FBC: No. 16 Cowboys stomp Arizona for record 11th win
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Justin Blackmon caught two touchdown passes, including a 71-yard strike, and No. 16 Oklahoma State finished its first 11-win season with a 36-10 victory over Arizona in the Alamo Bowl on Wednesday night.
Blackmon, the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top receiver, set an NCAA record with his 12th straight game with at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. The sophomore caught nine passes for 117 yards in perhaps his last college game.
Brandon Weeden was 25 of 41 for 240 yards for Oklahoma State (11-2). It was the final game plan for Cowboys offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, who is leaving to become the coach-in-waiting at West Virginia.
Oklahoma State, which led the nation in total offense, never trailed and scored at least 33 points for the 11th time this season.
Arizona (7-6) ended the year with five straight losses.
This last, lopsided defeat made Arizona’s 7-1 record and No. 13 ranking in November seem like that was much longer ago. Nick Foles completed 32 of 50 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown, but he threw three interceptions, including one returned by Markelle Martin for a 62-yard score.
The Wildcats had their chances early. But six possessions inside Oklahoma State territory in the first half resulted in just one touchdown.
Oklahoma State now awaits whether this was a farewell victory lap for its biggest stars.
Weeden and Blackmon are both projected NFL draft picks if they leave early. Blackmon seems poised to follow former teammate Dez Bryant as a first-rounder, and may have little incentive to return after being chosen as the Big 12 offensive player of the year. Both players say Hologorsen’s departure won’t influence their decision.
As a parting gift, Hologorsen helped give his duo another big night.
In addition to his NCAA-record streak, Blackmon also surpassed former Pitt star Larry Fitzgerald for the most receiving yards by a sophomore, and he broke the mark on the game’s biggest play.
After Arizona couldn’t convert a fourth down at the Cowboys’ 29-yard line on its opening possession, Weeden found Blackmon practically uncovered down the sideline. So open was Blackmon that he pulled up before reaching the end zone and trotted parallel along the goal line before finally making the touchdown official.
Arizona fans didn’t appreciate the showboating.
But it was Blackmon’s night.
He scored for a second time on a 3-yard pass in the third quarter, breaking the game open after Alex Zandejas’ 42-yard field goal put Arizona back within two scores.
Arizona’s only other score came in the first quarter when Juron Criner caught a 5-yard touchdown from Foles, who was playing back in the Alamodome where he was a Texas prep star.
The Cowboys can take comfort even if forced to replace more than Holgorsen: They lost Bryant and switched to a new quarterback this season, only to shatter practically every school passing record. They’re also toasting the most wins in school history after debuting seven new defensive starters.
It’s why the Cowboys began the season picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 South. Instead, Oklahoma State came within a wild fourth quarter against Oklahoma of playing for its first Big 12 title. Nebraska handed the Cowboys their only other loss.
Arizona was denied a third consecutive eight-win season and absorbed another bowl pummeling after losing 33-0 to Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl last year.
The Pac 10 returned to the Alamo Bowl for the first time since 1994 after the game ended a 15-year run with the Big 10. The Pac 10’s deal with the Alamo Bowl runs through 2013.