Live Blog: Fiesta Bowl

The Rose Bowl is winding down right now. Live blog still going on there. The Fiesta Bowl blog opens up next. Pregame preview is right here.

This game already has me annoyed and it hasn’t even started. How is Matt Millen still called in as a commentator after his horrid tenure as Detroit Lions GM? At least Sean McDonough is solid, a good Irish boy from New England.

Stanford gets ball, opens the game on their own 20.

Interesting point by McDonough about Luck finishing second in the Heisman voting the last two years. Because Toby Gerhart finished second to Mark Ingram in 2009. Has any school ever had the runner-up three straight years?

If you read the Notebook’s pregame preview, you saw I emphasized Stephan Taylor in the running game…38 –yard gain puts Stanford in OSU territory

4th and 4 inside the 25. Stanford should think about going for it. I harped on this throughout the Rose Bowl and keep in mind that the posted total in Las Vegas is higher for this game than it was for the Rose (74-72)…and the missed field goal really has me second-guessing.

What a horrid throw by Weeden!  I wonder what he saw, or didn’t see as the case may be. Looks like he just didn’t see the Stanford defensive back underneath.

Stanford ball on the OSU 38

That was a serious hit. Okie State’s defense is ready emotionally. Whether they match up is another question.

3rd down, Stanford desperately needs points here, can’t blow two chances early…and a big sack! Looks like more of a coverage sack though.

If I’m an Oklahoma State fan I’m thrilled. You’ve let Andrew Luck in your own territory twice in the first part of the first quarter and it’s still 0-0. The only way this night could start more promising would be if Durant nailed a few threes early against the Mavericks tonight (It’s on NBA-TV if you get bored watching football).

Okie State ball on their own 14, 8:33 left in 1Q

Great job tackling underneath by Stanford. I liked the attempt by OSU to get a running game going, but the Cardinal stops the run and then keeps the passing game underneath. This is shaping up like a prototypical high-profile game, where the expected shootout doesn’t materialize because defenses are underrated…if it plays out that way it suggests that these teams are national championship caliber while Wisconsin & Oregon are not.

Stanford ball on their own 32, 6:55 left 1Q

Okie State defense steps up, stops the run twice and sets up 3rd-and-10…let’s see if the drop the coverage and tackle underneath like Stanford did…nope, Luck gets his tight end for the first down.

Beautiful throw on the post, terrible coverage by Oklahoma State. 7-zip Stanford.

Oklahoma State’s secondary will have to get turnovers tonight. They can be beaten for yardage, but have been very solid in getting picks, and that’s against some good quarterbacks in the Big 12.

Okie State brings kickoff to 30-yard line. 4:09 left 1Q

Weeden finally got a nice throw for the first down. Keep in mind, he was a better quarterback this year than Luck, whatever their NFL prospects might be.

Nice pump-fake by Weeden, then overthrows on 3rd-4. Tough conversion to miss. Although looking at the replay, maybe it wasn’t a pump fake.

Stanford ball at 20-yard line, 2:58 mark of 1Q

There’s the interception Oklahoma State needed! Great break on the ball.

OSU ball on the Stanford 42, about 1 minute left in quarter.

3rd-and-5 now, OSU can’t miss this chance to get some points…they come up short on the pass play. The tackling on both sides right now is really good. Excellent fundamental defense. Quarter ends at 7-0 Stanford.


Stanford ball after the punt on their own 12.

Now it’s a big run by Jeremy Stewart. Trend seems to be that Okie State can chase the backs down on the edge if they force it outside immediately, but Stanford’s controlling the line of scrimmage and creating some big plays if the backs get to the second level.

Stanford into the red zone.

Again, the second level within the tackles…Stewart to the house. You know what I said further up about being thrilled if I were an Oklahoma State fan? Junk it. 14-zip Cardinal.

On the subject of Andrew Luck, during the commercial break was reading an ESPN report about the Polians being fired in Indianapolis and a new front office on the way. A commenter suggested Indy should do the following—trade Peyton for Darrelle Revis and additional defensive players, then draft Luck. How much does he think the Jets are going to give up? It reminds me of a Packer radio show here in Wisconsin who thinks that GB can re-sign Matt Flynn and then trade him. Yeah, like Flynn’s just going to take their word for it. What makes fans think the world revolves around their team. Maybe while they’re at it, the Colts and Packers can get Tom Brady to be their second-string QB.

Okie State ball on their own 15. 10:14 left in 2Q

Cowboys past midfield, Weeden needed that throw to get in rhythm.

Complete coverage breakdown by Stanford. Justin Blackmon’s the best receiver on Oklahoma State and probably the top receiver to be chosen in the NFL draft. How is it that nobody’s within five yards of him. Touchdown Okie State. 14-7.

What on earth was the return man thinking! Tries to bring it out from eight yards deep, after hesitating. His own teammate decked him, got very close to coming out and it being a safety. I’ve never seen kickoffs that close to being out of the end zone before not coming out before, and now it’s happened in both the Rose and the Fiesta Bowls.

The mark of good writing is being able to take a topic and communicate it clearly to someone who might not have been watching live. If you consider that above sentence well-written I appreciate your generous nature.

Oh, and Stanford has started a possession, goes three and out.

OSU takes over at the 32, just under 7 minutes left in 2Q.

First tackling mistake by Stanford and Blackmon makes them pay. Guy is improving his draft spot with each big play. More important, he’s tied the game 14-14. That two-touchdown lead went fast.

Another deep kickoff. This time the kid returning takes a knee. Stanford ball at the 20, 6:19 left in 2Q.

What a perfect throw by Luck down the sidelines, splits two defenders. Also makes me understand why grown men in the NFL drool over him. Almost. Stanford’s inside the 10.

Big 3rd and goal coming up here. I’m rethinking my whole gunslinger mentality for fourth down in this game…but Taylor makes it unnecessary, touchdown. Millen’s comment about Taylor’s “burst” at the line of scrimmage is actually somewhat insightful. Explains his ability to run between the tackles here tonight and all season long. I think Taylor is one the most underrated skill players in the country. 21-14 Stanford.

Okie State on their own 24, 2:18 left. I generally advocate conservatism at the end of a half, but not here…and Weeden hits another strike at their at midfield in one play.

McDonough talking about the Polians depature. Worth nothing Peyton was stunned. Could indicate he’s on his way out too.

3rd and 5…run Blackmon deep and someone else underneath…Okie State tries something similar but stretches the route a little too long…FG would be tough, I would go for it…that’s what they’ll do…here we go…GOT IT TO BLACKMON! Down to around the 10.

How many timeouts does State have left? I liked running the ball to Randle on first down, under one minute left. I’d run it again if they have another timeout. The 12-man on the field penalty against Stanford only makes me want to run it more.

Still a couple timeouts left and 2nd down on the 2. Run to Randle, fade to Blackmon and go for it on 4th.

That ball to Blackmon should have been caught…will that end up the game-decider when all is said and done…Weeden bails him out with a run that was all heart and zero grace.  21-21 tie.

I’ve liked Brandon Weeden the last two years and knowing he left the Yankees behind makes me like him even more. Would’ve been a shame to lose a good young soul to the Evil Empire.

Stanford ball at the 20, less than thirty seconds left. Unless something unreal happens, I’ll see you to start the second half. Stanford kills the clock, I’m grabbing a Sierra Mist.


Thanks to the ingenius capacity of Verizon, my Internet connection was out until the 2:54 mark of the 3rd quarter. It’s 28-24 Stanford, after Okie State failed miserably to convert a 1st-and-goal inside the 5 after a botched handoff. Stanford’s on the move on Cowboy territory.

Big sack by Jamie Blatnick! on 2nd-and-10! Great leap over the blocker. Look set to halt this drive…then they fail to stop the screen on 3rd-and-16, but a big hold on the receiver downfield. What a huge sequence of plays. Now it’s 3rd-and-21. Just play it safe and set up a field goal.

Actually it was 3rd-and-13, but they do run it and take the field goal. 31-24 Stanford.

Just had another enjoyable experience with Verizon customer service. The game is now 31-31 and heading to a classic ending. Stanford about to get the ball with 11:47 left.

As a footnote, if at any point, the live blog disappears at an odd time, just assume the Verizon capos finally sunk me.

That’s a bad breakdown by Okie State containment, letting Luck run for the first down, although I can understand where it happens. Not like in the Rose Bowl where you expect the quarterbacks to take off from the pocket.

Now Taylor is getting to the edge, not just between the tackles. Either the Cowboy pursuit is getting tired or they’re leaning to the inside a little too much. 1st down Stanford at the 29.

Actually it wasn’t Luck who ran for the first down earlier, it was Tyler Gaffney. This whole Verizon thing has me rattled. Although not as rattled as Stanford’s offense suddenly looks after getting pushed back nine yards in two plays. Time to get in field goal range and play it safe.

Luck back in, rifles  a beautiful strike on the run to the sidelines. First down at the 14. Although OSU stuffs the 1st down run.

Clock now down to 5:12. This means something in terms of clock management both ways, although I have no idea what.

I don’t understand the OSU coverage scheme in letting a nice and easy pass underneath to the 1. Although it was a nice play fake, so maybe it was just a blown assignment. Stanford cashes in the run, 38-31 now with 4:14 left.

Millen is explaining how “low man wins” to “all you high schoolers out there.” No one ever sunk lower than Millen. Here’s the record…as President of the Lions for eight years, the team went 31-97, the worst stretch for any leader in NFL history. I’m not even a Detroit fan, but this just insults the Lion community to have him passed off as a commentator.

Okie State will start this make-or-break drive from the 33.

Agree with the decision to go for it. 4th and 4 is manageable…Got Blackmon! Down to the 39 of Stanford.

Ball down inside the 5 for 1st and goal. Would like to say manage the clock. But when you need a touchdown you can’t mess around. Randle gets it, ties the game up with 2:35 left, 38-38.

What a start to the BCS, between the Rose Bowl and now this finish. ESPN execs have to be dancing somewhere.

Stanford starts on the 20

Good clock management by Stanford, using Taylor on the inside runs. 2nd and 5 at midfield…and a great play by Stewart in the open field off a short pass to get down to the 25…Millen the genius says “it’s all on Luck.” He threw a pass to the flat!

Interesting McDonough bringing up how both teams learned the lesson of their loss, with five turnovers. Only one apiece tonight, and it’s down to the wire for a last play 34-yard field goal…

If the freshman kicker hits this, Okie State will look back on those four points they lost when they didn’t convert after the fumble inside the 5.

AND HE PULLED IT TO THE LEFT!!! Love the reaction from Luck, staying in high spirits, looking to pick his teammates up.

Going to overtime…

I have to again protest the officials’ detailed explanation of the coin toss, as I did for the Rose Bowl. Stanford starting with the ball…

3rd-and-13, you must play for the field goal here, I don’t care what happened at the end of regulation. Can’t risk a sack. Nice short pass back to the line of scrimmage. Good play call, but a nice open field tackle ruins it. Tough 42-yarder now. The freshman kicker can make up for a lot now…

Hooked it again, but I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw the shaky snap. McDonough picked up on it too. Amazingly, Millen didn’t see it.

Play it safe…and the safe over the middle pass creates a touchdown! Again, compliments to McDonough for noting that a review is in order to see if he got in…either way, 1st down at the 1-yard line.

There’s no way that play is a touchdown. What’s surprising is that it takes replay to get this one right. Really not even close.

I’d have just run it into the line a couple times before going for the field goal.

BALLGAME! 41-38, Oklahoma State. Too bad they couldn’t have played for the national championship, but to win the Fiesta Bowl, and beat the most highly regarded quarterback in ten years is a great season. Congrats to the Cowboys, and to the Cardinal, for a great cap to a fantastic doubleheader.