. “We have leaders on defense, senior leaders that got in our heads a little bit.”
The Cowboys forced the Cardinal to attempt a 43-yard kick. That’s when Jordan Williamson missed his third field goal of the game.
He’d missed three field goals the entire season coming in this game.
On OSU’s overtime possession, it got a big play on second and long. Weeden hooked up with Colton Chelf, a former walk-on receiver who everyone thought had scored. A huge celebration erupted on the field.
Only a review revealed his knee was down before the ball crossed the goal line.
The Cowboys took a knee on first and goal to center the ball for a 22-yard field-goal attempt. Sharp, who’d missed a potential game-winner at Iowa State in OSU’s only loss, put this game-winner down the middle.
“You’ve got to give Stanford a lot of credit,” Weeden said. “That’s a good football team.”
But on this night, the Cowboys were better.