You wanted No. 1 versus No. 2? Well you got it…that is if you love the NFL Draft as much as I do.
Luck (No. 1) versus Blackmon (No. 2)?
Oklahoma State, possibly feeling jilted out of an opportunity to play for a national championship, remained focused at the task at hand; the Tositos Fiesta Bowl versus the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal.
Luck – and Blackmon and Weeden – were on the Pokes side winning 41-38.
Stanford controlled the Fiesta Bowl in most-all phases of the game Monday evening: Total yards, Stanford outgained Oklahoma State 590 to 412; time-of-possession, Stanford held the ball for almost eight minutes longer; first downs, Stanford had twelve more of those; rushing yards, Stanford had a 230 yard advantage there; third downs, Stanford was 8-of-14 while Oklahoma State was 4-of-12.
So where did it go wrong for Stanford?
Given Stanford’s inherent advantage – the one where they had Andrew Luck play QB – far too many times we all fell witness to David Shaw disallowing the best QB in the nation to win the game.
As Oklahoma State tied the game up at 38, Stanford had to be fairly confident knowing Andrew Luck would have the ball in his hands with 2:35 to go in the game; or were they?
Luck came out slinging, on the final drive of the fourth quarter, completing four passes in a row [8-8 in the fourth-quarter] before a Stepfan Taylor 6-yard run set up a 25-yard pass from Andrew Luck to Jeremy Stewart that took the Cardinal down to the Oklahoma State 25-yard-line.
With :52 seconds on the clock, Oklahoma State would take a timeout. Rather than Andrew Luck going out of the Fiesta Bowl in style with an opportunity to go for the win; inexplicably, David Shaw removed the ball from Luck’s hand, wasting two plays – rushes by Stepfan Taylor – to set up a field goal.
David Shaw’s decision to allow a freshman kicker to go for the win over Andrew Luck was the play of the game for Oklahoma State; Luck was 27-of-31 for 347 yards and 2 TDs on the game.
Kicker Jordan Williamson missed the 35-yarder, as he would a 41-yarder in overtime, and the win, out-gained and all, would go to the best-coached team on Jan. 2nd – Oklahoma State.
What should not be lost in the inept management of this game by the Stanford coaching staff is the unrelenting, never-say-die, attitude of Mike Gundy – who truly proved he is “The Man”.
Stanford outgained Oklahoma State in the first-quarter 129 to 27; the Pokes could have curled up in a little ball, thumbs in mouth, mad at the world for not having the opportunity to play for the crystal ball – but they didn’t.
Oklahoma State endured with what it knew was its constant – the offense. Defensively, Oklahoma State is not very good. And that is not a surprise to anyone who watched more than three minutes of the Fiesta Bowl.
What Oklahoma State does have – other than a great head coach in Mike Gundy and a great play-caller in Todd Monken – is Brandon Weeden and the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Justin Blackmon.
Weeden, with his 29-of-42, 399 yard, 3 touchdown performance, and Blackmon, with his 8 reception, 186 yard, 3 touchdown performance, bid adieu to Stillwater and the Pokes-nation tonight; concluding their most successful season in history.
So what’s next for these two teams?
Stanford will lose all-world QB Andrew Luck; a versatile LB in Chase Thomas; Luck’s favorite red-zone target in TE Coby Fleener; and WR Chris Owusu. I also believe two of the pivotal members on the Stanford offensive line; Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro, both juniors, will be leaving with Andrew Luck and company to the NFL Draft.
For Oklahoma State it, obviously, all starts with Justin Blackmon – who confirmed he will enter the NFL draft during the post-game interviews. From there Oklahoma State will lose the ageless wonder in QB Brandon Weeden; and a bright spot on the defense, safety Markelle Martin.
Both teams have rather large shoes to fill but if you are asking me – and you are since I am writing this – Oklahoma State has the brightest of the two teams futures – by a long shot. That, and Oklahoma State is a far better coached football team than Stanford.
Bright days are ahead; T.Boone Pickens is thrilled.
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