Tuesday, January 1st 2013, 7:18 pm
Purdue fans might need a few boilermakers to get over that New Year's Day beat down.
Many questioned Oklahoma State's level of enthusiasm in participating in the Heart of Dallas Bowl after being passed over by several higher-profile destinations, but it didn't take long to put those uneasy feelings to rest on Tuesday.
The Cowboys were dominant in all three phases of the game from the get-go, dismantling an outmatched Purdue squad 58-14 at the Cotton Bowl for the Pokes' largest margin of victory in a bowl game since Mike Gundy was playing quarterback in a 62-14 rout of Wyoming in 1988.
Not only was the margin of victory substantial, it also marked the most points scored by a team in the 76 bowl games ever played in the Cotton Bowl stadium, surpassing the 55 scored by USC in 1995.
Oklahoma State accomplished plenty in this game but perhaps nothing more important than the statement it made – OSU was too good to be in this bowl. And it isn't even arguable.
The Cowboys were nearly in a no-win situation: A win was expected and no bowl game was a bigger mismatch on paper, as the Cowboys entered as 17-point favorites. On the flip side, a loss would have been a disaster, ending the season on a three-game skid.
But fortunately for the Cowboys, they did the one thing they could have to impress – they obliterated the Boilermakers in record-setting fashion, putting the Pokes back on the national radar heading into the offseason.
Gundy deserves a lot of credit for getting his team fired up for a game at which Cowboy Nation sneered when it was announced. The Pokes were ready to go from the first kick and excelled in every facet.
Clint Chelf was on point for the Pokes, connecting on 17-of-22 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns as OSU amassed 524 yards of offense. The defense played one of its most complete games of the season, forcing a season-best five turnovers. Even the special teams dominated, highlighted by Quinn Sharp's 3-for-3 field goal performance and 52.7-yard punt average combined with Josh Stewart's electric 64-yard punt return.
OSU was methodical and relentless in every conceivable way, including continuing to throw the ball down field well into the fourth quarter.
As lopsided as the 58-14 final was, it could have been much worse for the Boilermakers.
OSU's starters built a 45-0 lead with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter before the Cowboy coaching staff appeared to pull in the reins, albeit only slightly.
Oklahoma State scored twice in the opening quarter on Chelf touchdown strikes to Charlie Moore and Blake Jackson of four and seven yards, respectively.
The Pokes struck again through the air in the opening minute of the second quarter when backup quarterback J.W. Walsh connected with reserve fullback Jeremy Seaton on a 16-yard strike up the middle for Seaton's first career touchdown.
The Pokes then used a 31-yard reception by Stewart to set up a five-yard touchdown scamper by Jeremy Smith to take a commanding 28-0 halftime lead.
But OSU wasn't done scoring. Not by a longshot.
On the third play of the third quarter, Purdue's Robert Marve appeared to complete a first-down pass to Akeem Shavers but OSU cornerback Justin Gilbert dislodged the ball, which was snagged out of midair by safety Daytawion Lowe and returned 37-yards for a touchdown and a 35-0 lead that virtually sealed this game and sucked the life out of the Purdue sideline.
OSU tacked on a 20-yard Sharp field goal and a 37-yard connection between Chelf and Isaiah Anderson to swell the lead to an insurmountable 45-0, sending the Cowboys' starters to the bench for good.
Purdue scored two passing touchdowns against OSU's second and third-string defenses to save face but the Cowboys' offensive backups accounted for 13 more points to set the Cotton Bowl stadium record for points as Gundy moved to 5-2 in bowl games at OSU.
This might not have been the bowl game the Cowboys wanted but from the opening kick to the hoisting of the trophy, it sure would've been hard to guess.
Oklahoma State kicked off the New Year with authority and will have plenty of momentum heading into the offseason. And surely the Pokes gained a little more respect will the bowl selection committees moving forward.
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