Stanford controlled the football for an absurd 42 minutes of the game, while Oklahoma State had it for only 18. The Cardinal were lethal on third down (8-14). The Cowboys were not (4-12).
Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon did have a big game, but that was expected: the Stanford defense made up for it by smothering the Cowboys' running attack to the tune of only 26 yards, and ultimately did its job by putting the Cardinal offensive juggernaut in position to drive for the winning score.
Yet, the Cardinal lost in gut-wrenching fashion because of a head-scratching decision.
Despite Luck's dominance, David Shaw elected to let his injured kicker decide the game. Jordan Williamson missed three field goals, including a potential game-winner at the end of regulation and an overtime shank that set up the Cowboys victory.
"Our kids played hard, but they just didn't finish the game," Shaw said afterwards.
In all likelihood, Andrew Luck - playing the finest game of his career - would have finished the game successfully, but he wasn't given that opportunity.
With a minute to work with, all three timeouts, unbreakable momentum, and possibly the greatest college quarterback ever at his disposal, the decision seemed easy. Keep in mind that, since the first quarter, Luck had completed 16 of 17 passes. The one incompletion was a drop by his fullback. Oklahoma State wasn't going to stop No. 12.
Instead, wide left.
Despite it all, Williamson got the nod again less than 10 minutes later, this time for an even more difficult 47-yard try in overtime.
"Against a team like Oklahoma State, you can't settle for field goals," Shaw said after the game.
Unfortunately, the coaching staff settled for two in crunch time - even when Stanford didn't have to. It was a deflating end to the epically successful Andrew Luck era.
50-41. More memorable moments - Loukas, Luck, and a phantom clipping call
40. Fake out - Luck stuns UW with a naked bootleg in 2010
39. Polls and bowls - Stanford climbs into college football's beauty contests
38. Steamrolled - Card run for 446 yards in 2011 beatdown of UW
37. Opening act - 2009 win over Ducks launches a November to remember
36. Going bowling - Loss to Sooners doesn't ruin first bowl game since 2001
35. "Shut up and play football" - Cal jaws pregame, falls behind 45-0 in 2010
34. Look ma, no legs - Luck throws a 52- yard dart while in free fall
33. Sit down - Burfict's head leads to go-ahead TD, Wilkerson's ices W at ASU
32. Injury bug - Despite multiple injuries, 2011 Card manage to rally
31. Whale watching - Stanford starts recruiting at an elite level
30. Suck for Luck - The media machine anoints the next football savior
29. Outta my way - Luck bounces off Cattouse for a 50-yard run
28. 0 for 3 - Card post three shutouts in 2010 campaign
27. Laying the wood - Luck lays out Wright
26. Concussed - Owusu is knocked out of four games
25. Jumping ahead - A 21-3 lead vanishes in Autzen in 2010
24. So close, yet so far - Luck's worst game costs Card 2009 Big Game
23. Run, Toby, run - Gerhart takes over against the Irish
22. Xs and Os… and Ys and Zs - Stanford toys with defensive coordinators
21. "The perfect football player" - Marecic makes purists weep
20. Rumor Mill - Report: Harbaugh to take every NFL job
19. "What's Your Deal?" - Stanford hands USC worst home beatdown ever
18. Continuity Unknown to Mankind - David Shaw named Harbaugh's successor
17. Whitaker Beats USC - Cardinal hand the Trojans another soul-crusher
16. We've Got the Axe - Stanford wins first Big Game in six years
15. Return of the Red Zone - Cardinal students populate the stadium in force
14. Blown Away - Stanford takes Virginia Tech to the woodshed in Orange Bowl
13. Streaking - Stanford wins 10 straight games by 25+ points
David Lombardi, a TV and radio (95.7 The Game SF) personality in the Bay Area, is a Stanford and Pac-12 Conference enthusiast. He has broadcast the Cardinal on KZSU for several years. You can check out several of his Stanford calls and other writing at www.davidlombardisports.com.
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