Cowboys Hold Off Huskies to Win Cactus Bowl

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Oklahoma State got a couple of key offensive plays from defensive lineman James Castleman and used a strong first half to beat Washington 30-22 in  the Ticket City Cactus Bowl in Tempe, Arizona, on Friday night.

The Cowboys took the opening possession and marched 84 yards in 11 plays, helped by a Mason Rudolph 30-yard completion to David Glidden.

That set up OSU's unique touchdown, a direct snap to Cowboy defensive lineman James Castleman, who bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out to give OSU a 7-0 lead.

The Cowboys' defense did not give up a first down in the first quarter, but the OSU offense stopped itself on the next two possessions.

Rudolph fumbled just before he was sacked by Cory Littleton, and the Huskies recovered.

On the next OSU possession, Rudolph threw deep and had his pass picked off by Budda Baker, who made a great one-handed snag and returned it 41 yards.

Once again, the Huskies could not get a first down, and OSU took over after a punt and marched to another score.

This time it was a little more traditional, as Rudolph went up top to James Washington for a 28-yard score to make it 14-0 Cowboys.

Rudolph passed for 299 yards.

Early in the second quarter, Ben Grogan kicked a 40-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-0 with 9:22 to play in the first half.

Late in the half, OSU took over and took just two plays to score, with Rudolph going deep to Brandon Sheperd for a 47-yard touchdown to extend the Cowboys' lead to 24-0 with 48 seconds left in the half.

Sheperd caught five passes for 98 yards.

Trailing 24-0 at halftime, Washington took the opening possession of the second half and marched 82 yards in 7 plays, with Jaydon Mickens going 31 yards on a reverse to give the Huskies their first score, cutting the Cowboys lead to 24-7 with 11:48 to play in the third quarter.

The score remained 24-7 until late in the third quarter when an OSU punt ricocheted off a Washington player and was recovered by Josh Elias at the Huskies' 15-yard line.

OSU got a 27-yard field goal from Grogan to take a 27-7 lead with 1:47 to play in the third quarter.

Just as the Cowboys appeared to have taken control, Washington answered, as John Ross returned the enusing kickoff 96 yards for the touchdown to cut the OSU lead to 27-14 with 1:32 to play in the third.

Midway through the fourth quarter OSU got the ball and drove to a field goal, getting a 34-yarder from Grogan to extend the lead to 30-14 with 5:54 to play.

Washington wasn't done yet, though, as Cyler Miles passed to Jaydon Mickens for a 16-yard touchdown to cut the OSU lead to 30-20 with 3:29 to play.

The Huskies went for the two-point conversion, and got it, as Miles passed to Deontae Cooper for the conversion to make it 30-22.

Oklahoma State got the ball back with a chance to run out the time.

On 3rd and 2 from their own 35, OSU fooled the Huskies, as Rudolph passed to Castleman, who rumbled 48 yards to the Huskies' 17-yard line.

The Cowboys had to settle for a 27-yard field goal attempt from Grogan, but he pulled it wide left with 43 seconds left.

Washington had a final possession to try to tie it, but Miles was intercepted by Kevin Peterson with five seconds to play to clinch the win.

OSU finishes the season 7-6, while Washington ends the year at 8-6.

Bob Barry, Jr. reports from Tempe, Arizona.









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