After a heartbreaking Big 12 championship loss and the departure of defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, all Oklahoma State fans want for Christmas is a New Year’s Six Bowl victory to put a bow on an impressive season. 11-2 when they face Notre Dame for the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day.
OSU has a scattered history of NY6 Bowls, with only nine appearances since 1945. Although some bowls have changed reputations over the years, it was not until the BCS was instituted in 1998 that the main six bowls, Cotton, Sugar, Fiesta, Peach, Orange, and Rose became definitive NY6 games.
Today, I’ll be going over all of Oklahoma State’s appearances at NY6, that is, the games where they made the aforementioned six bowls. OSU is 4-4 all-time in NY6 games, but maybe the Cowboys can top .500 with a win at Glendale over the Fighting Irish.
The program’s first-ever bowl appearance was in 1945 at the ninth Cotton Bowl Classic. On the heels of a 7-1 season, Oklahoma State, which went through Oklahoma A&M at the time, dismantled TCU in all phases of the game. Running back Bob Fenimore scored two touchdowns, while Jim Spavital, Joe Thomas and Mack Creage added points themselves. Oklahoma A&M had 494 total yards to TCU’s 105 while forcing two fumbles and an interception.
1946 Sugar Bowl: Victory over St. Mary’s 33-13
A&M head coach Jim Lookabaugh led his team to a second consecutive major bowl after going 8-0 in the 1945-46 season. Defense was the story of this game, as Oklahoma A&M had four passes and two fumbles in a fight that again saw the Aggies win hands down. After a halftime score that saw A&M lead 14-13, the Aggies shut out St. Mary’s in the second half. Lookabaugh’s team again passed their opponent with 339 total yards compared to 238 for the Gaels.
1974 Fiesta Bowl: Won over BYU 16-6
Now the Oklahoma State we know today, the Cowboys beat 17th-ranked BYU 16-6 behind another solid defensive performance. OSU had three assists and recovered a fumble while keeping the Cougars to two field goals for the game. Running back Kenny Walker won the Offensive MVP while defensive tackle Philip Dokes won the Defensive MVP as Oklahoma State won its first bowl game since 1958.
2004 Cotton Bowl: Lost to Ole Miss 31-28
Oklahoma State faced Ole Miss for the very first time in the 2004 Cotton Bowl and came away a loser. The first of three upcoming NY6 matchups against the Rebels, OSU fell narrowly to Eli Manning in their final college game. After falling 31-14, running back Vernand Morency scored and wide receiver Rashaun Woods caught a touchdown from Josh Fields with 4:39 left to make it 31-28, but the Pokes ran out of time as Ole Miss processed the clock and won the match. Fields and Woods both set Cotton Bowl records with 307 passing yards and 223 receiving yards, respectively.
Cotton Bowl 2010: Defeat against Ole Miss 21-7
Six years later, same bowl, same opponent, same result. This year’s Cotton Bowl would be more of a defensive battle, as the score was tied 7-7 heading into the fourth quarter. That was until Rebels running back Dexter McCluster scored on a two-yard run and defenseman Patrick Trahan had a scoop-n-score on the next drive with 3:12 to go. OSU couldn’t recover in time, falling to the Rebels 21-7. Cowboy running back Keith Toston scored the Pokes’ lone touchdown, surprisingly, on a goal-line jump pass to Wilson Youman.
Fiesta Bowl 2012: Victory against Stanford 41-38
The icing on the biggest season in school history at Oklahoma State, the No. 3 OSU faced Andrew Luck and the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal in the first meeting between the two teams. The game was a back-and-forth of two of college football’s elite offenses, with Luck, Ty Montgomery and Zach Ertz taking on Brandon Weeden, Justin Blackmon and Joseph Randle. Luck and Weeden both threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, while Blackmon capped his OSU career with 186 receiving yards and three scores. It played out in the legs of both teams’ kickers, when Stanford’s Jordan Williamson missed a game-winning field goal with a 38-38 draw, and then again when the Cardinal got the ball first in overtime. After a catch and a run from Colton Chelf got OSU to this one, Quinn Sharp won the Pokes their first game at the BCS Bowl with a 22-yard shot.
Cotton Bowl 2014: Lost to Missouri 41-31
Oklahoma State met former Big 12 foe Missouri in the 78th Cotton Bowl, where the No. 9 Tigers had the last laugh. Quarterback Clint Chelf had a productive day despite throwing two picks, throwing for 377 yards and two touchdowns with another rushing score. Missouri running back Henry Josey ran all over the Pokes averaging 7.7 yards per carry. The two teams traded leads throughout the game, and it wasn’t until a Missouri strip-sack on Chelf allowed a 73-yard fumble return for a touchdown to make it 41-31. at the end of the fourth, sealing the game for Mizzou.
2016: Sugar Bowl: Lost to Ole Miss 48-20
OSU’s most recent New Year’s Six Bowl game was unforgettable. The No. 16 Cowboys faced the No. 12 Ole Miss for the third time in 12 years, and the Rebels had the Oklahoma State number again (except it was amid the Oklahoma recruiting scandal). ‘Ole Miss and they had to void the win then Oklahoma State = 2016 Sugar Bowl Champions??). Chad Kelly, Laquon Treadwell, Evan Engram and the entire Rebel offense torched OSU, holding a 34-6 halftime lead. Quarterback JW Walsh had both of OSU’s touchdowns, both on the ground, and Ben Grogan scored two field goals.