San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Justin Blackmon caught nine passes for 117 yards, including two highlight-reel touchdown grabs to lead No. 16 Oklahoma State to a 36-10 win over Arizona in the Alamo Bowl.
Blackmon scored on a 71-yard catch-and-run down the right sideline in the first quarter, helping Oklahoma State (11-2) take an early 14-point lead on the way to its first 11-win season in school history.
Brandon Weeden passed for 240 yards and connected with Blackmon for both touchdowns, Jeremy Smith scored on a short run and Markelle Martin returned an interception 62 yards for another score in the win.
Nick Foles passed for 280 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted three times for an Arizona team that couldn’t get out of its own way and was no match for the nation’s No. 1 offense.
“We should have played better than we did. Turnovers were certainly a big part of it,” said Arizona head coach Mike Stoops.
The Wildcats (7-6) dropped their fifth straight game to end the year, having lost to Stanford, USC, Oregon and Arizona State at the end of the regular season.
Blackmon, to no one’s surprise, was named the game’s offensive MVP.
But besides helping the Cowboys win, he also set an NCAA sophomore record with 1,782 receiving yards while establishing OSU single-season records for receptions (111), receiving yards, and touchdown catches (20).
Blackmon was the Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best wide receiver, leading a Cowboys offense that was ranked No. 1 in the nation with more than 537 yards per game.
They were outgained 370 yards to 312 against Arizona, but it hardly mattered.
The Wildcats muffed a punt early in the first quarter, leading to Smith’s six- yard touchdown run off left tackle for a 7-0 Oklahoma State lead.
Reeling, Arizona tried and failed to convert a fourth down on its side of the field and Blackmon caught a pass on the next play, getting behind a defender and taking the ball 71 yards for his first touchdown of the game.
“It was a big play,” Blackmon said. “I think it changed momentum, gave us a lot of spark as far as offense. Kind of made us want to come out, get it more.”
Blackmon ran the length of the goal line before taking it into the end zone.
“I wanted to have a little fun. That’s all it was,” he said.
Foles found Juron Criner for a leaping grab in the left side of the end zone for Arizona’s first points and a 14-7 game.
Dan Bailey kicked the first of his three field goals for Oklahoma State to make it 17-7 with six seconds left in the first quarter.
Foles led his offense across midfield on the ensuing possession, but Martin picked him off and returned the interception for a touchdown. Bailey missed the extra point, and the Cowboys carried a 23-7 lead into halftime after Arizona’s Alex Zendejas missed a 47-yard field goal.
Zendejas was good from 42 yards early in the third period, but the field goal would be Arizona’s final points.
Blackmon got his left foot down on a diving three-yard touchdown catch to make it 30-10 and Bailey kicked field goals of 50 and 44 yards for the final margin.
The first came after James Thomas intercepted Foles, and the second followed a Zendejas miss from 34 yards in the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys improved to 1-2 in the Alamo Bowl having, having lost previous matchups with Ohio State in 2004 and Purdue in 1997. OSU also snapped a two- game overall losing streak in bowl games.
Oklahoma State’s overall bowl record stands at 13-8…It was the first meeting between Oklahoma State and Arizona since 1942…The Cowboys took a 4-3 lead in the series…The game was a preview to the home-and-home series schedule between the schools next season…It was the first year the Alamo Bowl featured the Pac-10 and Big 12 conferences. For the previous 15 years, the game pitted the Big 12 against Big Ten competition.