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GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Oklahoma State has its chance to be in the national-championship conversation.
All the Cowboys need now is a little help from Alabama.
Surviving a missed field goal at the end of regulation and getting a big kick of its own in overtime, No. 3 Oklahoma State opened the door for the chance at a split national championship with a wildly entertaining 41-38 win over the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal on Monday night.
“There is nothing we can do from here,” said Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon, who tied the Fiesta Bowl record with three touchdown catches. “I do think we do have the best team in the nation.”
Oklahoma State (12-1) kept pace with Andrew Luck and the high-scoring Cardinal, getting huge performances from its two stars, Brandon Weeden and Blackmon, in their final college game.
Weeden threw for 399 yards and the three touchdowns to Blackmon, who announced he’s leaving for the NFL after catching eight passes for 186 yards.
All that and the Cowboys’ fortunes came down to two legs, those of Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson and their own Jordan Sharp.
Williamson couldn’t come through. The redshirt freshman missed a 35-yard field goal wide left as time expired in regulation and another from 43 yards to open overtime.
Given a chip shot after Weeden hit Colton Chelf on a 24-yard pass — initially ruled a touchdown but overturned on review — Sharp came through, sending his 22-yard field goal through the uprights and the Cowboys charging onto the field.
Should Alabama knock off top-ranked LSU in next week’s BCS championship game, Oklahoma State will be right there, ready to stake its claim at being No. 1 in The Associated Press poll.
“We feel like we could beat anyone in the country,” Chelf said.
Stanford (11-2) had its chances.
The Cardinal had 590 yards of offense — nearly 200 more than Oklahoma State — got another stellar game from Luck before he heads to the NFL, and ran over Oklahoma State’s defense behind Stepfan Taylor.
They just couldn’t finish it off.
Luck calmly led Stanford 63 yards over the final 2:35 of regulation to set up a chance at winning its second BCS bowl game in two years. Instead, Williamson missed in regulation, again in overtime and was left sobbing in front of his locker while his coaches and teammates tried to shoulder some of the blame.
“In the end, we lost, and I’m as much to blame as anyone,” Luck said.
Taylor ran for 177 yards and a pair of scores. Luck was his usual steady self, hitting 27 of 31 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. The Cardinal held Oklahoma State to 15 yards rushing on 13 carries and didn’t give up the lead until the final play.
Still, it wasn’t enough, the Cardinal’s hopes sailing wide left off the right foot of Williamson, who missed three field goals after missing three all season.
“There’s an old saying that adversity reveals character — and that’s not just for him, that’s for all of us,” Stanford coach David Shaw said.
Outback Bowl: Michigan State 33, Georgia 30 (3 OT)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Down a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining and a long way to go, Kirk Cousins found a way to give Michigan State a parting gift.
A cornerstone of coach Mark Dantonio’s rebuilding project, Cousins led a late rally in the fourth quarter and Dan Conroy kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third overtime to lift the 12th-ranked Spartans over the No. 18 Bulldogs 33-30 Monday in the Outback Bowl.
Michigan State (11-3) ended a five-game bowl losing streak with its first postseason win since beating Fresno State in the 2001 Silicon Valley Bowl.
To do it, the Spartans — who had been 0-4 in bowl games under Dantonio — overcame a 16-0 halftime deficit and scored the tying touchdown with 14 seconds left in regulation.
“All week, all month, really, there was a sense of urgency in our preparation because the fact that for me as a senior, this was the last shot. Certainly all game long we felt that same way,” said Cousins, who completed 27 of 50 passes for 300 yards and was intercepted three times.
He was at his best during the tying 85-play, 10-yard drive in the closing minutes.
“And at halftime we had our doubts because of how successful their defense was in stopping us. ... But we found a way. It wasn’t perfect, but we certainly showed character, and that’s what I’m most proud of,” Cousins added. “We played with a great deal of maturity and toughness, and we weren’t afraid. We didn’t back down, and we found a way at the end. And that’s what great teams do.”
Georgia’s Blair Walsh became the Southeastern Conference’s career scoring leader with a field goal in the second extra period. But he missed a 42-yarder in the first overtime after conservative play-calling and had a 47-yard attempt blocked on the final play of the game.
The Spartans handed the Big Ten its lone win in three bowl matchups Monday against SEC opponents — Florida beat Ohio State and South Carolina stopped Nebraska.
“Big win against a great football team, against an SEC team, against a team that won their division and that was 10-2 in the regular season. ... There’s not a football team that we cannot play with and not win against. We’ve done that,” Dantonio said.
“We’ve beaten every football team in the Big Ten in the last four years. The standard has been set by our seniors. ... Two 11-win seasons, There’s not too many football teams in the country that are saying that right now. I would think that this, hopefully, helps solidify a Top 10 ranking in this year’s final polls.”
Georgia (10-4) finished on a two-game losing streak, including a lopsided loss to top-ranked LSU in the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs beat Michigan State in the 2009 Capital One Bowl, one of four bowl losses the Spartans had under Dantonio during their stretch of postseason futility.
Cousins guided the Spartans on their late drive without the aid of any timeouts, and Le’Veon Bell’s second touchdown of the game wiped out a 27-20 deficit. Cousins threw a 7-yard TD pass to Keith Nichol midway through the period and finished the day as Michigan State’s career passing and total offense leader.
The senior from Holland, Mich., was intercepted in the first overtime, giving the ball to Georgia. After the Bulldogs had a short run on their first play in overtime, coach Mark Richt elected to simply center the ball for a field goal try on third down, and Walsh’s kick was wide.
“It just went a little bit to the right. I don’t know what pulled it that way,” said Walsh, who moved ahead of Billy Bennett on the SEC career scoring list with 412 points when his 47-yarder that gave Georgia a 30-27 lead in the second overtime. “I’d trade all the points I could to just have three points (at the end) for us. I mean that.”
The Spartans’ comeback overshadowed a standout performance by Georgia’s Mr. Everything, Brandon Boykin. The cornerback scored a safety, returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown and caught a 13-yard TD pass that helped the Bulldogs take a late lead that one of the nation’s stingiest defenses couldn’t protect down the stretch.
Aaron Murray was 20 of 32 for 288 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for Georgia. Back home and playing in a stadium a few miles from where he and Bulldogs teammate Orson Charles also starred in high school for Tampa Plant, the redshirt sophomore an 80-yard scoring pass to Tavarres King, who had six receptions for 205 yards.
Both teams entered the game coming off losses in their conference championship games.
The Bulldogs began their year with losses to Boise State and South Carolina before rebounding to win the final 10 games of the regular season. Georgia led top-ranked LSU early in the SEC title game before being dominated over the last three quarters to lose a shot at a spot in a Bowl Championship Series game.