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Oklahoma State Football

Oklahoma State Completes Historic Comeback to Beat Notre Dame in PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

January 1, 2022
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In what’ll go down as one of the best games in Oklahoma State history, the No. 9 Cowboys came roaring back from a 28-7 deficit scoring 30-unanswered points to take the lead and beat No. 5 Notre Dame in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, 37-35.

With the win, the Cowboys finish the 2021-22 season 12-2 overall and 8-1 in Big 12 play.

It was a game of two halves for the Cowboys took their first lead of the game on the leg of Tanner Brown with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter as he knocked home a 41-yard field goal to put the Pokes up 31-28.

On the very next drive, Kolby Harvell-Peel ripped the ball away from running back Logan Diggs, the first takeaway of the day for either team, giving the Pokes the ball on their own 44-yard line. Unfortunately, Brennan Presley had the ball knocked away at the half-yard line and recovered by Notre Dame. However, the Pokes forced a punt on the ensuing drive.

The Cowboy defense came up with another huge stop just under seven minutes left in the game. Brock Martin recorded his second sack of the day, followed by an interception by linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez.

After a couple of big offensive plays, Spencer Sanders fumbles on the Notre Dame 12-yard line to give the Fighting Irish the ball back with just under three minutes left in the game with three timeouts.

Kolby Harvell-Peel came up with one of the biggest stops of his career a few plays later as he came flying in out of nowhere to knock the ball to the turf to force a turnover on downs, leading to another Tanner Brown field goal putting the Pokes up two scores, 37-28.

Following a quick score by Notre Dame, Jason Taylor II came up with another huge special teams play and recovered an onside kick to secure the win for the Pokes.

The Cowboys posted their second-highest yardage total of the season with 605 total yards, 371 through the air and 234 on the ground.

Spencer Sanders went 34-for-51 for 371 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 125 yards on 17 carries. Brennan Presley led the way in receiving yards with 137 on 10 catches, Tay Martin second with 104 yards on 10 carries. Jaylen Warren was second in rushing yards with 82 on 19 carries.

After a brutal first half on defense, the Cowboys were rock solid in the second half as they held the Fighting Irish 551 total yards, with 193 coming in the second half, 167 of which came through the air.

Malcolm Rodriguez led the way for the Pokes with 11 total tackles, eight of which were solo stops. He also recorded two pass break ups, and one quarterback hurry and interception apiece.

The Cowboys finally started to make some noise towards the end of the first quarter as running back LD Brown played his first snaps since the third game of the season against Boise State as he had two carries for 24 yards, including a 22-yarder up the middle.

A few plays later, Spencer Sanders connected with Jaden Bray for nine yards out, with Bray throwing in some fancy footwork to get into the end zone, getting the Pokes back within seven, 14-7, with less than two minutes left in the first quarter.

After dropping two-straight first down catches, Tay Martin found redemption with less than a minute left in the half as he hauled in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Spencer Sanders to get the Pokes back within two scores, 28-14. That capped an impressive two-minute drive from Sanders as the Pokes went four plays, 75 yards for the score in just :39.

Sanders was solid out of the break as he moved the ball effectively through the air, 81 yards through the air and connected with Tay Martin for a five-yard touchdown, which put the Pokes back within seven points, 28-21. Just a few minutes later, Sanders connected with Martin for their third touchdown connection of the day to tie the game up at 28.

 
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