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Bowl Grades: Cowboys Finish Final Test of Season With Liberty Bowl Victory

Handing out report cards following the Cowboys’ Liberty Bowl win.

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What a perfect way to end one of the nuttiest years in Oklahoma State football’s illustrious history.

It was a movie script. The underdog comes in and keeps the game in reach. Then goes up big, but what fun is a movie without some drama as the Cowboys tried giving the game back to Missouri but held on. Here are my grades from the Liberty Bowl.

Taylor Cornelius Quarters 1-3: A

For three quarters Monday, Taylor Cornelius was going blow-for-blow with the projected top quarterback taken in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Entering the fourth, Cornelius competed 22 of his 34 passes for 294 yards and four touchdowns. Missouri’s Drew Lock was 19-for-29 with 239 yards and two touchdowns.

Cornelius hasn’t been great this season when rolling to his right. Think the end of the Baylor game and the 2-point conversion attempt against Oklahoma. In the Liberty Bowl, though, two of his best passes came when he was on the move to that side.

First was the touchdown pass to Tylan Wallace. Wallace was open but with as close as the Cowboys were to the end zone, it took a little extra umph to get the ball in there.


Then there was the bomb to Tyron Johnson for Johnson’s second TD pass. Again Johnson was open, but it was Cornelius that hit him.


Taylor Cornelius Quarter 4: D+

Yeah, the fourth quarter wasn’t ideal. Cornelius started the frame with an interception on the first play.


Then on the Cowboys next drive Cornelius made the game interesting with another pick.


Both plays looked like the start of a Johnny Manziel Texas A&M highlight where Cornelius dodged defenders, got on the move, then let ‘er rip, but that’s where the Jonathan Football highlights stopped as the balls just darted into Cam Hilton’s breadbasket.

All is well that ends well, as Cornelius was the quarterback kneeling out the clock at the game, but the Cornelius era of OSU almost took a nosedive at its end.

Chuba Hubbard: A

I won’t put anyone on blast, but early in the game a member of the PFB slack wrote “I don’t think Chuba is as fast as advertised don’t at me.”

Then this run happened:


And the same person replied “I take it all back.”

If there was an uncertainty what Justice Hill’s absence meant for the future of the OSU running game, Hubbard assured that all is well. He finished with a career high 145 yards and a touchdown off 18 carries.

OSU Defense: B

All things considered, the Pokes’ defense put up an admirable effort in the Liberty Bowl.

No Calvin Bundage, Rodarius Williams gone because of targeting, Malcolm Rodriguez gets injured, backup corner Kemah Siverand ejected because of targeting, and still the OSU defense was able to hang on and put an end to a future first-round quarterback’s career.

Everyone will remember the final play of meaning when true freshman Kolby Peel was able to pick Lock’s shoe strings on fourth and short, but there were also stops like this third down earlier in the fourth.


Which led to this field-goal block:


The OSU D was also a big force in the Cowboys third-quarter momentum, as it forced a turnover on Missouri’s first drive of the half. It was a good day for a unit that had its share of bad days throughout the year.

Overall: A-

What a wacky way to end a wacky year. A tightly contested game against a ranked opponent to halftime. Then it looked like the Cowboys were going to route Mizzou with a 21-3 third quarter just to let Missouri back in the game because of two turnovers.

It was a dramatic game for a dramatic year. I would watch the movie this season produced. It’d be a much better film than a movie about Alabama running through everyone.

Bonus Grade – Dru Brown’s Debut: A

Will you look at the form of this handoff?


Dru Brown staked his claim to being future QB1 with this exquisite form in his OSU debut. And even before that when he ran out there just to turn around because the quarter was over.


Man, would you look at those signals. What does it mean? I like to think it was him predicting the L Mizzou was about to get handed.

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