Vitals: Stanford Cardinal vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys

Friday, December 30th 2011, 7:56 pm

By: News 9

No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (11-1, 8-1) vs. No. 4 Stanford Cardinal (11-1, 8-1)
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
7:30 p.m., Jan. 2
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

Statistical Leaders:

  Oklahoma State Stanford
Passing Brandon Weeden
379-522, 4,328 YDs, 34 TDs, 12 INTs
Andrew Luck
261-373, 3,170 YDs, 35 TDs, 9 INTs
Rushing Joseph Randle
198 carries, 1,193 TDs, 23 TDs
Stepfan Taylor
207 carries, 1,153 YDs, 8 TDs
Receiving Justin Blackmon
113 receptions, 1,336 YDs, 15 TDs
Griff Whalen
49 receptions, 664 YDs, 4 TDs

Injury Report:

Oklahoma State: WR Hubert Anyiam (out, foot); OL Jonathan Rush (out, knee); CB Devin Hedgepeth (out, Achilles); FS Johnny Thomas (out, academics).

Stanford: TE Zach Ertz (probable, knee); WR Chris Owusu (doubtful, concussion); DB Wayne Lyons (out, foot); LB Shayne Skov (out, knee).

Where to find it…


On Radio: Cowboy Radio Network

What you need to know…

The Oklahoma State Cowboys missed out on a shot for the National Championship, but were selected to their first-ever BCS Bowl and perhaps one of the most marquee matchups in all of bowl season. The Cowboys are an offensive juggernaut this season, ranking second in the nation in scoring offense (49.33 ppg), second in passing yardage per game (386.25 ypg) and third in total yardage (557 ypg). However, the defense has played a big part in the success for OSU, coming up with a nation-leading 42 turnovers and ranking second nationally in turnover margin, just .02 behind LSU for the lead.

Stanford is no slouch on the offensive end of the field either, and is one poor outing from Luck away from making its case for a national championship. The Cardinal ranks 11th nationally in total offense with 480.9 yards per game, but employs more of a balanced attack than its Fiesta Bowl counterpart. Stanford averages 278.5 yards per game through the air and 207.9 yards per game on the ground, both good enough for Top 30 nationally, averaging 43.6 points per game. Additionally, Stanford is giving up just 20.3 points and 331.42 yards per game this season.

Who you need to watch…

Brandon Weeden is the Cowboys' all-time passing king and looks to add one more feather in his already highly-decorated Oklahoma State cap. The senior is in the top 10 in all of the major statistical categories this season, ranking third in both yards (4,328) and completion percentage (74.2), while sitting sixth in touchdowns (34) and 10th in passer rating (159.1).

Receiver Justin Blackmon has also been outstanding for Oklahoma State this year and hauled in his second consecutive Biletnikoff Award in the process. The junior wideout is second in the nation in receptions with 113, tied for fourth in touchdowns with 15 and is eighth with 1,336 total yards. At 6-foot-1, 215-pounds, he is a matchup nightmare for any cornerback in the nation.

The Cowboys haven't been lax in the rushing game either, and sophomore running back Joseph Randle has been huge for OSU. The Union alum has rushed 198 times for 1,193 yards and 24 touchdowns in his first season as a starter for Oklahoma State and will carry the load in the bowl game as well.

It's impossible to mention the Stanford Cardinal and not talk about quarterback Andrew Luck. The highly-polished junior is a two-time Heisman trophy and will be the top pick if he declares for the upcoming NFL Draft. Luck has completed 70 percent of his passes for 3,170 yards, 35 TDs and just nine interceptions in his presumable final season in Palo Alto.

The Cardinal's balance on offense comes from the outstanding performance of running back Stepfan Taylor. The junior back has rushed for 1,153 yards on 207 carries, for a 5.3 yards per carry average, and eight touchdowns. He also has been on the receiving end of 22 passes for 161 yards and a pair of scores.

Tight end Coby Fleener has been money for Luck all season, and is the top-rated tight end in the upcoming NFL Draft class. The senior has racked up 648 yards – second on the team by just 16 yards – on just 32 receptions and has caught a whopping 10 touchdown passes in his senior campaign, including two in the regular season finale win over Notre Dame.


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