The Pokes went with the all blacks for the bowl game and it looked pretty slick in person. The jersey combo wasn't my favorite even though I had been looking forward to it all year but the contrast of the all black look to Stanford's all whites was neat.
Brandon Weeden — A
After a shaky start, the Cowboy signal caller settled in and put together a performance worthy of the final game of his collegiate career. Weeden made the big throws when he had to and his final go-around with Justin Blackmon was memorable, en route to a final tally of 29-of-42 for 399 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. Toss in the first rushing TD of his career that tied the game heading into halftime and he had a pretty brilliant game after the first quarter. OSU fans will never forget what Weeden has done the past two seasons and he ended it all on a very high note.
Justin Blackmon — A+
Speaking of players who ended their career on a high note, Justin Blackmon was exceptional Monday night. He seemed to bring OSU back all by himself in the first half. Stanford hadn't allowed a receiver to reach 100 yards all season and the two-time Biletnikoff winner accomplished that feat on his first two catches, totaling 110 yards and both going for scores in the second quarter. The Ardmore native's third score was a 17-yarder that tied the game at 31 in the fourth and he made key catches that sparked other scoring drives. In his final game in a Cowboy uniform, Blackmon's performance is one this fanbase will never forget as he made eight catches for 186 yards and the three scores.
OSU run game — F
It's not good when the most memorable run of the night is a 2-yard dash by your 28-year-old quarterback. One of the biggest keys for the OSU offense was to achieve balance and the run game didn't provide any whatsoever. The Cowboys finished with 13 yards on 15 carries and was totally overmatched by a Stanford defense that was shredded on the ground by Oregon.
OSU defense — D
This could also have been an F if not for forcing a few three-and-outs, sacks and a turnover that really kept OSU in the game when the offense was struggling early. That bumps them a letter grade but overall things were pretty shaky on this side of the ball. Andrew Luck only had four incompletions on the night (27-31, 347 yards and 2 TDs) and the Cardinal ran on the Pokes at will to the tune of 243 yards and three touchdowns on five yards per carry.
Quinn Sharp — A+
You have to feel great for the Cowboys' junior special teams dynamo. He was excellent on Monday in every facet. He averaged 43.4 yards on five punts and pinned the Cardinal inside the 20 twice. He booted five of his seven kickoffs for touchbacks. And Sharp was 2-for-2 on field goals including the game winner to redeem missing last year's bowl game with an academic suspension and missing a potential game winner against Iowa State this season. Nobody here will ever blame Sharp for that miss but it was nice to see him get that shot at redemption anyway and take advantage of it.
Cowboy fans — A+
After a season that set nearly every attendance record in school history it really shouldn't come as a shock that OSU fans came to Arizona in mass but, simply, WOW!
OSU had considerably more fans than Stanford and I would venture to guess it was somewhere in the 30,000 range for orange-clad folk. It was a beautiful sight and the crowd was extremely vocal and supportive from start to finish.
I had two Stanford fans tell me at halftime that OSU had the nicest fans as an overall group that they had ever been around. Seems like that is always the case but it never hurts to hear it again. Give yourselves a pat on the back for a job very well done.