Game Notes - Big 12 Champs Battle Stanford In Fiesta Bowl

Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith

Dec. 22, 2011

OSU's Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

Stanford's Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

No. 4/4 Stanford vs. No. 3/3 Oklahoma State
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl :: Jan. 2, 2012 :: 7:30 p.m. CT :: University of Phoenix Stadium (73,000 cap.)

TV: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Matt Millen and Heather Cox)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb and Robert Allen)
National Radio: ESPN Radio (Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Joe Schad)
Internet: okstate.com
Satellite Radio: Sirius and XM Channels TBD
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The Second Season
The Oklahoma State Cowboys will make their first-ever BCS appearance and play in the Fiesta Bowl for the second time when they head to the desert to face the 11-1 Stanford Cardinal in the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The game will kick at 7:30 p.m. (central) and will be televised by ESPN. The site of the 41st Fiesta Bowl is University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. Sean McDonough, Matt Millen and Heather Cox will call the game for ESPN.

What's At Stake
Although Oklahoma State was nosed out for a spot in the national championship game, there is still plenty on the line for the Cowboys against the Cardinal:
• Oklahoma State will be trying to record the first 12-win season in its history. That accomplishment would come one year after the Cowboys reached 11 wins for the first time ever.
• A victory would assure Oklahoma State of its highest finish in the history of the Associated Press poll. OSU has never placed higher than fifth (and that came in 1945).
• OSU will be looking to improve on its 13-8 bowl record, which already ranks as one of the nation's best postseason winning percentages.
• Oklahoma State has never gone wire-to-wire in the Associated Press top 10. Although that would seem to be a lock this season, a victory in the bowl would assure that accomplishment.
• A win would be the 59th of Mike Gundy's career and move him into sole possession of second place on OSU's all-time coaching wins list.

The Victory Count
OSU has been winning games in bunches over the last four seasons. A quick look at the program since 2008...
• OSU had never recorded an 11-win season prior to 2010 and now the Cowboys have accomplished the feat in consecutive years.
• OSU has won 10 games in a season for the fifth time in school history and for the second straight year.
• OSU has won 10 games in two straight seasons for just the second time and for the first time since 1987 and 1988 (when Mike Gundy was the Cowboy quarterback).
• The Cowboy senior class has a record of 40-11 for the best four-year run in school history.

Gundy Is National Coach of the Year
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is the 2011 recipient of the Football Writers Association of America's Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award. Gundy was a finalist for the FWAA's top coaching honor in each of the past two seasons.

One More Win For Gundy
Another win for head coach Mike Gundy would be the 59th of his career. It would make him the second winningest coach in program history (he's tied for second currently). Pat Jones, Gundy's coach during his OSU playing days, leads all OSU coaches with 62 wins.

Wins by OSU Head Coaches
1. Pat Jones - 62
2. Mike Gundy - 58
Jim Lookabaugh - 58

Bowl Streak
Oklahoma State is playing in a bowl for a school-record sixth straight season. The Cowboys are also playing in a bowl for the eighth time in nine seasons. The Cowboys are 13-8 all-time in bowl games and OSU enjoys the best postseason winning percentage in the Big 12 Conference.

Big 12 Bowl Winning Percentage
1. Oklahoma State - .619
2. Oklahoma - .602
3. Texas - .531
4. Kansas - .500
5. Baylor - .471
6. Missouri - .429
Kansas State - .429
8. Texas Tech - .367
9. Iowa State - .300

NCAA Bowl Win Percentage Leaders
(Minimum 20 Bowl Appearances)
1. Penn State - .651
2. Southern California - .645
3. Ole Miss - .636
4. Oklahoma State - .619

Bowls and Gundy
Oklahoma State is 3-2 in bowl games under Mike Gundy, including a 1-1 record against the Pac-12.

Bowling With Gundy

Year	Bowl	Result
2006	Independence	OSU 34, Alabama 31	Cowboys win their first and only meeting with Alabama
2007	Insight Bowl	OSU 49, Indiana 33	OSU scores TDs on its first five possessions
2008	Holiday Bowl	Oregon 42, OSU 31	OSU's halftime lead derailed in part by injuries
2009	Cotton Bowl	Ole Miss 21, OSU 7	OSU suffers seven turnovers in first Cotton Bowl in Cowboys Stadium
2010	Alamo Bowl	OSU 36, Arizona 10	Justin Blackmon, Markelle Martin named MVPs

Series Stuff
Oklahoma State and Stanford will be meeting for the first time so series notes come from the periphery.
• Oklahoma State is 10-10 all-time against the old Pac-10. When throwing in newcomers Utah and former Big 12 member Colorado, the Cowboys are 30-36-1 against the Pac-12.
• OSU is 5-3 against Arizona in the longest-running series OSU has against the league (again, disregarding the 46 meetings with former Big Eight/Big 12 rival Colorado).
• Under Mike Gundy, the Cowboys are 6-1 in their last seven games against current Pac-12 membership, including two wins over Arizona in the last 12 months.
• OSU is 1-1 vs. the Pac-12 in bowl games with a win in the 2010 Alamo Bowl over Arizona and a loss to Oregon in the 2008 Holiday Bowl.
• The Cowboys are 5-3 all-time against California schools, including 1-1 against the Pac-12's UCLA.

Ranking the Bowl
Stanford, No. 4 in the latest AP poll, is the highest ranked opponent OSU will have faced in its bowl history. Conversely, OSU is ranked third by the Associated Press. It is the highest ranking ever for a Cowboy bowl appearance.

Bowl Resume
Oklahoma State is 8-1 against teams that earned bowl berths this season. The Cowboys are 4-0 against teams appearing in the final BCS standings. That record against the BCS elite is second only to LSU's 6-0 mark.

Last Visit To The Fiesta...
Oklahoma State's last and only previous visit to the Fiesta Bowl came on Dec. 28, 1974, as the Cowboys picked up a 16-6 win over Brigham Young in Tempe. That win over the WAC champion Cougars was the first for OSU since 1958 and it was the first of two bowl wins for then OSU head coach Jim Stanley. Stanley went on to a career in the NFL as an assistant and scout (including time with the Cardinals) and is an Arizona resident. The core of that Cowboy team would help OSU to a Big Eight title two years later (and another bowl win over BYU).

The Breakthrough Season...Again
Last season, Oklahoma State reached 11 wins for the first time in school history and earned a share of the Big 12 South title for the first time ever. It was defined as a break-through season. In 2011, OSU's encore includes another 11 wins and the first conference title at OSU since it shared a Big Eight championship with Oklahoma and Colorado in 1976. This season's accomplishments have included the highest AP ranking ever and all-time bests in the BCS standings. Based on the accomplishments the past two years, it might be better to describe the Cowboys as being in a break-through era.

Big 12 Awards Watch
For the past two years, Oklahoma State has led the All-Big 12 team. One season after having a league-high 10 first-team selections, the Cowboys again led the way in 2011 with nine first-teamers, including offensive lineman of the year Grant Garner and special teams player of the year Quinn Sharp. Sharp is the first-team punter and placekicker (so OSU has eight players earning nine first-team spots). Sharp is the first player in Big 12 history to be named a first-teamer in both categories in the same season.
• The Cowboys had two first-team All-Big 12 linemen in Garner and Levy Adcock (a two-time pick). Garner is the second Cowboy in three seasons to be named offensive lineman of year, following in the footsteps of former Poke and current Seahawk Russell Okung.
Quinn Sharp is the third Cowboy in four years named Big 12 special teams player of the year. He joins a couple of current Dallas Cowboys in Dez Bryant (2008) and Dan Bailey (2010) in earning the award.
Justin Blackmon is a unanimous first-team selection for the second straight year at receiver.
• OSU had three first-team defenders (DE Jamie Blatnick, CB Brodrick Brown and S Markelle Martin) for the first time since 1997 when three future NFL standouts, Jamal Williams, Kevin Williams and R.W. McQuarters were honored.
• OSU's second-team selections include quarterback Brandon Weeden, running back Joseph Randle, fullback Kye Staley and receiver Josh Cooper.

National Honors
Justin Blackmon is only the second player ever to be a two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award, as he repeated as America's top receiver. He also earned unanimous All-America distinction for the second consecutive season. Senior Grant Garner was a finalist for the Rimington Award given to the nation's top center. Oklahoma State had several other players recognized as 2011 All-Americans.
• Tackle Levy Adcock was a first-team selection by the AFCA and the FWAA and a second-team honoree by the Walter Camp Football Foundation.
Quinn Sharp was the first-team All-America kicker by the FWAA after being the first-team All-America punter by the same organization in 2010.
• Safety Markelle Martin was a first-team All-American by the AFCA.

Bedlam Review
Oklahoma State is coming off a 44-10 win over BCS No. 10 Oklahoma in what can only be described as a landmark victory as OSU clinched the outright Big 12 title.
• The Cowboys took advantage of five OU turnovers to dominate the game.
• For the only time in 2011, the Cowboys rushed for more yards than they passed (278-217) as both sophomore running backs cracked the 100-yard mark. Joseph Randle had 151 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and Jeremy Smith had 119 yards on just 10 carries, along with two touchdowns.
• OSU averaged 8.4 yards per rush while OU was limited to 3.3 yards per carry and 108 rushing yards.
• Oklahoma had rushed for just 24 yards on 23 carries after three quarters. At that point in the game, OSU held a 44-3 lead.
• The Cowboys jumped to leads of 24-0 and 44-3. Oklahoma's lone touchdown came with 2:25 remaining in the game.
• Oklahoma had allowed just six sacks all season, but the Cowboys got to Landry Jones twice and held him to just 27-50 passing with two INTs and no touchdowns.
• The OU defensive line was third nationally with an average of 3.36 sacks per game. The Sooners never sacked OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden. Sooner defensive lineman Frank Alexander, the Big 12 defensive player of the year, was held without a tackle.
• The loss was the worst for Oklahoma since the 2005 Orange Bowl game against Southern California and the worst for OU in the Bedlam Series since 1947.

So Long Seniors
Oklahoma State will bid farewell to the winningest class in school history with the departure of the 2011 seniors. The class never won less than nine games in a season. The seniors have a 40-11 record and in 2010 won a share of the Big 12 South championship. In 2011, they earned the Big 12 championship. The senior class is listed at 17 with the news that offensive lineman and lost starter Jonathan Rush has been granted a sixth year of eligibility after he lost 2011 (his senior season) to injury.

Class Career Wins
2011 40
2010 35
1988 34
1987 34
2009 32
1986 32
1985 32

2011 Cowboy Seniors

Levy Adcock	OL	Two-time first-team All-Big 12...2011 All-American
Hubert Anyiam	WR	Despite injuries, will end his career among OSU's all-time leading receivers
Jamie Blatnick	DE	First-team All-Big 12 by the AP and the coaches
Colton Chelf	WR	Originally a walk-on who has become a contributor on record-setting offenses
Josh Cooper	WR	Second-team All-Big 12
Jarrod Fields	DB	Special teams contributor and a player favorite
Grant Garner	C	Big 12 offensive lineman of the year and a Rimington Award finalist
Kyle Hale	S	Becoming a big special teams contributor
Ryan Howard	QB	Completing his only season in Stillwater
Richetti Jones	DE	Four-year contributor in his first year as a starter
Casey LaBrue	OL	Has performed well as Garner's backup
Markelle Martin	S	All-America pick by the AFCA
Nick Martinez	OL	Versatile o-lineman who started at two different spots
Nehemiah Mundy	DB	Transfer from UNLV
James Thomas	LB	Playmaker for the defense and part-time starter
Brandon Weeden	QB	Rewrote the Oklahoma State passing record book
Wilson Youman	DL	Contributor on both sides of the ball during his career

Scoreboard Watching
OSU heads into the bowl game second nationally in scoring at 49.33 points per game. OSU has scored at least 59 points five times this season, including three times against Big 12 opponents. OSU reached the 40-point mark eight times in 2011.

A Special Offense
For nearly 25 years, the standard for offense at Oklahoma State has been measured by the 1988 Cowboys. That attack, led by quarterback Mike Gundy, running back Barry Sanders and receiver Hart Lee Dykes, averaged 48.7 points and 528.4 yards of total offense (those numbers include the 62-point outburst in the Holiday Bowl victory over Wyoming). The 2011 attack heads into the season finale with a chance to break both of those marks but it will take another standout game. OSU will need to score 42 points in order to keep its scoring average above the 48.7 of 1988. The current Cowboys average 557 yards of offense per game to top the 12-game average 528.4 in 1988. OSU will need to generate just 186 yards against Stanford to break the school record for total offense per game.

Speaking Of Records
Some of the records the 2011 Cowboys have already achieved:
• Most wins in a regular season (11)
• Most wins in a conference season (8)
• Most points scored (592)
• Passes Attempted (553)
• Passes Completed (399)
• Passing Yards (4,635)
• Touchdown Passes (37)

Individually Speaking
Some of the individual season marks that have fallen:
• Passes completed: Brandon Weeden, 379
• Passes attempted: Brandon Weeden, 522
• Passing Yards: Brandon Weeden, 4,328
• Touchdown Passes: Brandon Weeden, 34 (tied)
• Receptions: Justin Blackmon, 113
• Total Offense: Brandon Weeden, 4,233
• PAT Conversion: Quinn Sharp, 74

By The Numbers
Oklahoma State's scoring totals this season have helped produce two of the top individual scoring seasons in OSU history. Running back Joseph Randle is fourth in the country and second in OSU history with 150 points. Just behind him is kicker Quinn Sharp, who is third all-time at OSU with 134 points.

OSU Single-Season Scoring Leaders
1. Barry Sanders, 1988 - 234
2. Joseph Randle, 2011 - 150
3. Dan Bailey, 2010 - 149
4. Quinn Sharp, 2011 - 134
5. Justin Blackmon, 2010 - 132

Backs in Black And Orange
OSU entered the 2011 season seeking a way to absorb the loss of two-time All-America running back Kendall Hunter. That issue was answered in the form of sophomores Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith. Randle has run for 1,193 yards, the 16th best single-season total in school history and the third best total by a Cowboy sophomore. He earned second-team all-conference honors and enters the bowl game fourth nationally in scoring with 150 points. His point total is the second best by a Cowboy, trailing only Barry Sanders' 234 points. Randle's 23 rushing touchdowns are also second to Sanders' 37. Both of Sanders' marks came during his historic 1988 run to the Heisman Trophy. When tossing in Jeremy Smith's totals, 2011 becomes one of the most productive seasons ever for OSU backs. The two combined for 32 rushing touchdowns, 1,838 rushing yards, 6.4 yards per carry and eight 100-yard rushing games - all in an attack that is one of America's best through the air.

Rushing TDs In A Season
1. Barry Sanders, 1988 - 37
2. Joseph Randle, 2011 - 23
3. Thurman Thomas, 1987 - 17
4. Kendall Hunter, 2010 - 16
Kendall Hunter, 2008 - 16
Tatum Bell, 2003 - 16

Leaders of Men
With an offense that is scoring nearly 50 points per game, it isn't a surprise that Cowboys are all over the national leader board.
Brandon Weeden is third nationally with 31.6 completions per game.
Brandon Weeden is third nationally with 360.7 passing yards per game.
• Weeden is third nationally in total passing yards (4,328).
• Weeden's 34 touchdown passes are fifth nationally.
• Weeden is fourth nationally in total offense (352.8 yards per game).
Justin Blackmon is second nationally with 9.42 catches per game.
• Blackmon is third nationally with 15 touchdown catches (just one off the national lead).
• Blackmon's 111.33 receiving yards per game ranks eighth nationally.
• Running back Joseph Randle is fourth (12.5) and kicker Quinn Sharp is seventh (11.2) in scoring.

Defense and Special Teams, Too
OSU also has national leaders on the defensive side.
• Junior corner Brodrick Brown leads the nation with 1.67 passes defended per game (20 for the season).
• Brown is No. 11 in the country with five interceptions and linebacker James Thomas and corner Justin Gilbert are No. 23 with four picks.
• Sophomore safety Daytawion Lowe is No. 12 with 5.75 solo tackles per game.
Quinn Sharp is averaging 46.6 yards per punt. That average would be second nationally if he had enough punts to qualify for the NCAA statistics.
• Gilbert is second nationally with two kickoff returns for TDs this season.

Trending Upward
As the newly crowned Big 12 champion, Oklahoma State naturally has the best record in the Big 12 this season. But OSU's growing program actually has the league's best record over the past three seasons.

Big 12 Standings Since 2009
Oklahoma State 20-5
Oklahoma 16-9
Missouri 15-10
Kansas State 14-11
Texas 13-11
Texas A&M 13-12
Baylor 11-13
Iowa State 10-15
Texas Tech 10-15
Kansas 2-23

Gundy Against the Big 12
Year W-L Finish
2005 1-7 6th - South
2006 3-5 5th - South
2007 4-4 3rd - South
2008 5-3 4th - South
2009 6-2 2nd - South
2010 6-2 1stT - South
2011 8-1 1st

The Rest of the Story
The Cowboy defense spends a lot of time answering questions because of statistics. OSU enters the bowl game No. 93 in the country in rushing defense, No. 102 in passing defense and No. 107 in total defense. Here are some other numbers:
• The OSU defense is second in the country with 23 interceptions.
• The OSU defense is second in the country with 19 fumble recoveries.
• The Cowboys lead the country with 42 forced turnovers.
• OSU is No. 24 nationally with 6.9 tackles for loss per game.

A High Number Worth Noting
Due to the quick-strike nature of the offense, the Cowboy defense has been on the field for 1,008 plays -more than any other defense in the country. Alabama's top-ranked total defense has defended 332 fewer snaps than the Cowboys.

Winning Time
Oklahoma State's defense has held nine of its 12 opponents to one offensive touchdown or less in first halves this season. Three of OSU's opponents have been shutout at halftime. As a result, OSU has outscored the opposition in first-half play, 342-104.
• OSU has allowed 109 points in the fourth quarter, easily the most productive quarter for opponents. The reason for that surge, of course, is the lopsided leads. An example of that is Baylor. The Cowboys led the Bears 49-0 in the third quarter, before winning by a 59-24 count.
• In the first three quarters of play, OSU has outscored its opponents 500-188. That's an average of 42-16 after three periods.

Turnover Tradition
Every year under Bill Young the OSU defense has improved its takeaway number. In 2010, OSU ended the year with 34 takeaways to rank fifth in the country. Over the last 10 games, the defense has forced 39 turnovers, highlighted by 22 interceptions. OSU enters the bowl game second nationally to LSU in turnover margin and first in forced turnovers (42).

NCAA Turnover Margin Leaders
1. LSU - 1.69
2. Oklahoma State - 1.67
3. Toledo - 1.33

Turnovers Thriller Style
Oklahoma State's 42 forced turnovers are the most since 1983 when the Cowboys accumulated an astounding 55 turnovers in 12 games. That team had 27 interceptions and 28 fumbles recovered.

Advantage Cowboys
Oklahoma State has turned around its turnover story since September. The Cowboys were on the negative side of the ledger after two weeks with four turnovers committed and just three gained. However, over the last 10 games, OSU has won the turnover battle 39-18. Over those games, OSU has scored 167 points after gaining a turnover. That's an average of 16.7 points per game following a forced turnover.

Group Picking
At Iowa State, linebacker Alex Elkins became the 11th Cowboy this season to intercept a pass with his pick at Iowa Stat. The last time OSU had 11 players with an interception in the same season was in 1983 (11).

The Turnover Gang
Five Cowboys have led OSU's turnover assault on the opposition with a total of 24 between them.
• Junior CB Brodrick Brown has intercepted five passes, recovered two fumbles and broken up 15 passes.
• Sophomore DB Justin Gilbert has four interceptions and a fumble recovery.
• Senior linebacker James Thomas has four interceptions, a fumble recovery and two forced fumbles.
• Senior defensive end Richetti Jones has three forced fumbles, three recoveries and an interception.
• Linebacker Shaun Lewis has two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Defensive Footnotes
• OSU allowed just 101 yards in the first half against Louisiana while sprinting to a 34-10 lead. The Cajuns ended the game with 320 yards after OSU began substituting liberally.
• OSU jetted to a 21-0 halftime lead against Arizona and cruised to the win. The Wildcats had just 168 yards during the decisive first half. Arizona ended the game with 439 yards in a 37-14 loss.
• OSU jumped to a 31-6 halftime lead at Tulsa and yielded just 130 yards during the process. OSU went deep into its bench during the second half and TU finished with 482 yards.
• OSU limited Texas A&M to just 170 yards after halftime when OSU was outscoring the Aggies by a 27-9 count in the comeback win.
• Kansas had just 186 halftime yards against OSU and trailed 56-7. The Jayhawks finished with 478 total yards.
• The Cowboys gave up 26 points at Texas, but two came on a safety, seven came on a kickoff return and seven more came on a 15-yard drive following a turnover.
• OSU forced four turnovers at Missouri and stopped another drive on downs. The Cowboys allowed just seven points in the second half at Columbia.
• Against OSU, Baylor was shut out at halftime for the first time since its 2010 game at OSU. The Bears scored 24 points, but 21 came in the fourth quarter (which OSU entered with a 49-3 lead). Baylor also had 193 yards of offense in the fourth quarter.
• Texas Tech did not score an offensive touchdown and did not have a snap in the red zone while generating just 270 yards of total offense.

Spotlight Defense
In the biggest game of the OSU season, the Cowboy defense played perhaps its best game of the Gundy era. OSU was dominant on both sides of the ball in the win over the Oklahoma Sooners it a battle for the Big 12 championship.
• The OSU defense scored on a fumble recovery by Richetti Jones.
• The defense set up a 1-yard touchdown drive when Alex Elkins sacked Landry Jones and forced a fumble. It was recovered by DE Jamie Blatnick, who ran 59 yards to the OU one, setting up a Joseph Randle touchdown.
• Oklahoma averaged 3.3 yards per rush.
• The Sooners had 15 possessions against the Cowboys resulting in eight punts, five turnovers, one field goal and a touchdown on their last possession of the game.
• OU rushed for 108 yards with 102 of that coming in the second half and 78 coming in the fourth quarter.
• OSU forced five turnovers and seven drives of 21 yards or less.
• Oklahoma was held to its lowest point total since scoring three in 2009 against Nebraska.
• The 34 point loss was the worst for Oklahoma since a January 2005 setback against Southern California, 55-19.

Defensive Achievement
A couple more tidbits regarding the OSU defense:
• The Cowboys allowed just 10 touchdown passes while picking up 18 interceptions in conference play.
• OSU led the Big 12 in scoring defense in Big 12 play, allowing 25.4 points per game.

Building a Tradition
Under Mike Gundy, OSU continues to grow as a program. Since the opening of the 2008 season, the Cowboys are 40-11. That win total is the best ever for OSU over a three-year-plus period and the Cowboys are eighth nationally in wins during that time. OSU is sixth in wins over the last two years with 22.

Most Wins Since 2008
1. Boise State - 48
2. Alabama - 47
3. TCU - 45
4. Oregon - 43
5. Virginia Tech - 42
6. Oklahoma - 41
LSU - 41
8. Oklahoma State - 40
Utah - 40

Gundy in Perspective
Head coach Mike Gundy is in his seventh season as head coach at his alma mater with a blossoming resume in Stillwater. He is 58-30 and clearly building a sustained period of success at OSU.
• OSU was 12-15 under Gundy after 27 games, but has gone 46-15 since, including 40-11 over the last 51 games, 31-7 over the last 38 and 22-3 over the last 25.
• Gundy's 58 wins at OSU rank second all-time behind his former coach, Pat Jones (62-60-3).
• Gundy's .659 winning percentage is second best at OSU. That OSU chart is topped by Hall-of-Famer Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf (.735).
• Perhaps the most impressive part of Gundy's tenure at OSU is that he has built the program with three different offensive coordinators and three different defensive coordinators. Three of his former assistants have left Oklahoma State to become head coaches (Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, Larry Fedora at North Carolina and Tim Beckman at Illinois).
• Under Gundy, OSU has gone to six straight bowl games (an OSU first) and won at least seven games in six straight seasons (another school first) and at least nine games in four straight seasons (yet another first), and 11 games in two straight seasons (yes, another first).
• Under Gundy, OSU has reached the top 10 of the AP poll for a school-best fourth straight season.

Home in the Polls
Oklahoma State has been in the top 10 each week of the 2011 season. At no time in its history has OSU been more visible in the polls than during the Mike Gundy era.
• The bowl game will mark OSU's 22nd straight as a member of the Associated Press top 25.
• Including the bowl, OSU has been ranked by the AP 44 times in its last 48 games, including 29 games as a member of the top 15.
• Oklahoma State began the 2009 and 2011 seasons ninth in the AP poll. Those are the only two preseason top 10 appearances in school history.
• In 2010, the Cowboys finished No. 10 in the USA Today poll, marking the first time OSU closed a season in the top 10 of a major poll since 1984 when OSU was seventh in the final AP vote.
• The highest the Cowboys have been ranked under Gundy is the No. 2 spot that the Pokes held for two weeks in 2011.
• Under Gundy, OSU is 32-11 as a member of the top 25.
• Under Gundy, OSU has spent 23 weeks (including weeks in which OSU was idle) in the top 10. Prior to Gundy, OSU had spent just 25 weeks in the top 10 of the AP poll in its history. The Cowboys hold an all-time record of 28-10 when ranked in the top 10.
• Under Gundy, OSU has cracked the Associated Press top 10 in four straight seasons -an OSU first.
• The Stanford game will be OSU's 13th in a row as a member of the AP top 10 - an OSU first.
Mike Gundy has beaten at least one ranked team every year as head coach.

Ranked Repercussions
Oklahoma was the fourth ranked team to lose to Oklahoma State this season. It's the first time OSU has won four games over ranked opponents in the same season since the 1976 Big Eight championship team knocked off four. The Fiesta Bowl game vs. No. 4 Stanford gives the Pokes a chance to beat five ranked teams in the same season for the first time ever.

Streaking in Stillwater
OSU will carry several team and individual streaks into the bowl game:
Josh Cooper has at least one catch in 28 straight games.
• Safety Markelle Martin has started 36 straight games to lead the team.
• OSU has completed a pass of at least 31 yards in 20 straight games.

Back in Blackmon
There is plenty of information on Justin Blackmon in his updated bio in this publication. A couple of the biggest highlights...
• Was a unanimous All-Big 12 selection each of the past two seasons and he is OSU's 10th two-time All-American.
• He set a school record this fall with 113 catches, breaking his own record of 111 set last season.
• He has 223 catches over his last 24 games and 35 touchdowns during that same time frame.
• Eleven times in his career he has reached double figures in catches.
• He is tied for second all-time at OSU with 18 100-yard receiving games.
• 2010 and 2011 Biletnikoff Award winner
• His numbers aren't quite up to last year's record-breaking campaign, but part of the dropoff can be attributed to playing time. Blackmon played less than a half against Missouri (injury) and Kansas (OSU was up 56-7 at halftime). His playing time was also limited against Tulsa and Texas Tech due to big leads.
• He set an NCAA record with 14 straight games with at least 100 receiving yards. That streak ended with his seven-catch, 57-yard, one-TD night against Tulsa earlier this season.

Weeden Watching
It is ironic that Brandon Weeden's school record streak of 24 straight games with a touchdown pass ended in the victory over Oklahoma. It is the only game of Weeden's career without a TD pass (and the Cowboys still scored 44 points). Weeden is 22-3 as a starter, including 11-1 away from Boone Pickens Stadium. Some other Weeden numbers:
• He has at least two TD passes in 21 of his 25 starts.
• Four times in his career he has tossed at least five touchdown passes (including at Texas Tech in 2011).
• He has now passed for 8,861 yards in his career.
• Weeden's 4,328 passing yards in 2011 break the school record he set last season with 4,277 yards.
• His 34 TD passes in 2011 tie the school record he set last season.
• At Texas Tech, Weeden set a new OSU record with his 69 career touchdowns passes and he passed his head coach in career passing yards and career total offense (8,718). He now has 72 TD passes for his career.
• In Big 12 play, Weeden has 26 touchdown passes and six interceptions. That body of work includes less than one half of play against Kansas and less than three quarters at Texas Tech due to big Cowboy leads.

Sharp Performance
Quinn Sharp has perhaps the most powerful leg in the game. In his first season of handling all of the Cowboy kicking chores, Sharp has been among the nation's best at just about everything. Sharp is the first player in Big 12 history to be named all-league as a punter and kicker.
• He earned first-team All-America honors from the FWAA as both a punter (2010) and as a kicker (2011).
• He was the 2011 Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.
• He would be second in the nation in punting if he had enough attempts to qualify with an average of 46.6 yards.
• Sharp has 18 punts this season in excess of 50 yards and has at least one punt of 51 yards in every game except Texas Tech.
• He has hit 20 of his 23 field-goal attempts.
• He leads the nation with 56 touchbacks on kickoffs. He has led the country in that category each of the past three seasons.
• Sharp is No. 7 nationally in scoring with 11.2 points per game and set a school record by going 10-for-10 on extra point tries against Kansas.

Shaun Shines
Sophomore Shaun Lewis did not receive All-Big 12 honors, but the linebacker has made an impression in his first two years on campus. He may touch the ball more than any defensive player in the country. He has just 18 career starts and yet he has five interceptions (two of which he returned for touchdowns), four fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles. And his plays have been big...
• His 28-yard interception return vs. Texas A&M in 2010 set the stage for Dan Bailey's walk-off game-winning field goal.
• He picked off a Landry Jones pass in last year's Oklahoma game and returned it 52 yards for OSU's first score.
• His interception at Missouri set up an OSU touchdown and his fumble recovery in Columbia stopped Missouri in the red zone.
• He had a 70-yard interception return at Iowa State last time out for OSU's first score of the game and deflected a pass that was intercepted by Alex Elkins near the end of regulation.

As the Turnstiles...um...Turn
Oklahoma State's 2011 season was a record-breaking one at the box office. The school set a stadium record when 58,895 fans attended the Kansas State game. This season, OSU has hosted the largest, third (Baylor), fourth (Oklahoma), fifth (Kansas), ninth (Louisiana) and 10th (Arizona) largest crowds in school history. The last four home games have provided four of the top five crowds in school history. OSU's old record for average attendance of 53,719 was set in 2009. This season, OSU raised that record to 57,229.

Youman the Defender
Senior Wilson Youman absolutely has to be one of the busiest players in college football. This season he has seen action on offense, defense and special teams. The senior played on offense as a tight end, on defense as a defensive end and on the special teams kicking units. Since arriving on campus, Youman has bounced between offense and defense, but 2011 is the first time he has seen game action on both sides of the ball in the same game. He has two pass receptions for six yards and against Texas he picked up his first sack of the season. At Missouri, he turned in the best game of his defensive career with seven tackles to lead OSU's down linemen. He had two tackles for loss, caused a fumble that ended a Missouri drive in the red zone and he deflected a pass that was intercepted.

Three Diplomas
Three members of the Cowboy roster, quarterback Brandon Weeden (business), center Grant Garner (business management), and defensive end Jamie Blatnick (health promotions) have already earned their degrees at Oklahoma State.

Uniform Note
Oklahoma State sports a new look in 2011 - actually 48 new looks. OSU has partnered with Nike this season to play in Nike Pro Combat uniforms. OSU has its choice of 48 different combinations with helmets of white, black and gray, jerseys of black, gray and orange (for home games), and pants that are black, white, orange or gray. A player panel has made the game selections for the entire season.

Grab Bag
• Twenty-two Cowboys have a tackle for a loss this season.
• Fourteen Cowboys have a sack this season.
• Eleven Cowboys have intercepted a pass this season.
James Thomas had one career interception in three years before picking off four so far this season.
• Defensive end Jamie Blatnick has 11.5 tackles for loss this season. No OSU tackle had more than 4.0 TFLs all of last season.
• Fourteen Cowboys have scored a touchdown this season.

 

 

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