Oklahoma State football: Tylan Wallace opted in for Cheez-It Bowl, because it's the only way he knows
ORLANDO, Fla. — Tylan Wallace could have opted out of the Cheez-It Bowl and no one would have blinked.
Wallace, who came back to Oklahoma State for his senior season to prove his right knee was fully healthy from ACL surgery in November of 2019, sustained a minor injury to the same knee on the final play of the third quarter against TCU on Dec. 5.
He missed the Baylor game the next week because of the injury.
At that point, he could’ve bowed out gracefully, protecting his knee and his NFL future. Many players with his stature as a professional prospect have done the same, including OSU running back Chuba Hubbard.
Yet on Tuesday afternoon, Wallace will buckle up his OSU helmet one final time when the No. 21-ranked Cowboys face No. 18 Miami at 4:30 p.m. at Camping World Stadium.
Wallace opted in, because it’s the only way he knows how to operate.
“For me, it’s a personal thing,” Wallace said. “Playing in the bowl game, for me, is the right way to go out. I feel like I’ve put a lot into the program, and it means a lot to me. I know it means a lot to the guys.
“So I wanted to go ahead and finish out the right way in my eyes, to finish out the bowl game with them, and spend the last game, last few moments with them.”
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Wallace’s place in OSU history is already etched. Entering Tuesday’s game, he’s fifth in Cowboy history in career receiving yards with 3,389, fifth in catches with 199, sixth in touchdown receptions with 26 and third in yards per catch at 17.03.
Opting out of the bowl wouldn’t have diminished those numbers.
“He loves the game of football,” OSU offensive coordinator and receivers coach Kasey Dunn said. “It’s almost like (the torn ACL) never happened. You see him out there running routes and competing and playing. He’s a joy to watch, because he plays so hard all the time.
“He probably has as much reason to opt out as anyone. But the guy loves playing football, and he wants to be out here with his teammates.”
Wallace doesn’t begrudge those who have opted out, and he understands their situation.
“Guys make their own personal decisions,” he said. “That’s them. It’s their life. It’s however they wanna live it. If they want to opt out, then I think that’s great for them. Everybody has different situations. I think I see it easily from either way or the other.”
But for Wallace, only one way was going to work.
“I have a ton of respect for the fact that he’s gonna be out there on Tuesday playing that game with us and sharing those moments,” Dunn said. “One last opportunity to watch him run around.”
Scott Wright covers OSU athletics, especially football. You can send your story ideas to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ScottWrightOK. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.
Who: No. 21 Oklahoma State (7-3) vs. No. 18 Miami (8-2)
When: 4:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
TV: ESPN (Cox 29)
Radio: 96.1 FM