Tempe, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Mason Rudolph passed for 299 yards and two touchdowns in his third career start and Oklahoma State upended Washington 30-22 to win the Cactus Bowl.
Rudolph took over at quarterback for Daxx Garman following a 28-7 loss against Texas on Nov. 15, OSU's fourth loss during a five-game slide. Rudolph helped the Cowboys top rival Oklahoma in the last week of the regular season to become bowl eligible.
The true freshman completed 17-of-26 passes, Desmond Roland gained 123 yards on 32 carries and Oklahoma State (7-6) improved to 6-3 in bowl games under coach Mike Gundy.
Bowl season tends to lead to trickeration, and OSU had a few tricks up its sleeve early on. Senior defensive tackle James Castleman checked in for his first career offensive play with the Cowboys facing 2nd-and-goal from the 1- yard line. Castleman lined up in the shotgun, took the snap and rumbled forward, falling just over the goal line to open the scoring.
Later in the first, Brandon Sheperd took a handoff and threw back across the field to Rudolph, who picked up blocking on his way to a 22-yard gain. Two plays later, Rudolph went up top to James Washington for a 28-yard touchdown.
Ben Grogan drilled a 40-yard field goal at 9:22 of the second to make it 17-0, and Rudolph's 47-yard TD pass to Sheperd towards the end of the half sent the Cowboys into halftime leading 24-0.
Washington went four possessions to start the game without picking up a first down. It finally did on Dwayne Washington's 18-yard run six minutes into the second.
The Huskies went 0-for-6 on third down in the first half and gained 180 fewer yards than OSU. But they found new life in the third quarter.
Cyler Miles was the catalyst, completing 4-of-5 for 43 yards on the first possession after halftime, and Jaydon Mickens finished the 7-play march with a 31-yard touchdown run.
After Grogan's 27-yard field goal made it 27-7, Washington got a boost from its special teams with John Ross taking back the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to the end zone.
Facing 4th-and-6 early in the fourth quarter, Miles only picked up four yards on a QB keeper and the Huskies turned it over on downs. Another short Grogan kick pushed the lead to 30-14.
Desperate for eight points, Miles led Washington down the field and capped an impressive 8-play drive with a screen pass to Mickens, who dodged defenders and ran 16 yards for a touchdown. Miles then hit Deontae Cooper out of the backfield for the 2-point conversion.
But Washington's comeback bid came up short, with Castleman making his impact felt yet again on the offensive end.
On 3rd-and-2 from the OSU 35, Castleman went out for a pass and caught a short dump off from Rudolph, then trucked two defenders to the ground and lumbered 48 yards before finally going down.
Grogan, who hit his first three field goals, pushed a 27-yarder wide left with 43 seconds to play, leaving the door open, but Miles was intercepted by Kevin Peterson.
Miles completed 25-of-38 for 268 yards for Washington (8-6).
Oklahoma State went 2-for-2 on fourth down ... Both teams picked up 22 first downs ... Castleman also had a sack ... Mickens made seven catches for 82 yards to pace Washington's receiving corps. Sheperd had five grabs for 98 yards for OSU.