Oklahoma State storms back to hand Notre Dame another big-game loss in Fiesta Bowl

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — An all-time comeback earned a win for the ages.

Ninth-ranked Oklahoma State erased a three-touchdown deficit to defeat No. 5 Notre Dame 37-35 in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday at State Farm Stadium.

Oklahoma State fell behind 28-7 in the second quarter, but scored 30 straight points to seal the victory. It was the biggest comeback in school history, and perhaps the most notable win ever for the program, considering the opponent and the circumstances.

Oklahoma State finished the season 12-2, the program’s second-ever 12-win season.

Cowboy quarterback Spencer Sanders threw for 371 yards with four touchdowns and rushed for 125 yards. Brennan Presley and Tay Martin each went over the 100-yard mark receiving, and the defense allowed only one touchdown in Notre Dame’s final eight possessions.

Here are four more takeaways from the Cowboys’ monumental victory:

Seniors go out big

Not only did the Oklahoma State senior class close the season with a huge win over a brand-name program, a couple of those seniors had big performances in doing so.

Linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez had 11 tackles to surpass the 400 mark for his career, becoming just the fourth Oklahoma State player to reach that mark. He also had a key interception when Notre Dame was driving with a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

Martin had three touchdown receptions and 104 yards on 10 catches, passing the 1,000-yard mark for the season. His three touchdown catches tied the Fiesta Bowl record.

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Jack Coan, first-half superstar

Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan had been solid all regular season, but he looked unstoppable in the first half Saturday.

Coan was 24-of-33 for 342 yards and four touchdowns in the first half as Notre Dame built a 28-14 lead.

It was particularly crucial because Notre Dame could not run the ball, totaling just 16 rushing yards in the first half.

For the game, Coan finished 38-of-68 for 509 yards, though he added only one more touchdown in the second half — that coming in the final minutes with the Cowboys leading by nine — and he was intercepted once.

Oklahoma State receiver Jaden Bray (85) celebrates his first-half touchdown catch against Notre Dame.
Oklahoma State receiver Jaden Bray (85) celebrates his first-half touchdown catch against Notre Dame.

Mayer impact

Early on, Oklahoma State seemed to have an answer for Notre Dame’s top receiving option, tight end Michael Mayer. But once Coan was able to find him, Mayer broke through.

Coan hit Mayer for a 16-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, Mayer’s first catch of the day as he fought off tight coverage from Oklahoma State safety Kolby Harvell-Peel. Mayer added another touchdown later in the quarter, again tightly covered, this time by Tanner McCalister.

Mayer finished the first half with five catches for 43 yards and two scores on six targets.

But his second-half impact was less significant, adding two catches for 29 yards to finish with totals of seven catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns.

L.D. Brown returns

Oklahoma State super-senior running back L.D. Brown made his return from an undisclosed injury that kept him out since mid-September. Brown played in the first three games of the season before being sidelined.

Brown’s second carry of the game went for 22 yards and jumpstarted Oklahoma State's first touchdown drive of the game.

Having played in just four games, the sixth-year senior could potentially be eligible for a seventh year because of the injury.

Brown ended the day with three rushes for 27 yards and one reception for three yards.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma State beats Notre Dame in Fiesta Bowl with huge comeback