Football is a team game but individual performances within the game must be commemorated appropriately in all their goodness. So as OSU prepares to face Wisconsin on Tuesday in the season finale, here’s an appropriate look back at the best individual offensive showings for OSU football on the gridiron in bowl games. (Trigger alert for any old Wyoming fans reading: Barry Sanders content is incoming.)
Bowl game rushing leaders
[hits Heisman pose] sooprise, sooprise, the great Barry Sanders makes an early appearance. His 222 rushing yards in the 1988 Holiday Bowl still stands at No. 1 in the all-time record books for OSU as the most ever by a Cowboy in a bowl game, edging out (by a surprisingly large margin!) the likes of Bob Fenimore, Terry Miller, Tatum Bell, Chuba Hubbard and his former teammate, Thurman Thomas.
|Bowl game||Player||Total rushing yards|
|1988 Holiday||Barry Sanders||222|
|1945 Cotton||Bob Fenimore||178|
|1976 Tangerine||Terry Miller||173|
|2002 Houston||Tatum Bell||160|
|2019 Texas||Chuba Hubbard||158|
|1987 Sun||Thurman Thomas||157|
|1984 Gator||Thurman Thomas||155|
|2018 Liberty||Chuba Hubbard||145|
|1983 Bluebonnet||Ernest Anderson||143|
|1958 Bluegrass||Forrest Campbell||130|
Sanders’ legendary 1988 Holiday Bowl showing also leaves him No. 1 on the all-time list for most points scored by a Cowboy in an individual bowl game with 30, once again edging out Thurman Thomas (24) and Terry Miller (24). Oh, but wait, there’s more! Sanders’ 1988 game also featured five individual touchdowns which … you guessed it … is a single-game individual record. Thurman Thomas is second on the list with four.
Bowl game passing leaders
As one might suspect, Brandon Weeden, the greatest quarterback to have ever walked the earth and the best quarterback of the history of the program, finds himself rather involved in this category. The leader of the 2011 title-winning Cowboys, Weeden holds the bowl game record for most passing yards, accounting for 399 in his epic 2012 Fiesta Bowl showing vs. Stanford.
|Bowl game||Player||Total passing yards|
|2012 Fiesta||Brandon Weeden||399|
|2014 Cotton||Clint Chelf||377|
|2022 Fiesta||Spencer Sanders||371|
|2017 Camping World||Mason Rudolph||351|
|2018 Liberty||Taylor Cornelius||336|
|2008 Holiday||Zac Robinson||329|
|1988 Holiday||Mike Gundy||315|
|2016 Alamo||Mason Rudolph||314|
|2002 Houston||Josh Fields||310|
|2004 Cotton||Josh Fields||307|
Interestingly, Weeden is also responsible for the two longest pass completions by a player in OSU bowl history having connected on bombs of 71 and 67 yards during his time at OSU in bowl season. Spencer Sanders’ four passing touchdowns in the 2020 Cheez It and the 2022 Fiesta put him T1 for most by a quarterback in a bowl game with Taylor Cornelius and his four passing touchdowns in the 2018 Liberty Bowl.
Sanders holds the record for most completed passes in an OSU bowl game with 34, narrowly edging out Clint Chelf, who in the 2014 Cotton Bowl completed 33 passes. Mike Gundy leads all quarterbacks in program history with the best completion percentage in bowl games having completed 83.3% of his passes. (Min. 20 attempts.)
OK, let’s jump to the final category.
Receiving yards leaders
Oh yes, folks, that’s right: Rashaun is still open.
Rashaun Woods, as if there was any doubt, leads OSU’s all-time receiving yards category in a single bowl game with the 223 he collected against Ole Miss in the 2004 Cotton Bowl. Justin Blackmon’s 2012 Fiesta Bowl performance isn’t far behind.
|Bowl game||Player||Total rec yds|
|2004 Cotton||Rashaun Woods||223|
|2012 Fiesta||Justin Blackmon||186|
|2016 Alamo||James Washington||171|
|2008 Holiday||Dez Bryant||167|
|2002 Houston||Rashaun Woods||164|
|1988 Holiday||Hart Lee Dykes||163|
|2018 Liberty||Tyron Johnson||141|
|2022 Fiesta||Brennan Presley||137|
|2017 Camping World||James Washington||126|
|2019 Texas||Braydon Johnson||124|
There was a ton of good records here to make note of so I’ll just bullet point a couple favs I saw:
- Dez Bryant’s 13 receptions in the 2008 Holiday Bowl is a single-game bowl game record for OSU. Rashaun Woods’ 11 receptions in the 2004 Cotton Bowl sit solo second on the list.
- Justin Blackmon has the longest bowl game reception in OSU history with a 71-yard catch
- Three receivers have scored three touchdowns in a bowl game which ties for the most in program history. Those receivers are Justin Blackmon (2012 Fiesta), Brennan Presley (2020 Cheez It) and Tay Martin (2022 Fiesta).
Tip of the cowboy hat to 11W for the inspiration for this content