Tangerine Bowl

1976

 

Oklahoma State 49

BYU 21

Oklahoma State Fight Song

 

Provo Daily Herald

By MARION DUNN

 

Oklahoma State running back Terry Miller sparked a third quarter explosion that shot the Cowboys to a 49-21 victory over error-plagued BYU in the Tangerine Bowl here Saturday night.

 

Miller set two T-Bowl records and tied one and was chosen the game's outstanding offensive player. His records were the most net yards rushing, 173, the longest touchdown run from scrimmage, 78 yards, and he tied the record for the most touchdowns with four.

 

The highly-touted Oklahoma State rushing game was not as overpowering as some people expected, but was good for 375 yards. The Cowboys gained 27 passing for a net of 402 yards.

 

BYU's junior all-American quarterback, Gifford Nielsen, passed for 209 and one touchdown, completing 23 of 34 attempts, but he suffered four interceptions which set up Cowboy touchdowns.

 

BYU trailed at the half, 28-14, but bounced right back into the running when tailback Dave Lowry, who was operated on for appendicitis just eight days ago, took the second half kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and ran the length of the field for a touchdown

 

Lowry's run was also a T-Bowl record and it appeared to be the spark the Cougars needed at that time. On that touchdown run Lowry took the ball and followed the wall up the middle, then cut to his left and outran the last Cowboy with a chance to get him in a sensational effort.

 

But then, Oklahoma State struck for three touchdowns and that was all the scoring in the game with neither team getting on the board in the final period.

 

A crowd of 37,812 watched in person and the game was televised around the country.

 

The fans were treated to some exciting moments and had to realize that BYU contributed heavily to its own demise.

 

The Cougars lost those four interceptions and were hit with several costly penalties that either throttled their own drives or helped the Cowboys to touchdowns.

 

The victory was Oklahoma State's second straight over BYU in bowl meetings. The Cowboys beat the Cougars 16-6 in the 1974 Fiesta Bowl.

 

Oklahoma State's defensive tackle, Philip Dokes, was named the outstanding defensive player, a fact BYU players all disputed when it was announced.

 

Dokes never got to Nielsen and BYU offensive tackle Dave Hubbard, who was flip-flopped from the right to the left side of the line to personally challenge Dokes appeared to have the best of their individual battle.

 

But there was no question about the offensive star. Miller scored touchdowns of three, 78, six and one yards. The other Cowboy scores came on a 37-yard interception return of a deflection Nielsen pass by defensive tackle Chris Dawson in the first quarter, a two-yard keeper by quarterback Charlie Weatherbie in the second period and a one-yard dive by running back Robert Turner in the third quarter.

 

The Cowboys also picked up a two-point conversion and missed one PAT attempt.

 

BYU’s scores came on a three-foot plunge by fullback Todd Christensen early in the second quarter, a 27-yard Nielsen to tight end Todd Thompson pass in the second quarter and Lowry's record run with that second half kickoff.

 

Turner added 80 yards to the Cowboy rushing total in 21 attempts. And Weatherbie completed one of nine passes for 27 yards.

 

BYU all-WAC tailback Jeff Blanc gained 31 yards in eight carries for the Cougars' only real yardage on the ground.

 

The Cowboys did not sack Nielsen until Daria Butler dropped him with 6:52 left in the game. But they put pressure on him, forcing him out of the pocket on numerous occasions.

 

Asked about this failure to get at Nielsen, Dokes said, “He’s a real good passer.   He was quicker scrambling than we thought he would be. We didn’t expect him to scramble that much or to be so hard to catch. But we did put the heat on him and we forced him to move out of the pocket. If he had been able to sit in the pocket he would have picked us apart so we did have an effect on him."

 

The big defensive end-from Arkansas also credited the Big Eight Conference for the victory. "The Big Eight is a strong conference and you have to be ready all the time. That was the difference. BYU has a good team; we respect them, but we play good teams all the time in the Big Eight."

 

Miller also praised BYU, saying "they are a good team and gave us a good game." But he said he was slowed by sinus trouble. "I have been sick for three days and I couldn't get no oxygen," then he smiled and corrected himself, "Pardon the English. I mean I couldn't get any oxygen. BYU is a real good team and now I've got to go give my mom a kiss."

 

BYU's players were impressed with Oklahoma State, but refused to believe the Cowboys were any better, blaming their own mistakes for the outcome.

 

When the score was 28-21 everyone expected the game to go right down to the wire. But Oklahoma State broke it open.

 

Starting from their own 25, the Cowboys moved to a touchdown with running back Marlin Dindey breaking loose for 49 yards to the BYU 16 where the Cougars drew a personal foul penalty on the tackle with the ball advancing to the eight. Turner capped the drive by going over from the one and the kick for point was wide, leaving the score at 34-21 for OSU.

 

Following the kickoff, BYU started from its 23 and set up a Cowboy touchdown. Nielsen passed for five yards to tight end Brian Billick, but on the next play tried to hit wide receiver Mike Chronister deep, with the ball being picked off by linebacker John Weimer who returned it to the BYU 26.

 

The Cowboys had a third down situation when Miller was put into the lineup for the first time in the third period on a fourth-and-two he took a pitchout and raced into the endzone, there Wheatherbie passed to Sam Lisle for two points. That made it 42-21.

 

Another BYU mistake set up the final touchdown of the game. BYU had the ball on its own 15 with 4:33 to play in the quarter when Roger Gourley was hit hard and fumbled with OSU recovering on the 16. A few plays later Miller scored from the one, the kick was good and it as OSU 49, BYU 21.

 

Nielsen said his pass that was intercepted by Weimer was just a poor pass. "I tried to drill the ball past the linebacker to Chronister and it was a poor pass. I think I could have got it to Mike It was just a bad pass," he explained.

 

BYU's underdog team outplayed the Cowboys with the exception of a record setting 78 yard sprint from scrimmage by Miller.

 

That run came when the Cougars had the Cowboys nailed to their 22-yard line third down and nine yards to go. But the All-American sprinter slanted off tackle, broke into the clear and went all the way to the touchdown as BYU's Craig Jensen tried vainly to trip him up with a diving tackle at the five.

 

That was the touchdown that gave Oklahoma State its two-touchdown margin. There were only 40 seconds to play in the half and BYU ran out the time after the kickoff.

 

But that first half was full of thrills with BYU's mistake helping the Cowboys take the lead.

 

BYU's Dave Taylor missed two field goal attempts the first two times the Cougars had the ball. The first one was a 52-yarder and was just wide to the left. The second was a 39-yard attempt and was right to the right. The Cougars stopped Oklahoma State, but then gave the Cowboys their first touchdown

 

BYU took over after a punt at their own 37 with no score on the board. Blanc was stopped for no gain, then he got away for five yards to the 42 and it was third-and-five.

 

Nielsen dropped back to pass, tried to sail a short one over the on-charging Cowboy defenders' heads and Dokes batted the ball away back over Nielsen's head and right into the hands of Cowboy tackle Chris Dawson, who took the ball on the 37 and ran unmolested for the touchdown. Abby Dagle kicked the first of four extra points and it was 7-0.

 

But the Cougars thrilled this crowd by taking the kickoff and marching downfield to tie the score.

 

Mark Terranova, a veteran who has seen little action, returned the kickoff 33 yards and the Cowboys were assessed 15 yards on a personal foul to put the Cougars on the OSU 45.

 

Nielsen threw incomplete, then hit Blanc on the 31 and Christensen on the 25 and the Cougars had a first-and-10.

 

Nielsen was forced out of the pocket and he ran to his right, then lofted a perfect pass to Thompson on the one-yard line.

 

On the first play of the second quarter Christensen was stopped inches short of a touchdown, but on the next play he powered in, Taylor converted and it was a 7-7 ball game

 

Rice recovered a Miller fumble on the Cougar 38 and the breaks seemed to be going BYU's way for the first time. But it was only a mirage. On the next play Nielsen threw the ball high over the intended receiver's hands and free safety Gary Irions was right in the line of flight with no one in front of him and he returned the ball 44 yards to the BYU 16. BYU was penalized on a personal foul to put the ball on the eight and three plays later Weatherbie scored from the two on a keeper

 

The Cowboys capitalized on another interception moments later to get their third touchdown.

 

BYU return specialist Jason Coloma tried to field the kickoff on his one and knocked the ball out of bounds. The Cougars moved away from there and seemed to be driving when Milton Kirven stepped in front of a Nielsen aerial and returned it 14 yards to the Cougar 34. From there the Cowboys went to a touchdown with Miller scoring and it was 21-7

 

BYU came back to get its second touchdown on the next series, going 69 yards in nine plays. The big plays were passes with Nielsen hitting Chronister for eight, Billick for nine and Christensen for eight, then Christensen for 12 and the ball was on the Cowboy 28.

 

On the next play Nielsen passed up the middle to Thompson, who took the ball about the 17 and ran it into the endzone. Taylor converted and it was 21-14 with just under two minutes remaining. Then came Miller's 78-yard touchdown, a Tangerine Bowl record.

 

Nielsen hit 14 of 19 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown, but had those three interceptions. Miller carried 13 times for 124 yards in this individual dual which has claimed national attention.

 

BYU's Gifford Neilsen sets to pass.

 

The story of the game was Oklahoma State's powerful running attack and outmanned BYU.

 

BYU stopped OSU this time, but not enough. Dave Lowry returned the 2nd half kickoff.

 

Todd Christensen (33) scores tying touchdown in the second period.

 

Attendance: 37,812

 

Scoring Summary

 

First Quarter

OSU- Dawson 36 yard interception return (Daigle kick)

 

Second Quarter

BYU- Christensen 1 run (Taylor kick)

OSU- Weatherbie 2 run (Daigle kick)

OSU- Miller 3 run (Daigle kick)

BYU- Thompson 27 yard pass from Nielson (Taylor kick)

OSU- Miller 78 run (Daigle kick)

 

Third Quarter

BYU- Lowry 102 yard kickoff return (Taylor kick)

OSU- Turner run (kick failed)

OSU- Miller 6 run (Lisle pass from Weatherbie)

OSU- Miller 1 run (Daigle kick)

 

Individual Statistics

 

Rushing

BYU- Blanc 8-31, Neilson 6-6, Christiensen 6-6, Lowry 4-7

OSU- Miller 23-173, Turner 22-80, Weatherbie 11-28, Dindy 7-68, Bailey 3-23,

 

Passing:

BYU- Nielson 23-34-209 (1 TD).

OSU- Weatherbie 2-9-27

 

Receiving

BYU- Thompson 3-63, Christienson 6-53, Billick 4-37, Lowrey 3-10; Blanc 3-25

OSU- Lisle 2-27

 

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