Justin Blackmon capped a remarkable season by breaking two NCAA records and three OSU records with his nine-catch, 117-yard, two touchdown performance to earn the game's offensive MVP award.
Strong safety Markelle Martin was all over the field against the Wildcats, including intercepting an Arizona pass and returning it 62 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to give the Cowboys a 23-7 lead. The junior from Wichita Falls, Texas was named the defensive MVP.
Dan Bailey proved why he was the winner of the Dan Groza Award give to the nation's best college kicker earlier this month. The senior from Mustang, Okla., was perfect on his three field goals attempts – 40, 50 and 44 yards – while handling all of the kicking duties for the Cowboys with Quinn Sharp not available to play. Bailey averaged 39 yards on five punts and kicked off.
Even Andrew Suter, who had not even played in the Cowboys 12 regular season games, got into the action. The true freshman from Sugar Land, Texas stepped in to handle the deep snapping duties with Marc Yerry ineligible, and on his first college play he raced down the field to recover a fumbled punt on the Arizona 26-yard line. Six plays later Jeremy Smith scored on a 6-yard run to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead, and the rout was on.
"I want to be able to thank our seniors for what they've been able to accomplish," Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said during the trophy presentation after the game. "We said that the seniors we had a year ago were the best we've ever had until this group took over and won 11 games. I'm very proud of the football team for what they've been able to accomplish and stay together."
The Wildcats – like every other OSU opponent this season – had no answer for the Brandon Weeden-to-Justin Blackmon connection. Blackmon showed no signs of an ankle injury suffered in late November against Kansas and which slowed him in the Bedlam showdown against Oklahoma.
He raced past the Arizona cornerback on OSU's third possession of the game for a 71-yard catch and run for his 19th touchdown of the season, tying Dez Bryant for the single-season school record (a mark he would break later in the game with a 3-yard scoring catch in the third quarter).
But it wasn't the only record that Blackmon would erase on this special night for Cowboy fans.
Blackmon set an NCAA record by recording his 12th-consecutive game of 100 receiving yards with at least one touchdown. He had shared the record of 11 consecutive games with Aaron Turner of Pacific, who achieved the feat in 1991.
The Cowboys receiver added another NCAA record as he finished the season with 1,782 receiving yards, the most ever by a sophomore. The old mark of 1,672 was set by Pittsburgh's Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.
In addition, Blackmon set three OSU single-season records: receptions (111), receiving yards (1,782), and touchdown catches (20). Rashaun Woods (107 catches, 1,695 yards in 2002) and Dez Bryant (19 touchdown receptions in 2008) previously held the records in those categories.
Weeden, who was 25 of 41 passing for 240 yards and the two TD passes, finishes his record-setting season with 4,277 passing yards and 34 touchdowns passes, and became the first Cowboy to surpass 4,000 yards of total offense in a single season.
But it wasn't just the offense but also the defense which came up with big plays. Bill Young's group entered the game fourth nationally with 30 takeaways in 12 games, and recorded four (three interceptions and Suter's fumble recovery on the punt) against the Wildcats. In addition to Markelle Martin's interception return for a touchdown, Cowboys Johnny Thomas and James Thomas picked off Arizona quarterback Nick Foles.
Middle linebacker Orie Lemon entered the bowl averaging nearly 10 tackles per game, and had a game-high 14 tackles (eight solo) to finish the season with 133 tackles (the second most by a Cowboy defender since 1986).