Woodward, Okla. —
By Jason Elmquist
CNHI News Service
DALLAS — The Oklahoma State football team closed its 2012 season the same way it opened it — in blowout fashion.
The Cowboys throttled Big 10 opponent Purdue 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl at the Cotton Bowl to cap an up-and-down season on a high note.
“I think the overall speed of our football team was considerably different, and that’s what made the difference in the football game,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “We were able to make some good players, force some turnovers and take advantage of them.
The Oklahoma State defense manhandled the Boilermakers, shutting out Purdue for nearly three quarters — at which point OSU was already up by 45 just before the fourth quarter.
The Cowboy defense, which was averaging just one takeaway per game during the regular season, came up with five force turnovers — including one returned for a touchdown.
“Our defense was really good. I thought our defense played very opportunistic, meaning there were some times where our players made plays at key points in the game, and we were able to force those turnovers and get off the field,” Gundy said. “I was really happy with those guys.”
OSU’s defense got its first defensive touchdown of the season when Justin Gilbert stripped O.J. Ross and the ball bounced into the arms of Daytawion Lowe, who ran it 37 yards into the end zone. It was the first fumble for a touchdown in the three-year history of the bowl and just the third fumble for a touchdown in 76 games held at the Cotton Bowl.
“I was running over there to try to help (Gilbert) before he got the first down. He made a good play, stripped it down and popped it right into my hands,” Lowe said. “It really was a credit to Justin on that. I just ran it in.”
It was retribution for a defense that struggled down the stretch in back-to-back losses to Oklahoma and Baylor.
But while the defense played improved, the Cowboy offense contintued to roll.
Oklahoma State’s offense took advantage of the turnovers to set a record for most points scored in a bowl game played at the Cotton Bowl — of 76 games played at the historic venue - surpassing USC’s 55-point outburst against Texas Tech in 1995. It was also the second-most points by OSU in a bowl game, trailing only the 62 points scored in the 1988 Holiday Bowl.
Junior quarterback Clint Chelf finished with three touchdowns in just three quarters of play to earn Most Valuable Player honors. He gave way for J.W. Walsh, who also tossed a pair of touchdowns, before true freshman Wes Lunt came in for the final two drives of the game.
“It worked out really well. Clint obviously took control of the game, J.W. came in and played and was able to run our base offense,” Gundy said. “... That gave us a chance to get Wes in the game, let him execute our offense. ... So it was good for all three guys to get some work.”
The Cowboys got a balanced attack with the running back trio of Joseph Randle, Desmond Roland and Jeremy Smith tallying 157 yards with OSU finishing with 213 yards rushing.
Josh Stewart also ran for 21 yards to go along with a 64-yard punt return, a 15-yard pass attempt and 56 yards receiving.
“I’m the type of player that when my name is called, my team needs me to make a play, I just try to do my best to do that,” Stewart said.
The Cowboys finish the season with an 8-5 record and improve to 15-8 all time in bowl games. Gundy improved his bowl record to 5-2 as head coach of his alma mater.
Chelf earns MVP honors
DALLAS — From third-string quarterback to Heart of Dallas Bowl Most Valuable Player.
The 2012 season may have been a roller coaster for junior Clint Chelf, but the ride finished on top for the Enid native when he was named MVP Tuesday. Playing just three quarters in the 58-14 rout of Purdue, Chelf went 17 for 22 with 197 yards and three touchdowns to earn the game’s top honor.
“It’s extremely surreal,” Chelf said.
Starting the last five games of the season after watching freshmen quarterbacks Wes Lunt and J.W. Walsh start in the first eight games, Chelf went 3-2 as a starter to solidify the quarterback carousel amid injuries to Lunt and Walsh.
“It’s a feel-good story. I don’t think there’s any reason why we should look at it any other way,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “Clint was in a difficult situation. We said that when we were in that position, at some point a young man has to reach down deep inside and decide what he wants to do and make a decision. ...
“When he had his opportunity to make plays, he did. So he gets all the credit.”
Woodward, Okla. —
By Jason Elmquist
Thunder knocked out of playoffs by Memphis
OKLAHOMA CITY — It was a night Oklahoma City needed his best. With its season on the line, Kevin Durant had to be superhuman.
Sooner baseball stumbles against Cowboys
OKLAHOMA CITY — Everything that goes up must come down. Oklahoma is in the middle of a free fall after Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Oklahoma State in the middle game of the Bedlam Series at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Grizzlies take 2-1 lead beating Thunder 87-81
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies call it grit and grind, and it got them through another ugly game.
Marc Gasol scored 20 points and hit two free throws with 1:03 left to put Memphis ahead to stay, and the Grizzlies held off Oklahoma City 87-81 Saturday to take a 2-1 lead in this Western Conference semifinal.
Grizzlies drop Thunder 99-93, even series at 1-1
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies wouldn't let Kevin Durant come through in the clutch for the second straight time.
Wilson sets 2A record in long jump
State track meet results.
Durant, Thunder edge Grizzlies 93-91 in Game 1
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Down by one in the final minute, the Oklahoma City's Derek Fisher turned a tough situation for the Thunder into the worst-case scenario for the Grizzlies.
Fisher poked the ball away from Memphis' Mike Conley, springing three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant into the open court with a chance to put the Thunder on top.
Thunder beat Rockets 103-94 to advance
HOUSTON (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder were unhappy about coming back to Houston for Game 6. They left town in a much better mood.
Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Kevin Martin added 25 to lead the Thunder to a 103-94 victory over the Rockets on Friday night, sending Oklahoma City to the second round of the playoffs for the third straight season.
Durant, Thunder struggling to close out Rockets
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Without All-Star Russell Westbrook running the point, Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder are struggling to close out the Houston Rockets.
Rockets extend series with Game 4 win over Thunder
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Rockets know the odds are stacked against them in their playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Still, they believe momentum is on their side.
Local, area sports briefs, April 30
Soccer, track, softball and baseball notes
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- Thunder knocked out of playoffs by Memphis