THE 2008 PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL
Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Oregon (9-3)
In yet another fantastic bowl finish, the Oregon Ducks defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 42-31 in the 31st annual Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.
In an exciting, back and forth second half, the Ducks took the lead for good over the Cowboys with just over 9 minutes remaining after QB Jeremiah Masoli found Jaison Williams in the endzone for a 20-yard touchdown pass. After getting stopped at the 1-yard line on fourth down by the OSU defense, Oregon got the ball back once more and they took advantage of it as RB LeGarrette Blount hurdled a player and held off two others as he powered his way to a 29-yard touchdown run to seal the victory for the Ducks.
Ducks QB Jeremiah Masoli earned Offensive MVP honors, finishing the game with 364 all-purpose yards (258 passing, 106 rushing) and 4 TD’s, three of which were on the ground. DB Jairus Byrd was named the game’s Defensive MVP, thanks in part to a huge 39-yard interception return.
After the Cowboys dominated the first half, the Ducks came roaring out of the gates in the third quarter as they scored twice to take a 21-17 lead, their first lead of the game. Oregon kick returner Walter Thurmond III returned the second-half opening kickoff 91 yards to the Oklahoma State 3-yard line. Two plays later, QB Jeremiah Johnson rushed into the endzone from one yard out.
From there, both teams’ offenses started firing on all cylinders as the game saw five second-half lead changes, as opposing QB’s Zac Robinson and Jeremiah Masoli put on a clinic both on the ground and in the air.
In the first half, it was the Cowboys who struck first as they took their opening possession 52 yards to set up Dan Bailey’s 45-yard field goal. After forcing an Oregon punt, Oklahoma State got the ball back on their own 1-yard line. The offense then put together an 11-play, 99 yard drive as they marched down the field and scored a touchdown as QB Zac Robinson hit WR Dez Bryant on a 33-yard pass.
The Ducks offense didn’t take long to respond. Starting at his own 24-yard line, Oregon’s RB Jeremiah Johnson broke loose and rushed for a 76-yard touchdown to get the Ducks on the scoreboard.
Oklahoma State answered right back, as Perrish Cox returned the kickoff 42 yards to give the Cowboys great field position. Then QB Zac Robinson, RB Kendall Hunter and the Cowboys offense went back to work as they marched down the field and scored on their third straight posession on a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Hunter, stretching the Cowboys lead to 17-7.
Robinson finished the game with 383 all-purpose yards and 2 TD’s. WR Dez Bryant set two Pacific Life Holiday Bowl records as he hauled in 13 receptions for 168 yards. The previous Holiday Bowl record for receptions (11) was held by BYU’s David Mills (1984) and Texas’ Roy Williams (2001), and the receiving yards record (163) was held by Oklahoma State’s Hart Lee Dykes (1988).
After a lot of offensive fireworks in the first quarter, the defenses stepped up in the third quarter, combining to force three missed field goals and a turnover. After Oregon turned the ball over on downs to open the quarter, Oklahoma State missed a scoring opportunity as Bailey missed a 43-yard field goal. After Oregon got the ball back, QB Jeremiah Masoli stung the Cowboys defense for a 50-yard pass play to Terence Scott, but then the Cowboy defense held, forcing a 38-yard field goal attempt. But Oklahoma State DB Jacob Lacey blocked Morgan Flint’s FG attempt, keeping the score 17-7. After forcing the Cowboys to turn the ball over on downs, Oregon put together a long 14-play, 43 yard drive, only to see Flint’s second field goal attempt sail wide right.