Oklahoma State University finished 2016 off with a bang when the Cowboys finished the year with a 38-8 thrashing of Colorado in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
Now moving into 2017, Cowboy fans have high expectations.
OSU should be a Big 12 favorite going into 2017 after finishing just behind OU in 2016, and then the announcement that Mason Rudolph and James Washington will return for their senior years followed by completely steamrolling former conference rival Colorado in a lopsided San Antonio bowl game.
Rudolph passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns and Washington caught nine passes for 171 yards and a score as the No. 13 Cowboys routed No. 11 Colorado on Thursday night.
Justice Hill led the Cowboys with 100 yards on 19 carries.
Defensively, OSU (10-3) smothered a Buffaloes team that had played for the Pac-12 championship, holding them to 318 total yards and shutting them out for three quarters.
Now the Cowboys, who lost a shot at the Big 12 title in the final game of the regular season, will be ready to return for another chance in 2017.
“We’ll have all our weapons back. We look forward to coming back and ending with an even greater outcome,” said Washington, who left the game in the third quarter with a hand injury.
Oklahoma State forged a 10-0 lead on the strength of a 28-yard field goal by Ben Grogan on the Cowboys’ opening possession and a 10-yard touchdown run by Chris Carson at the 11:15 mark of the second quarter.
Rudolph set up OSU’s first touchdown when he caught a throw-back pass for 24 yards. His 5-yard TD pass to Washington made it 17-0 in the second quarter, and Rudolph had
scoring throws to Blake Jarwin and Jhajuan Seales in the third to make it 31-0.
Colorado’s best season in more than a decade ended with just one TD play as OSU rolled to victory. Colorado finished second in their conference after three consecutive losses in the Pac-12 title game and Thursday was the program’s first bowl appearance since 2007.
Senior quarterback Sefo Liufau passed for 195 yards and ran for the lone touchdown for the Buffaloes (10-4), but was sidelined for part of the second and third quarters after limping off following a sack.
“We played with a savage mentality. We didn’t want to let any points on the board,” Oklahoma State safety Jordan Sterns said.
In addition to Rudolph and Washington, OSU should have 13 returning starters in 2017. The season opener is set for Sept. 2 at home vs. Tulsa. Then after playing back-to-back road games at South Alabama and Pittsburgh. Big 12 play opens with a home game against TCU on Sept. 23.
The 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl was the third consecutive top-15 matchup. The bowl produced and marks the third year of a conference agreement to match the No. 1 Big 12 and No. 1 Pac-12 teams outside of the College Football Playoff selections or the Pac-12’s Rose Bowl commitment.
Oklahoma State Bowl History
Dec. 29, 2016 Alamo Bowl _ Oklahoma State 38, Colorado 8
Jan. 1, 2016 Sugar Bowl _ Mississippi 48, Oklahoma St. 20
Jan. 2, 2015 Cactus Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 30, Washington 22
Jan. 3, 2014 Cotton Bowl _ Missouri 41, Oklahoma St. 31
Jan. 1, 2013 Heart of Texas Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 58, Purdue 14
Jan. 2, 2012 Fiesta Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 41, Stanford 38, OT
Dec. 29, 2010 Alamo Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 36, Arizona 10
Jan. 2, 2010 Cotton Bowl _ Mississippi 21, Oklahoma St. 7
Dec. 30, 2008 Holiday Bowl _ Oregon 42, Oklahoma St. 31
Dec. 31, 2007 Insight Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 49, Indiana 33
Dec. 28, 2006 Independence Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 34, Alabama 31
Dec. 29, 2004 Alamo Bowl _ Ohio St. 33, Oklahoma St. 7
Jan. 2, 2004 Cotton Bowl _ Mississippi 31, Oklahoma St. 28
Dec. 27, 2002 Houston Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 33, Southern Miss. 23
Dec. 30, 1997 Alamo Bowl _ Purdue 33, Oklahoma St. 20
Dec. 30, 1989 Holiday Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 62, Wyoming 14
Dec. 25, 1987 Sun Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 35, West Virginia 33
Dec. 30, 1985 Gator Bowl _ Florida St. 34, Oklahoma St. 23
Dec. 28, 1984 Gator Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 21, South Carolina 14
Dec. 31, 1983 Bluebonnet Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 24, Baylor 14
Dec. 12, 1981 Independence Bowl _ Texas A&M 33, Oklahoma St. 16
Dec. 18, 1976 Tangerine Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 49, BYU 21
Dec. 28, 1974 Fiesta Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 16, BYU 6
Dec. 13, 1958 Blue Grass Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 15, Florida St. 6
Jan. 1, 1949 Delta Bowl _ William & Mary 20, Oklahoma St. 0
Jan. 1, 1946 Sugar Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 33, St. Mary’s 13
Jan. 1, 1945 Cotton Bowl _ Oklahoma St. 34, TCU 0