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Oklahoma State manhandles Colorado in Alamo Bowl

Oklahoma State manhandles Colorado in Alamo Bowl
Published On: Fri, Dec 30
Jan 2, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Darren Carrington (22) misses a possible touchdown pass against the Texas Christian Frogs at the Valero Alamo Bowl in the Alamodome. TCU won 47-41 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

SAN ANTONIO -- The mantra for Oklahoma State in the run-up to its game against Colorado in the Valero Alamo Bowl was to be the most physical team on the field, to exploit the Buffaloes' man-defense with deep passes and to draw on its experience in bowl games to overcome the inexperienced Pac 12-South champions.

The No. 10 Cowboys checked off all those goals in spades and looked impressive doing so as they manhandled No. 12 Colorado 38-8 on Thursday before a crowd of 59,815 in the Alamodome.

Mason Rudolph threw for 314 yards and touchdowns to three different receivers but the Oklahoma State defense was just as important in this wire-to-wire win, limiting the normally potent Buffaloes' offense to 182 yards through the first three quarters.

"The Cliffs Notes version of our game plan was that we wanted to be ultra-aggressive and to blitz and be more physical than Colorado on every snap," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. By halftime we had delivered a lot of blows and we thought it would be hard for Colorado to come back."

Gundy was right. Oklahoma State ruled the trenches throughout and outhit the Buffaloes while recording three sacks and nine tackles for a loss and knocking Colorado starting quarterback Tony Liufau out of the game for a quarter.

"The last three games of the season, our defense tried to play with a savage attitude," Cowboys free safety Jordan Sterns, a San Antonio native, said afterward. "We had a great game plan and won our one-on-one battles."

Rudolph (22-of-32 passing) connected with James Washington on a 5-yard scoring pass at the end of the second quarter. He hit Blake Jarwin with a TD throw from 6 yards out and added a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jhajuan Seales in the third quarter to give the Cowboys (10-3) a 31-0 lead.

Liufau (195 yards passing) scooted in for a 6-yard touchdown run to get the Buffaloes on the board with 5:28 to play. He then passed to Phillip Lindsay for a 2-point conversion but it was far too late for the Buffaloes (10-4).

"It's pretty frustrating the way things happened," Liufau said. "We just didn't come out with all things firing. We got out-executed tonight; we can agree on that."

Justice Hill roared up the middle untouched for a 37-yard TD in the waning minutes to push the score to 38-8.

Hill led the Cowboys with 100 yards on 19 carries. Washington had 171 yards receiving on nine catches for Oklahoma State before leaving the game with an injured finger in the third quarter.

Lindsay racked up 166 total yards (103 receiving on six catches and 63 on the ground on 14 carries) for Colorado. The Buffaloes were outscored 79-18 in their final two games.

Oklahoma State owned the first 19 minutes, forging a 10-0 lead on the strength of a 28-yard field goal by Ben Grogan on the Cowboys' opening possession and a 10-yard touchdown run by Chris Carson at the 11:15 mark of the second quarter.

The latter score came on the snap after a nifty throwback pass from Rudolph to Carson and back to Rudolph that gained 24 yards and allowed Oklahoma State to a short field at the Colorado 10-yard line.

In between Oklahoma State's two early scores, the Buffaloes produced one significant drive on offense, moving 65 yards in 14 plays to a missed 47-yard field goal attempt by Chris Graham.

The Cowboys pushed their lead to 17-0 with seven minutes to play in the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Rudolph to Washington. The score culminated a seven-play, 66-yard drive for Oklahoma State and put the Cowboys firmly in control.

Oklahoma State enjoyed a 282-153 edge in total yards in the first half, with most of that advantage coming through the air (216-106). The Cowboys averaged 7.2 yards per play in the first half as compared with 4.9 yards per snap for Colorado.

Colorado walked off the gridiron with its collective head held high after playing in a bowl for the first time since 2007.

"I'm not going to hang my head or have (my players) hang their heads," Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said. "That was a very good football team out there and we didn't execute as well as we would have liked. The future is bright because of these guys and what they've done. We got this point, now we have to get through this process."

NOTES: The 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl is the third consecutive top-15 matchup the bowl produced and marks the third year of a conference agreement to match the No. 1 Big 12 and No. 1 Pac-12 teams outside of the College Football Playoff selections or the Pac-12's Rose Bowl commitment. ... Colorado players, coaches and staff wore a "RS19" decal on its game shirts and helmets to honor Rashaan Salaam, its fallen 1994 Heisman Trophy winner who committed suicide Dec. 5. ... Oklahoma State is one of only seven schools to appear in every set of CFP rankings since 2015 (Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State and Utah). ... This is only the second time in school history that the Buffaloes played 14 games in a season.

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