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Remembering Justin Blackmon’s Legendary Showing in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl



Bobbing his head back and forth with an oozing confidence, pointing into the abyss of the student section as he crossed the goal line time and time again inside Boone Pickens Stadium, Justin Blackmon exuded swag before the word was even put into the Urban Dictionary in 2012.

The Ardmore, Okla. native made a name for himself at Oklahoma State by out-producing his three-star ranking out of high school ten-fold. As a Cowboy, he became only the second two-time winner of the Biletnikoff, given annually to the nation’s best pass-catcher. Years removed from his tenure, he’s at — or near the top — of every relevant historical record for OSU receivers, and still leads the program with the most single season receptions and single season yards receiving with 122 and 1,782, respectively.

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Blackmon was later selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the fifth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, where he ultimately flamed out. A combination of run-ins with the law and the league office, the latter of which tossed suspensions his way like a boy on an early morning newspaper route, ultimately limited his NFL career to 20 total games. He was productive in that span (when was he not?), but ending a career on sour terms like the way he did can leave people remembering more of the bad than the good.

I choose to remember the good, and hope the bad will ultimately weed itself out. And the good, for me (the best, actually), will always be what he did in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl when he raked Stanford’s defense over the coals. It was his Mona Lisa. And re-watching it, as I did with family recently after ESPN Classic chose to re-air it, makes me feel nostalgic from my toes to my heart.

Those were the very best times. It was pre-PFB for me, back when I had enough free time to consider myself an avid fan first and foremost. I was (probably) into recruiting news and deep into trying to figure out why Travis Ford exclusively recruited point guards, but OSU football was my heartbeat. So, like many of you, I enjoyed the ride of the 2011 season as much as anyone.

And the way the season ended — (no, not the Iowa State loss, and no, not the Bedlam rout) — but with Justin Blackmon singlehandedly going scorched earth on the Cardinal in the desert, was as satisfying as anything I can remember in my OSU fandom. So I must re-live it. I hope you’ll indulge me and take a stroll down memory lane with me as I remember the Blackmon game that etched himself into the pantheon of greats at OSU.

Here’s what I remember from that great, great night.

1. Pokes fell behind fast

Watching this game again in 2018, I nearly had a conniption. This game started almost exactly like the 2016 Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss. Flashbacks!

OSU surrendered two quick scores to trail Stanford 14-0 early, but the Weeden-to-Blackmon connection came through midway through the second quarter after No. 81 squeaked past the secondary and found himself an easy score from 43 yards up. Pokes trail 14-7.

2. Blackmon’s strength wins … again

People forget Justin Blackmon is actually Ronnie Coleman in a not-so-alternate universe. His 6-1, 210-pound deceptively packed a huge punch of pride and muscle. The latter helped him easily score on the next possession, this time from 67 yards out, after he shed a would-be tackler and coasted to the house.

He made Johnson Bademosi look like he was swatting an ant off his arm!

This was Blackmon’s second catch of the night. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s two receptions, 110 yards receiving, two scores, unlimited swagger, and 14-14. Surely he can’t be more clutch than th— oh, wait a second. What?! 4th and 5 conversion!

Couple plays later … and Brandon Weeden did his best Johnny Heisman impression for 6. Good guys knotted at 21 with the Cardinal.

3. Kid clutch

Things normalized (from a normal receivers perspective) from here on, but Blackmon wasn’t quite done on the night. After keeping the Pokes apace in the first half with a pair of scores, he had one more score in him — on this clutch one from 17 yards out that, again, tied things up. This time at 31 all.

This was a huge catch to obviously keep OSU in striking distance, but what gets lost is that a more clutch catch came minutes later. His biggest catch of the night may have prevented OSU from losing. This was the drive that ended in a Joe Randle score to again tie things up at 38-38.

Immortalized. Right there.

On the strength of a Quinn Sharp field goal in OT, OSU would go on to win 41-38. But Blackmon’s heroics weren’t forgotten, as he took home offensive MVP thanks to a hard-earned 186 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. He also logged one rushing attempt, which went for 52 big ones and left him as the team’s leading rusher on the evening.

Maybe it’s that he was the most electrifying player on OSU’s only Big 12 title-winning team, or that his receptions sent my heart fluttering with the idea that he could break it for 6 every time he touched the rock. Or maybe it’s that re-living his best moments makes me nostalgic of 2011, when I lived and died on OSU’s success that season. Whatever the case, Blackmon need be remembered with only one word for his time at OSU.

Legen … wait for it … dary.

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