Like two heavyweight boxers, BCS no. 4 Stanford and BCS no. 3 Oklahoma State, boasting two of the nation’s most prolific offenses, traded punches into overtime before the Cowboys captured the 2012 Fiesta Bowl trophy with a 41–38 victory on Quinn Sharp’s 22-yard field goal.
En route to the first 12-win season in school history, Oklahoma State was forced to stage repeated comebacks in the face of a withering Stanford offense that amassed 590 total yards (nearly 200 more than OSU) to take leads of 14–0, 21–14, 28–21, 31-24 and 38–31. The Cowboys never led until their game-winning field goal and their normally balanced offense produced only 13 rushing yards on 15 carries.
After Stanford opened the scoring with a first-quarter touchdown pass by all-American quarterback Andrew Luck, the anticipated offensive fireworks began in the second quarter when the two powerhouses tallied five touchdowns in a span of six possessions.
Luck, the 2011 Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award recipient as the nation’s player of the year and a two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up, completed 27 of 31 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns. His OSU counterpart, Brandon Weeden, was equally impressive, connecting on 29 of 42 tosses for 399 yards and three touchdowns.
It marked the first time in Fiesta Bowl history both quarterbacks eclipsed 300 yards passing while setting the two-team record for total passing yards (746).
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State’s two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s best receiver, caught all three Weeden touchdown throws (43, 67, 17 yards) to equal the Fiesta Bowl record. Blackmon’s second and third six-point receptions tied the game at 14–14 and 31–31, respectively. It was the sixth time in OSU’s 13 games and 12th time overall Blackmon caught two or more touchdown passes and marked the 19th time in his 38-game college career he exceeded 100 receiving yards. The 67-yard scoring strike was OSU’s longest pass play of the season.
OSU running back Joseph Randle tied the see-saw contest for the final time at 38–38 on a four-yard run with 1:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Knotted at 38–38 in the late going, two errant Stanford field-goal attempts — the first (35 yards) on the final play of regulation, the second (43 yards) to cap the Cardinal’s only overtime possession — gave OSU life. The Cowboys seized the moment following the latter when Weeden completed a 24-yard pass to Colton Chelf to Stanford’s one-yard line. After Weeden centered the ball on the next snap with a kneel-down, Sharp punched his chip-shot 22-yard game-winning field goal through the uprights to end the third overtime game in Fiesta Bowl history.