Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona: Cowboys Win A Rout Over Wildcats, 36-10

Cowboys win the Alamo Bowl in a walk, making them one of the potential favorites in next year's new-look Big 12.

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Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona: Cowboys Blast Wildcats, Likely Cranking Up Offseason Buzz

With perennial power Texas trying to pick itself off the mat and Nebraska bolting for the 12-member Big Ten, Oklahoma State came into Wednesday night’s game against Arizona with a chance to establish itself as a front-runner in next year’s 10-member Big 12. (Don’t ask.)

Go ahead and start up the Cowboys hype machine. Oklahoma State drilled Arizona, 36-10, in the Valero Alamo Bowl, a game that might have even felt more lopsided to those watching than the score indicates.

Not that Oklahoma State held a huge statistical advantage — or a box-score advantage of any kind. The Wildcats actually outgained the Cowboys, 370-312, and had 25 first downs to Oklahoma State’s 17. But the Cowboys’ defense, which was not supposed to be their strong suit, picked off Nick Foles three times, with one of the interceptions returned for a touchdown. And when the turnovers and other errors came, the OSU offense capitalized.

Brandon Weeden was 25-of-41 for 240 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Justin Blackmon caught nine of those passes, including both of the scores, for 117 yards. Among those connections was a 71-yard bomb that gave Oklahoma State a 14-0 lead and was the first real indication that Arizona might be in over its head.

For Arizona, it was the latest in a string of late-season defeats, all part of one of the most memorable meltdowns of the year. The Wildcats started the season 7-1, with goals like a BCS berth and a Top 10 postseason ranking well within reason. They end 2010 at 7-6, sharing a record with several other teams that will be unranked and unremembered by the time the offseason ends.

Oklahoma State will certainly be remembered, but the program still has several hurdles to clear to make sure it remains a Big 12(-2) front-runner next season -- a label in-state rival Oklahoma will likely share. Running back Kendall Hunter, who was quiet Wednesday but a major part of the offense during the regular season, will be gone. Weeden and Blackmon are eligible for the NFL Draft if they want to leave early. And offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, who directed the system that clicked so well with his players’ talents, is off to be head-coach-in-waiting at West Virginia.

So Oklahoma State has a lot of questions heading into the offseason. But Wednesday night, the Cowboys looked like a team that also had a lot of answers.

For more on the Texas Bowl, visit Cowboys Ride For Free and Arizona Desert Swarm.

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Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona: Wildcats Score FG, Cowboys Score TD and FG

The teams trade punts to begin the second half, and then the Arizona offense starts to show the slightest signs of error-free life again. The Wildcats start out their second drive with pretty good field position — at their own 40-yard line — and drive a quick 35 yards to set up an Alex Zendejas field goal, this one good from 42 yards out.

Oklahoma State decides to strike back immediately. Josh Cooper and Kendall Hunter both rip off 15-yard runs. Justin Blackmon finishes off the drive with a beautiful catch along the sideline in the end zone, giving the Cowboys a 20-point lead that suddenly looks close to insurmountable.

And then the error-free part of Arizona’s offense collapses again. Nick Foles throws his third interception of the evening on the following Wildcats play. Weighing the impact of those picks is pretty easy; the Cowboys and Wildcats are even on almost every major offensive category tonight.

In any case, the Wildcats look to have stopped the Cowboys on fourth down near midfield before a face mask penalty extends the play. The drive ends with a Dan Bailey FG.

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Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona: Much Action, Little Scoring To Close Out The First Half

No scoring since the second interception of Nick Foles, but the final few minutes of the half certainly were eventful. Zona eventually forces Oklahoma State to punt, then drives 36 yards to set up a 47-yard field goal. Alex Zendejas, fresh off missing two crucial kicks in the rivalry game against Arizona State, also misses the key field goal here.

Arizona forces yet another punt — and then the fun really begins. The officials throw a controversial flag on a hit against Nick Foles, who is going out of bounds but has just stepped out when the defender — who launched while Foles was still in bounds — hits him. The refs then make sure that both teams hate them by calling back a catch on a replay where the incompletion seems to be established by anything but indisputable evidence.

Arizona then completes what appears to be a deep pass to set them up for what would be a significant touchdown — but it’s called back for offensive pass interference. The Wildcats then call a run for Nic Grigsby for 13 yards, who is tackled with a few seconds left on the clock. Mike Stoops and Co. decide to let the final seconds run off the clock without calling a timeout, and his explanation for not calling it in the halftime interview is not entirely clear.

Despite all that action on the final drive of the half, the score still stands at 23-7. The teams have already combined for 377 yards — most of them Arizona’s, but the three turnovers and missed field goal make up for that. The most unexpected stat is that no one has scored in more than 12-and-a-half minutes as the teams head to the locker room.

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Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona: Cowboys Add 10 Points, Thanks In Part To "Defense"

Consider Markelle Martin’s personal foul on the Arizona scoring drive water under the bridge; the defensive back picked off Nick Foles for a 62-yard touchdown in the second quarter, opening up a 16-point lead for the Cowboys early in the second quarter.

Earlier, Oklahoma State drove down to the Zona 23, only to see the offense sputter out. Dan Bailey came in an kicked a field goal to extend the lead back to two scores, then missed the point-after on Martin’s touchdown.

Arizona responds with another long drive, getting all the way down to the Oklahoma State 30 before Foles is picked off at the 2-yard line by Johnny Thomas. With 140 yards, the Wildcats have now outgained the Cowboys. But Foles’ two picks both ended promising drives, almost half of the yards came on a single touchdown drive, and the offense has otherwise failed to move the ball much.

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Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona: Wildcat Offense Shows Up As Nick Foles Throws TD To Criner

After Oklahoma State scored on its first two drives of the game, the only question was whether the Alamo Bowl would turn into a shootout or a blowout. Arizona finally showed the first flashes of what could be a shootout on its second drive of the game, going 63 yards on nine plays for a touchdown.

Nick Foles seems to be in rhythm, going 6-of-7 on the drive for 46 yards, including the five-yard touchdown to Juron Criner. Oklahoma State’s Markelle Martin helped when he lead with his helmet on a tackle that leveled Keola Antolin, a 15-yard penalty.

Zona then forced what will likely be one of the few three-and-outs of the night, judging from the early going. But the Wildcats were also eventually forced to punt.

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Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona: Jeremy Smith And Justin Blackmon To The End Zone, Cowboys Up 14-0

The 2010 Alamo Bowl should be a high-scoring event, and not even a stalled first drive could keep the Oklahoma St. Cowboys from getting on the board in the first five minutes. The Arizona Wildcats gave up a first down before stopping a Kendall Hunter reception for a loss, forcing a Cowboys punt.

Zona returner Bug Wright flubbed the punt, giving the ball back to future West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen’s offense. Six plays later Okie State RB Jeremy Smith darted in for a six-yard score, putting the Cowboys up 7-0.

Arizona’s first drive made it deep into Cowboy territory, aided by a big Travis Cobb kick return, before a fourth-down conversion attempt by QB Nick Foles bounced off the turf near WR Juron Criner’s feet.

The Cowboys scored on the next play, as an unbelievably wide-open Justin Blackmon caught a lob from Brandon Weeden and strolled 71 yards, taking time to run parallel to the entire goal line before stepping in.

For more on this game join Cowboys Ride For Free and Arizona Desert Swarm.

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Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma State Vs. Arizona Line And Pick: Nick Foles Can Upset The Cowboys

The line: Oklahoma St. Cowboys over Arizona Wildcats by -4 to -6, depending on where you look.

Notable Arizona units: The passing game has been straight fire, with the assault led by QB Nick Foles ranking ninth in the nation. Primary targets Juron Criner, David Roberts, and David Douglas highlight a widely distributed attack.

Notable Oklahoma State units: That secondary. You’d think I’d go with Okie State’s passing game, which has been even hotter than Arizona’s, but here’s the thing: the Wildcats actually have a sorta-decent pass defense, while the Cowboys have given up more yards through the air than all but one BCS-conference team. Sure, they play in the wide-open Big 12, but it’s not like the Pac-10 is the AFC North of college football.

The pick: Zona’s defense will at least slow Justin Blackmon and company, while OSU’s secondary is about to get picked apart by a future NFL quarterback. Arizona wins the upset, but merrily take the points.

The 2010 Texas Bowl kicks off at 6:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, December 29. The game will be televised on ESPN. For a complete list of bowls, browse our 2010 college football postseason schedule.

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2011 Draft Prospects: Remember Justin Blackmon, Juron Criner, Kendall Hunter In The Alamo

Oklahoma St. Cowboys redshirt sophomore WR Justin Blackmon is the highest-ranked 2011 NFL Draft prospect thus far in bowl season, as far as offensive players go. Though he hasn’t yet declared for the draft, Blackmon is expected to be picked in the first round, perhaps even higher than fellow Cowboy receiver Dez Bryant was a year ago.

Now that Zona QB Nick Foles has announced his intention to stick around, a receiver on the other side of the ball is the only major Arizona Wildcats draft prospect to follow: junior Juron Criner. The lengthy wideout grabbed over 1,000 yards this year and could go in the third round.

As this is a Big 12-Pac-10 matchup it may not shock you to learn our other major draft prospect is another skill position player. Mocking The Draft foresees Cowboys RB Kendall Hunter as a later-round utility back.

The 2010 Texas Bowl kicks off at 6:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, December 29. The game will be televised on ESPN. For a complete list of bowls, browse our 2010 college football postseason schedule.

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Alamo Bowl, Oklahoma St. Vs. Arizona: Wildcats Predict A Win, Cowboys Examine Arizona History

The Arizona Wildcats come into the Alamo Bowl in the midst of a painful four-game losing streak. After starting the season strong, Arizona skidding to a halt, falling from 7-1 to 7-5. Even with the season grinding to a halt, SB Nation's Arizona Desert Swarm expressed optimism ahead of Wednesday's match-up in San Antonio.

I think that this game is one where Arizona fans don't know much about Oklahoma State and surprise, surprise, Oklahoma State fans have no clue about Arizona's team. This will be a great battle in San Antonio with an indoor atmosphere (with alcohol! Yeah San Antonio). I am going to predict that Arizona will win. The time off and the "motivation" for the team to emerge from the shadow of their four losses should be enough to overcome great play making ability of Blackmon.

And, oh yeah, they predict a win and redemption for kicker Alex Zendejas after a rough outing in the Wildcats season-finale against rival Arizona State.

SB Nation's Cowboys Ride For Free took a different approach, putting together a love/hate list on famous Arizona alumni, fans and players. On the love side: Nick Foles, Jennie Finch, Natalie Gulbis and Rufus, the former live mascot of the Wildcats. On the hate side: Nichole Richie, Kourtney Kardashian and Ricky Elmore. Go check out the full list at Cowboys Ride For Free.

For more on Wednesday's Texas Bowl participants, visit Arizona Desert Swarm and Cowboys Ride For Free.

The 2010 Texas Bowl kicks off at 6:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, December 29. The game will be televised on ESPN. For a complete list of bowls, browse our 2010 college football postseason schedule.

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Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma State Cowboys, Arizona Wildcats Meet In San Antonio

Like Pac-10 and Big 12 showdowns? After Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott tried to raid the Big 12, with Oklahoma State emerging as an auxiliary target, the two Alamo foes came ever-so-close to being conference mates. Instead, the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Arizona Wildcats will battle on the field on Dec. 29 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The Wildcats season came crashing down over the last three weeks after Arizona ascended into the BCS top-20 midway through the season. After surging to a 7-1 record, the Wildcats fell hard, finishing the regular season with four straight losses and a 7-5 record. With the Pac-10 down in 2010, the Wildcats still emerged from the rubble with a bid to the top non-BCS bowl with a Pac-10 tie-in. Quarterback Nick Foles leads the Arizona offense into the Alamo Dome, looking to erase the poor taste the end of the season left the Wildcats.

Oklahoma State comes into the Alamo Bowl ranked No. 15 after narrowly missing the Big 12 title game. The Cowboys dropped a wild rivalry game against the Oklahoma Sooners, falling out of BCS contention with the loss. Oklahoma State brings a powerful offense led by Big 12 player of the year Justin Blackmon. The sophomore receiver finished the regular season with 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns. In the running game, Kendall Hunter is a more than capable back for Oklahoma State. The senior rushed for 1,516 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2010 to lead the Cowboys.

Oklahoma State and Arizona take the field in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 at 9:15 p.m. EST on ESPN.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream right up through game time, as we review key unit matchups, odds, bowl history and more, and connect with fans at SB Nation's Cowboys Ride For Free and Arizona Desert Swarm. For a complete list of bowl games, browse our 2010 college football postseason schedule.

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