Heart of Dallas Bowl: 10 Things You Need to Know for Oklahoma State vs. Purdue

Bradlee Ross@rossbeCorrespondent IIDecember 31, 2012

Heart of Dallas Bowl: 10 Things You Need to Know for Oklahoma State vs. Purdue

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    The Oklahoma State Cowboys will play the Purdue Boilermakers in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year’s Day. You can look here to find everything you need heading into this intriguing bowl matchup.

    Both Oklahoma State and Purdue are coming off somewhat disappointing seasons, and each desperately wants to cap off its season with a bowl win. The Cowboys are looking to rebound after losing the last two games of the season, while the Boilermakers are looking to get a big win that will propel them into a new era of Purdue football.

    The Heart of Dallas Bowl will be one of the most underrated matchups of the bowl season. Here is everything you need to know about it.

The History of the Heart of Dallas Bowl

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    One of the younger postseason bowl games, the Heart of Dallas Bowl was first played on January 1, 2011 as the TicketCity Bowl. The game features a team from the Big Ten every year, and that team faces a Big 12 opponent in odd-numbered years and a Conference USA opponent in even-numbered ones.

    The inaugural game in 2011 was a narrow, seven-point victory for Texas Tech over Northwestern, while last year’s matchup resulted in a 16-point win for Houston over Penn State.

    The bowl game has a new sponsor this season in the Heart of Dallas, a new nonprofit organization that hosts sports and entertainment events in order to support various Dallas-based charities.

    The game is played in the Cotton Bowl, replacing the actual Cotton Bowl game, which is now played in Cowboys Stadium.

How the Cowboys’ Season Has Gone

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    After winning the 2011 Big 12 title, winning the 2012 Fiesta Bowl and losing multiple players in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, everyone expected 2012 to be a rebuilding year for Oklahoma State. However, the season’s 7-5 result was still a bit of a disappointment.

    This season will be remembered as one in which the Cowboys were better than their record, which they marred with poor performances in key situations. After blowing out Savannah State 84-0, the Cowboys lost at Arizona and at home against Texas in two of their next three games. Both of those losses were characterized by penalties and defensive mistakes that cost the team the game.

    They followed the Texas loss up with three straight wins before losing at Kansas State. They went 2-2 in their final four games, defeating West Virginia and Texas Tech at home and losing to Oklahoma and Baylor on the road.

How the Boilermakers’ Season Has Gone

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    The Purdue Boilermakers should be able to empathize with Oklahoma State, as they too are looking back on a 2012 season that probably should have resulted in more wins than it actually did.

    The team started out the season 3-1, with their lone loss being by just three points to a Notre Dame team that would go on to the national championship. However, they followed that impressive streak with five straight losses, only one of which was within a touchdown.

    The Boilermakers achieved bowl eligibility by defeating three Big Ten bottom dwellers in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. However, that was not enough to save head coach Darryl Hope’s job. He was fired on November 25.

Mike Gundy Will Be Calling Plays Again for the Cowboys

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    After the end of the regular season, the Oklahoma State Cowboys lost offensive coordinator Todd Monken to Southern Mississippi, where he was hired as the head coach.

    Luckily for the Cowboys, Mike Gundy has plenty of experience in losing coordinators and replacing them. Dana Holgorsen, Tim Beckman and Larry Fedora are all coordinators that Gundy has been required to replace within the last five years.

    According to USA Today, Gundy and his other offensive assistants will call the plays in the Heart of Dallas bowl. Gundy called his team's plays himself for the first five seasons of his head coaching tenure at Oklahoma State, so it should not be a problem for him and his staff to adjust to this method for this game.

The Purdue Coaching Situation

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    After Purdue fired Danny Hope on November 25, Boilermaker fans waited with great anticipation to see who the school would hire to try and bring the program back to the winning ways of years past.

    Darrell Hazell is that man. The former Kent State coach was hired on December 5 to succeed Hope, after leading Kent State to an 11-2 record in just his second season on the job. He will coach the Golden Flashes in the January 6 GoDaddy.com Bowl against Arkansas State.

    Wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins will assume the interim head coaching position for Purdue for the Heart of Dallas bowl, but Hazell will be watching. Boilermaker fans should be happy with his hiring, as his ability to begin work at Purdue and still coach Kent State shows tremendous work ethic, loyalty and honor.

The Oklahoma State Quarterback Situation

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    No other team has had the season Oklahoma State has had at the quarterback position. After a three-way race for the starting spot in the spring, true freshman Wes Lunt won the job, followed closely by redshirt freshman J.W. Walsh and junior Clint Chelf.

    After Lunt was injured early in the season, Walsh took over. A few games later, Walsh was injured. Lunt took back over, but he got injured again in the next game. Clint Chelf took over at that point, and he has started in every game since. He will also start in the Heart of Dallas bowl.

    Despite this merry-go-round at quarterback, the Cowboys have continued to be effective on offense. They ranked in the Top 10 in passing yardage, as each quarterback won at least two games and threw for over 1,000 yards.

Cowboy Player to Watch: Joseph Randle

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    The player to watch for the Oklahoma State Cowboys has to be running back Joseph Randle.

    The junior out of Wichita, Kan. has rushed for 1,351 yards this season, leading the Big 12 in that individual stat by over 300 yards. He also accounted for 14 rushing touchdowns, 224 receiving yards and a 5.3 yards-per-carry average.

    Randle is widely considered to be one of the better running back prospects for the 2013 NFL draft, and he could very well choose to leave for the NFL. The fact that he has achieved that type of respect and such good stats as a running back in a pass-heavy system is evidence as to how special of a player he truly is.

Boilermaker Player to Watch: Robert Marve

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    Robert Marve will be the most important player for Purdue in this game, as the Boilermakers try to keep up with a potent Oklahoma State offensive attack.

    Marve’s career in college football has been a difficult one. The former Florida’s Mr. Football transferred to Purdue from Miami after the 2008 season. He has missed quite a bit of time while at Purdue, having to sit out his first year after transferring and missing even more time due to injuries after that. The 2012 season is his sixth year of eligibility, granted to him by the NCAA due to his injury issues.

    He has played well in 2012, despite having to miss part of it due to injury, as well. Marve has thrown for 1,522 yards this season, which is impressive considering he missed three games and played only sparingly in two others. He also threw 13 touchdowns to just three interceptions.

    Marve will have to play very well in the Heart of Dallas Bowl to give Purdue a chance. Oklahoma State knows how to score as well as anyone in the country, and how Marve and the Purdue offense respond will determine who wins the game.

What Vegas Is Saying

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    One thing that distinguishes the 2013 Heart of Dallas bowl is the betting line that has been thrown out for the game because it is one of the largest in bowl history.

    Depending on what source you look at, Oklahoma State is favored in the game by anywhere from 14 to 18 points. The predicted total for the game has stayed at around 70 points, which is probably pretty accurate.

    Whether or not Oklahoma State will be able to live up to such expectations is up for debate. It is no secret that the Cowboys and their fans expected to be in a more prestigious game. Oklahoma State could be less than hyped for the matchup.

    However, that is not a problem Mike Gundy has ever had in the past. Purdue may appear to be overmatched in this contest, but it seems unlikely that will make Oklahoma State come out not ready to play. One thing it could do though is motivate Purdue to make it a much closer game than anyone expects.

Who Will Win and Why

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    Purdue will not be the pushover in this game that many expect them to be. They have talent on both sides of the ball, and they will be motivated by the lack of respect they are getting and their desire to impress new head coach Darrell Hazell.

    However, the Boilermakers are simply not able to keep up with this Oklahoma State team that will be looking to make a statement on just how good it is. The Cowboys expected to play in a better bowl game, and they will play like they should have gotten in a better one.

    Purdue’s defense will play valiantly, but the Cowboys’ tempo and speed will be too much for them. Robert Marve will pass for over 250 yards, and Purdue will put up at least 350 yards of total offense. That will not be enough.

    The Cowboys will put up at least 500 yards of offense, and Joseph Randle will put up at least 150 yards rushing. Sophomore wide receiver Josh Stewart will finish his breakout season by eclipsing the 100-catch mark and 100 receiving yards for the game.


    Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, Purdue 24