OSU wins school-record 11th game
Blackmon's 71-yard TD grab highlights offensive explosion
The Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO -- Justin Blackmon could've strolled into the end zone. But the Oklahoma State star instead turned left and trotted along the goal line until he almost reached the sideline, finally forced to make the touchdown official.
Maybe he was taking it all in. Because the nation's top receiver might not be back.
Blackmon caught two touchdowns, including his 71-yard strike that he savored long as possible before scoring, and No. 16 Oklahoma State finished its first 11-win season with a 36-10 victory against Arizona in the Alamo Bowl on Wednesday night.
"I just wanted to have a little fun," Blackmon said of taking the long way to the end zone.
The fun didn't stop there.
Blackmon, the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top receiver, later set an NCAA record with his 12th consecutive game with at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. The sophomore caught nine passes for 117 yards in perhaps his last college game.
He's a projected high NFL pick who also surpassed former Pitt star Larry Fitzgerald for most receiving yards by a sophomore in NCAA history.
So what's left to accomplish?
"No one knows," said Blackmon about whether he'll come back to Oklahoma State. "We just have to see. We'll have to figure it out."
Brandon Weeden was 25 of 41 for 240 yards for Oklahoma State (11-2) in the final game plan for Cowboys offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, who is leaving to become the coach-in-waiting at West Virginia.
Oklahoma State, which led the nation in total offense, won its first bowl game in three tries and scored at least 33 points for the 11th time this season.
Arizona (7-6) ended the year with five consecutive losses. Coach Mike Stoops said he'll enter the offseason taking a hard look at his program, which fell shy of the eight wins it posted in the previous two seasons.
"We'll have to re-evaluate a lot of things," Stoops said.
This last, lopsided defeat made Arizona's 7-1 record and No. 13 ranking in November seem like that was much longer ago. Nick Foles completed 32 of 50 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown, but he threw three interceptions, including one returned by Markelle Martin for a 62-yard score.
The Wildcats had their chances early. But six possessions inside Oklahoma State territory in the first half resulted in just one touchdown.
"It's time to move forward," Foles said of the five consecutive losses. "We can't keep thinking about it."
Oklahoma State now awaits whether this was a farewell victory lap for its biggest stars.
Weeden and Blackmon are both projected NFL draft picks if they leave early. Blackmon seems poised to follow former teammate Dez Bryant as a first-rounder, and may have little incentive to return after being chosen as the Big 12 offensive player of the year. Both players say Holgorsen's departure won't influence their decision.
"I think they both need to come back,'' Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. ``Both of them can mature. I know they can develop."
Holgorsen wont' be back, but he helped give his duo another big night.
After Arizona couldn't convert a fourth down at the Cowboys' 29-yard line on its opening possession, Weeden found Blackmon practically uncovered down the sideline. Weeden said Blackmon, a little frustrated with the lack of throws his way, told him to throw him the "daggum ball" before tossing the long striks his way.
Arizona fans didn't appreciate the showboating.
"I don't like to taunt," Gundy said. "But he cut across the field and was having a little fun, and proving his ankle was back to normal."
Blackmon scored for a second time on a 3-yard pass in the third quarter, breaking the game open after Alex Zandejas' 42-yard field goal put Arizona back within two scores.
Arizona's only other score came in the first quarter when Juron Criner caught a 5-yard touchdown from Foles, who was playing back in the Alamodome where he was a Texas prep star.
The Cowboys can take comfort even if forced to replace more than Holgorsen: They lost Bryant and switched to a new quarterback this season, only to shatter practically every school passing record. They're also toasting the most wins in school history after debuting seven new defensive starters.
It's why the Cowboys began the season picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 South. Instead, Oklahoma State came within a wild fourth quarter against Oklahoma of playing for its first Big 12 title. Nebraska handed the Cowboys their only other loss.
Arizona was denied a third consecutive eight-win season and absorbed another bowl pummeling after losing 33-0 to Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl last year.
The Pac-10 returned to the Alamo Bowl for the first time since 1994 after the game ended a 15-year run with the Big Ten. The Pac-10's deal with the Alamo Bowl runs through 2013.