By Matthew Postins
Purdue committed five turnovers and Oklahoma State turned those miscues into 24 points as the Cowboys blew out the Boilermakers, 58-14, on Tuesday at Cotton Bowl Stadium.
The Cowboys scored the most points of any team in a bowl game played at the Cotton Bowl. They also set a Heart of Dallas Bowl record for most points by a single team.
In addition to the turnovers, the Cowboys had a 64-yard punt return by Josh Stewart that led to a touchdown, drove the field after a Purdue missed field goal and scored a touchdown, and turned Purdue’s failure to convert a fourth down in OSU territory into a touchdown.
Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf – who was the third-string quarterback when the season started – earned Most Valuable Player honors after throwing for 197 yards and 3 touchdowns on 17-of-22 passing. The victory was also Oklahoma State’s fifth in its last seven bowl games.
“This is extremely surreal,” Chelf said. “I had a lot of great guys around me making great plays today.”
Purdue threw in a couple of Robert Marve touchdown passes late in the contest, as the sixth-year senior ended his long, winding college career with 212 yards passing and 2 interceptions.
But this game was all about the Cowboys (8-5) and their ability to turn Purdue’s misfortune into points.
“The overall speed of our team was different (than Purdue) and that was the difference,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. “We were able to make plays and create turnovers.”
Purdue’s first drive ended with a punt, but not before punter Cody Webster executed a gutsy fake at the Boilermaker 13. When Webster punted later in the drive, Cowboys wide receiver Josh Stewart returned the kick 64 yards to the Purdue 19, setting up Charlie Moore’s 4-yard touchdown reception.
“When they faked that punt they got our attention,” Gundy said. “It was a nice call on their part.”
That punt return was Stewart’s first of the season. Gundy said Stewart came to him before the game and said he wanted a chance to return punts. Stewart also caught five passes for 56 yards.
Purdue’s next drive ended when Oklahoma State tipped a Robert Marve pass and defensive back Shamiel Gary picked it off and returned it to the Purdue 26. Four plays later Chelf threw his second touchdown pass of the day, a 7-yarder to Blake Jackson, to make it 14-0 with 6:43 left in the first quarter.
Two quick possessions and two short fields led to 14 Cowboys points.
“We had some momentum with the change of possession and then the fake punt,” Purdue interim coach Patrick Higgins said. “Any time you put an offense like Oklahoma State in that position to score quickly that’s hard to come back from. We needed to keep the field long today.”
Purdue got rolling after that, driving deep into OSU territory before Sam McCartney missed a 34-yard field goal. That gave OSU the ball at their own 20 and the Cowboys then proved they could drive the length of the field, going 80 yards for a touchdown. On the drive the Cowboys went for it on 4th-and-1 from the Purdue 16, shuttling in redshirt freshman quarterback J.W. Walsh for Chelf.
Walsh hit Jeremy Seaton in the flat and Seaton powered into the end zone with a Purdue defender on his back to give OSU a 21-0 lead.
OSU scored its final touchdown of the first half after the Boilermakers failed to convert a 4th-and-2 at the OSU 28. From there Chelf marched them down the field, with Jeremy Smith scoring from 5 yards out.
The second half was no different. Purdue had the ball first and Marve’s pass to O.J. Ross was stripped by cornerback Justin Gilbert. Daytawion Lowe recovered the fumble and returned it 37 yard for a touchdown to make it 35-0 OSU. It was the Cowboys’ first defensive touchdown this season and the first in Heart of Dallas Bowl history.
“They threw a quick screen and Justin went out there and jarred it loose,” Lowe said. “I was there to help make the tackle and Justin just stripped it out of there and it popped into my hands.”
Oklahoma State’s defense had one of its better efforts of the season. They put pressure on Marve throughout the contest, forced five turnovers and gave up 367 yards. The Cowboys didn’t give up any points until Marve’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Cottom with less than a minute to play in the third quarter. That made the score 45-7 Cowboys.
Chelf didn’t play in the fourth quarter as the Cowboys opted to share snaps between Walsh and true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt.
OSU running back Joseph Randle rushed for 66 yards. Isaiah Anderson also had five catches for 78 yards. Gary and Lowe each had seven tackles, respectively.
Purdue’s Akeem Shavers finished with 93 rushing yards, while Ross finished with five catches for 29 yards.
It was an odd game for Purdue. Higgins was the interim head coach. Both the former head coach, Danny Hope, and the new head coach, Darrell Hazell, were on hand for the game. But that mattered little after this blowout.
“When you turn the ball over five times and you don’t take advantage of your opportunities, you end up with a game like this,” Higgins said.
Kevin Lonnquist’s take on Oklahoma State 58, Purdue 14
Name of the Game: Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf’s career came full circle. Relegated to the third team behind two freshmen — Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh — in the spring, the senior never got down on himself and finished the right way with a solid performance against the outmanned Boilermakers. Chelf’s numbers weren’t exceptional — 17-22-0 197 3TD — but they didn’t have to be with the defense creating five turnovers and the special teams doing its part. The performance capped off a pretty good coaching job by Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who guided this program to eight wins while using three different quarterbacks.
Key Stat: 524…Oklahoma State’s total offense. That’s just a little less than what the Cowboys averaged for the year at 548 (5th in the nation).
The Hero: Chelf. Why not? He deserved it after all he went through over the course of the year.
Looking Ahead: The quarterback situation should be just as interesting this spring between Lunt and Walsh. After suffering a knee injury earlier this year, it was good to see Lunt back on the field Tuesday. Junior running back Joseph Randle should be back as should sophomore wide receiver Josh Stewart. The defense has eight projected returning starters back, including defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, and the entire secondary, led by junior cornerback Justin Gilbert. The Cowboys just need someone to take over the kicking duties for the reliable Quinn Sharp.
Bottom Line: The Cowboys will score enough and be a bowl team. Gundy has created a program. The pieces are in place on both sides of the ball for this team to compete for the 2013 Big 12 championship.