GLENDALE, Ariz. — What a season. What a ballgame.
What a night for names that will be remembered for as long as football is played at Boone Pickens Stadium. What a night for jersey numbers that make you check your program.
What a night not just for Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, but for Colton Chelf and Alex Elkins and Caleb Lavey.
Oklahoma State's Cowboys capped the greatest football season in school history with an epic Fiesta Bowl victory. OSU beat Stanford 41-38 in overtime Monday night.
Stanford had Andrew Luck, but OSU had Lady Luck. The Cowboys never led until they won. They played from behind all night. But they never lost the faith.
The Cardinal's Jordan Williamson missed a 35-yard field goal on the final play of regulation, then a 43-yarder in overtime, which meant the Cowboys could play for Quinn Sharp's field goal in the extra session.
They almost didn't need it, when Weeden's rifle pass to fellow former walkon Chelf went for an apparent touchdown. Instead, replay review counted Chelf down at the 1-yard line, so Sharp was summoned for a 22-yard field goal that won it.
“Colton's been doing it every day in practice,” Weeden said. “We just saw some things that they do defensively. Their linebackers are really aggressive. We just liked the way he went about his business.”
Yep, Weeden2Chelf. Just the way we drew it up. Of course, Chelf (five catches, 97 yards) had the chance to be the hero because that other receiver, Blackmon, played a game for the ages.
Blackmon had eight catches for 186 yards (all in the second and fourth quarters) and three touchdowns. Most of his damage was made on slants, catching the ball and shaking off Stanford tacklers.
And Weeden sealed his legend with a 399-yard, three-TD game. Would have been 400 yards and four touchdowns had Chelf's touchdown stood.
No matter. The Weeden legacy is set. Greatest quarterback, greatest team, and now one of the greatest games in school history.
“I can't say enough about the job that Brandon did,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “Every time we got down, we were resilient and came back. What a great job by our players.”
A rousing rally in overtime for the third-ranked Cowboys against fourth-ranked Stanford. A statement that this team sure would have been interesting playing down in New Orleans in the Big Bowl against LSU, no matter how Alabama does next week.
But enough of that. Let's not think about what ifs. Let's focus on what is.
Whale of a ballgame. Stanford's Luck was unbelievably good. Stanford's offense was the same – OSU's defense got only one second-half stop, and that on an unforced fumble.
But OSU's offense was equal to the task. Twice the Cowboys took the field in the fourth quarter. Both times, OSU trailed by seven points. Both times, Weeden and Co. produced a touchdown.
Each possession was punctuated by amazing throws.
On 3rd-and-8 from the OSU 42-yard line, Weeden zipped an arrow on a deep-out pattern to Josh Cooper, good for 18 yards. NFL throw. Upper-half-of-NFL-quarterbacks throw. Five plays later, another Weeden to Blackmon pass tied the game.
Then with 3 1/2 minutes left in the game, 4th-and-3 from the OSU 40-yard line, Mike Gundy disdained a punt. Great call. The Cowboys had shown no sign of stopping Stanford.
It was do or die. Weeden and Blackmon did. The Cowboys went to their best play, the Blackmon slant, and Blackmon speared another Weeden bullet and carried Stanford defenders to a 21-yard gain.
Three plays later, the Cowboys had another tie, and the game was in Luck's hands. Until it was on Williamson's foot.
Gundy said he had a feeling something good would happen, and it did, when Williamson pulled the kick.
That gave OSU life, and in overtime, the defense finally reared its head. Linebackers Elkins and Lavey nailed stud tailback Stepfan Taylor for a three-yard loss, setting up a 3rd-and-13. Then safety Markelle Martin stuffed flanker Ty Montgomery on a short pass.
When Williamson missed again, this time from 43 yards, it was all over but the shouting. Weeden, and Chelf, and finally Sharp ended a rousing Fiesta Bowl that was just as good as the bowlmakers hoped it would be.
“It's a very special win,” Gundy said.
Very special win on a very special night.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.