No. 9 Cowboys rout Arizona 37-14
STILLWATER, Okla. – The sight of two opposing players running back his passes for touchdown was bothering Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden.
It didn't take long for him to make amends.
Weeden completed his first 13 passes and threw for 397 yards and two touchdowns to Justin Blackmon, Joseph Randle ran for two more scores and the ninth-ranked Cowboys beat Arizona 37-14 Thursday night in a rematch of last year's Alamo Bowl.
Weeden completed 22 of his first 23 passes and the Cowboys (2-0) scored on their first three drives to open a 21-0 lead in the first 16½ minutes, then put it away with two scores midway through the second half.
"I'll take that any day of the week. I was just dialed in," Weeden said. "I was dialed in early. I think I was making good decisions, and I think that's one thing I didn't do last week.
"Trust me, guys, it's been a long four days for me. I was (mad) at myself."
Weeden was still kicking himself after throwing three picks — two returned for touchdowns — to go with 388 yards in a blowout of Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
"I felt like I let my offense down a lot, and I can't do that. I'm too good of a player, and we've got way too many guys around me that are way too good," Weeden said.
"It's just inexcusable."
Randle had 121 yards rushing and nine catches for 99 yards, and Blackmon had 128 yards on 12 receptions to extend his NCAA record streak to 14 straight games with at least 100 yards receiving.
Weeden finished one less yard passing than Arizona's Nick Foles in a duel between the nation's top two passers from the first week of the season. Foles had a Bowl Subdivision-best 412 yards passing and a career-best five touchdown passes in his opener against Northern Arizona.
The Wildcats (1-1) played without Juron Criner, who was the Pac-10's top receiver last season and tied the school record with 11 touchdown catches. He had an appendectomy on Monday, and it's unclear whether he'll be able to return in time for Arizona's home games the next two weeks against No. 6 Stanford and No. 12 Oregon.
But even with Criner out, Foles flung it around without many issues. Texas transfer Dan Buckner had 10 catches for 142 yards, including a 54-yarder for a touchdown, and Austin Hill had 128 yards on eight receptions.
The Wildcats' running game was virtually nonexistent for the second straight week, though. Keola Antonin had just 22 yards on 13 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown run during a stretch when Arizona made five straight defensive stops to give itself a chance.
"You have to be able to run the ball," Foles said. "We have running backs capable, we have the ability to run it and we'll figure it out. When we start to run the ball the passing game will open up even more. I feel confident in our passing game but we have to start running it better."
Oklahoma State flipped the field when punter Quinn Sharp took off for a 23-yard gain on a fake, and the Wildcats then got in their own way with a series of penalties that backed them up to their own 1-yard line before punting it back.
Weeden capitalized on the short field by feeding Blackmon on four straight plays, the last one a 3-yard fade pattern to the right side of the end zone. Randle highlighted the Cowboys' next drive by coming out of the backfield to catch a 63-yard flip over the middle and set up Jeremy Smith's 6-yard TD run that made it 34-7 early in the fourth quarter.
"The fake punt, of course, was really big. They made a play, switched the momentum on us at the time in the game," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "After that, we were kind of hanging on for dear life."
Buckner answered with his long TD on a stop-and-go down the right sideline against Devin Hedgepeth, but it was too little, too late for Arizona.
The Wildcats, who lost 36-10 in the Alamo Bowl to complete a five-game free fall at the end of last season, hadn't put up nearly enough resistance at the start and lost to OSU for the second time in nine months.
Weeden led scoring drives of 88, 80 and 70 yards by completing 19 of his first 20 passes, then started out 3 for 3 on Oklahoma State's next drive. Randle had touchdown runs of 1 and 4 yards, and in between Weeden tossed a 3-yard fade pass that Blackmon caught over his shoulder before tapping his right foot in the corner of the end zone.
"We came out to prove a point immediately, from the get-go," said Weeden, who was 28 for 32 for 240 yards at halftime. "It was nice that we got a couple of easy ones. That's the thing about our offense. Once we get a couple first downs and start moving, usually good things are going to happen.
"That first quarter, you could have called anything and it was going to work."