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Texas Bowl Superlatives: Game MVPs, Top Play, Stats that Stood Out and More

On records, a weird play and more



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Oklahoma State wrapped up its season at 10-4 with a 31-23 win against Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl on Wednesday night in Houston.

Bowl games usually get wild, and this one certainly did with guys in the transfer portal scoring touchdowns and undersized receivers tying records, only not to even be the team’s leading receiver. With all that in mind, here’s what stood out from the Texas Bowl.

Offensive MVP: Rashod Owens

The Texas Bowl MVP is my Offensive MVP, too.

A guy in Owens’ position group tied a 75-year-old record, and Owens still managed not to be outdone. Owens led OSU in every receiving stat but receptions (more later) with 10 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns. He also had the play of the game when he Moss’d a defender in the corner of the end zone for his first touchdown of the game.

If not for a few drops, Owens may have also led the Cowboys in receptions.

Bowl Game Brennan

Take a bow, Brennan Presley.

Presley tied a school record with 16 receptions. He tied a record that Alex Loyd set in 1948 against Kansas. That’s 75 years it took for another player to reach that mark, even with guys like Justin Blackmon, Dez Bryant and James Washington suiting up in the same uniform for an offense that threw the ball a lot more.

On top of those 16 catches, Presley recorded 152 receiving yards and also completed a 34-yard pass to Owens to set up OSU’s second touchdown. Had Presley not completed that pass to Owens, ironically, he would have led OSU in receiving yards.

Presley tends to show up in bowl games, though. In four bowl appearances, Presley had 38 catches for 481 yards, averaging 120.25 receiving yards in bowl games.

Defensive MVP: Kendal Daniels

Overall, it was a tough season for Kendal Daniels, who had Team Defensive MVP type expectations. But he was responsible for closing the Cowboys’ 2023 season and finished his sophomore campaign with maybe his best performance of the season.

Daniels, a safety, had an interception on the last play of the season, as well as six tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup in the bowl game. His six tackles were one short of tying the team high.

Top 10 Nickolas Martin

And we thought Malcolm Rodriguez had the best season we’ve seen since the turn of the century at OSU.

After leading his team (again) with seven tackles in the Texas Bowl, Nickolas Martin reached 140 total tackles in his redshirt-sophomore season. That’s the sixth most in a single season in OSU history. Martin became the first player since James Ham in 1985 to crack OSU’s top 10 for most tackles in a single season.

Alan Bowman: Record Holder

If this was indeed the end of the Alan Bowman era, he at least finished it in OSU’s record book.

In his bowl season debut, Bowman’s 402 passing yards was the most in a bowl game in OSU history. He became the first OSU quarterback to throw for at least 400 yards in a bowl game, which is hard to imagine because it felt like Mason Rudolph threw for 500 yards against Colorado in the Alamo Bowl.

Bowman finished possibly his last college game 34-of-49 for 402 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.


With his 122 all-purpose yards in the Texas Bowl, Ollie Gordon became only the fifth Cowboy to ever reach 2,000 all-purpose yards in a season. The only others are Terry Miller (1976), Thurman Thomas (1987), Barry Sanders (1988) and Chuba Hubbard (2019). Gordon’s 2,062 all-purpose yards rank fourth on the list, above Miller.

Gordon rushed for 118 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown Wednesday night.

Top Play: Owens’ First TD

Weirdest Play: Gunnar Gundy TD

On Dec. 6, OSU quarterback Gunnar Gundy, son of coach Mike Gundy, reportedly entered the transfer portal. Then, 21 days later, he scored a 10-yard rushing touchdown for the team he’s leaving in its bowl game.

Even seeing Gunnar check into the game was odd, considering Garrett Rangel and Zane Flores were on the sidelines, but then witnessing him score was just flabbergasting. The touchdown was set up a play before when Brennan Presley, a receiver, completed a 34-yard pass to Rashod Owens, yet, Gunnar’s run was still the weirdest play of the game.

Since entering the portal, Gunnar has announced offers from Elon and Abilene Christian so far.

Another 10-Win Season

For the eighth time under Mike Gundy, OSU finished a season with at least 10 wins.

The Cowboys last notched double-digit wins when they went 12-2 in 2021. OSU had a stretch of three straight 10-win campaigns in 2015-17, finishing all those seasons at 10-3. Other double-digit win seasons under Gundy include ’10, ’11 and ’13.

Improved to 7-0 in Uni Combo

Yes, I promise those jerseys were black, not dark blue.

For the first and only time this season, the Cowboys donned a white-black-white uniform combo with the Cursive Cowboys logo on the helmets. It wasn’t the only time ever for this kit, though.

OSU improved to 7-0 when wearing the white-black-white combo. Other wins included Baylor (2013), Iowa State (2014), Kansas State (2015), Camping World Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (2017), K-State (2021) and Arizona State (2022).

Gundy Bowl Wins

The Texas Bowl victory was Gundy’s 12th win in a bowl game, which is good enough for sixth-best in college football history. He’s tied with Lou Holtz, Urban Meyer and Tom Osborne.

Joe Paterno has the most bowl wins ever with 24.

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