The (19)Oklahoma State Cowboys brought their high-flying offense to Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fl to face the tough (22)Virginia Tech Hokies defense and fireworks ensued. In the end, the Cowboys offense prevailed as they took the Camping World Bowl trophy with a 30-21 victory in front of 39,610 fans.
The game was the 12th straight bowl game for the Cowboys, and head coach Mike Gundy is now 8-4 in bowl games since his first year in Stillwater in 2005. Both teams were going for 10-win seasons this year.
“These guys have been tremendous for Oklahoma State football, the university. They’re very humble.” said Gundy. “They won a lot of football games. They have been tremendous in the classroom. And that’s what we look for. And so it was a good game for us.”
The game started with OSU driving quickly down to the Tech 14 yard line only to have the drive stalled at the Hokies 14 and having to settle for a field goal. The Cowboys, who average 46.3 points per game, had difficulty punching through the tough Tech front line, as they continuously reminded them of why they were #22 in the nation: a stout defense.
Hokies redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Jackson was without two of hits most dangerous weapons, wide receiver Cam Phillips (sports hernia surgery) and running back Travon McMillian has decided to transfer and didn’t play.
Jackson still had a respectable 22 of 41 passing for 248 yards, a touchdown an an interception without them, but it wasn’t the missing pieces that hurt the Hokies. It was the missed opportunities.
Set up for 1st-and-goal at the Oklahoma State 1-yard line in the second quarter, Jackson fumbled away the handoff, a turnover that resulted in a Cowboys field goal. Then on the second play of the third quarter, with the Hokies down 27-14 and siting at the Cowboys’ 11, Jackson was sacked on 4th-and-8, a 14-play, 48-yard drive wasted.
To be fair, the Hokies couldn’t contain running back Justice Hill, who had 120 yards and a TD on 23 carries and Biletnikoff Award winner James Washington caught five balls for 126 yards and a score. But Rudolph’s 351 passing yards were his fewest since West Virginia limited him to 216 and only one other Power 5 team, Texas held him to fewer yards (282).
“I don’t really remember Oklahoma State making very many, if any mistakes, and we made you know, a handful, just enough to kind of keep us from pulling the thing off.” Said Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente “And that’s not to say that Oklahoma State doesn’t deserve credit for winning the game. They do. They have a fine football team. They’re well coached and did a good job.”
The Hokies attempted a last minute comeback after the Cowboys seemed to seal the game with a 38 yd field goal with just over 2 minutes to play. A key penalty and sack made the fate of the game seem clear.
Mason Rudolph threw for 351 yards and a pair of touchdowns on his way to winning game MVP honors, James Washington had a long touchdown grab and became Oklahoma State’s career receiving yards leader.
The game definitely lived up to it’s billing, and except for a few penalties and miscues, it could have gone head-to head to the end. Oklahoma State goes home with a well deserved victory, but the Hokies had a bright future ahead of them.