The last couple times OSU ventured to the Alamo Bowl, things didn't go so well. While a double-digit loss to Purdue in 1997 was tough, it paled in comparison to the 2004 fiasco. Rumors swirled about LSU wanting to hire then Cowboy coach Les Miles. He denied that there was any truth to them. But not long after a 33-7 debacle against Ohio State, it became obvious that LSU was interested and Miles had been listening.
But you know what? These Cowboys exorcised those Alamo Bowl ghosts by the way they played on Wednesday night.
They didn't squeak by the Wildcats.
â€œWe were young this year and a lot of people doubted us,â€ Cowboy quarterback Brandon Weeden said, â€œbut in that locker room, it's the closest group of guys I've ever been around. That's why we had success this year. They're more concerned about winning as a team.â€
Most of these Cowboys hadn't tasted bowl victory until Wednesday night. Not since 2007 has OSU won a bowl, and this is a team heavy on youngsters who weren't regulars on that Insight Bowl squad.
Instead, they remember bowls gone bad.
They went to San Diego two years ago and got physically dominated by Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. They went to the Metroplex last year and endured a mistake-plagued afternoon against Mississippi at the Cotton Bowl.
Remember, too, that Arizona had similar motivation going into this game. It was not only shut out but also blown out a year ago. Nebraska shellacked it in the Holiday Bowl.
The Wildcats talked about making amends for that.
The Cowboys actually did.
â€œIt's a statement,â€ Cowboy defensive back Brodrick Brown said. â€œWe're a force to be reckoned with next season. We're just going to try to continue to build on what we did this year and try to get 12 wins next season.â€