Cheez-It Bowl notebook: Oklahoma State's Tylan Wallace sits out second half; Miami's D’Eriq King injures knee
ORLANDO, Fla. — On OSU’s first offensive snap of the game, Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders completed a pass to Tylan Wallace, giving the senior receiver his 200th career reception — and becoming the fifth player in Cowboy history to reach the mark.
Wallace finished with six receptions for 45 yards, not playing after halftime of the Cowboys’ 37-34 Cheez-It Bowl victory on Tuesday at Camping World Stadium.
His early departure had been discussed as a possibility before the game in conversations between Wallace, coach Mike Gundy and offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn. Gundy admitted that the second-quarter injury to Miami quarterback D’Eriq King reinforced the decision.
“We had just talked with (Wallace) that at some point, we wanted to get some of the other players in the game that were gonna be there next year,” Gundy said. “And we want to protect him. There’s always things in the back of your mind that happen. I’m not so sure that what took place with Miami’s quarterback didn’t have a little bit of affect on us. I’m not saying that we had a plan for an exact point in the game.
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“Obviously, he’s got a future that very few people have an opportunity for, so myself and Coach Dunn were very protective of him. We made the choice at that time to let some of the other players get in and compete, so we just didn’t have to hold our breath in that situation.”
Dunn took responsibility for the timing of the change.
“I want to protect that kid, for sure,” Dunn said. “I told him that early on, going into the bowl, ‘I’m going to protect you. I know you’ve got a future in this game.’ So that’s 100% on me as far as who played and when. I told him before the game, before we even left the hotel that I wanted to see Tay (Martin) in the second half, and for Tylan to be prepared to sit down.”
Wallace finished his career behind Rashaun Woods (293 receptions), Justin Blackmon (253), James Washington (226) and Hart Lee Dykes (224).
Wallace also finished his career with 3,434 receiving yards, also fifth-most in OSU history.
Miami QB King injures knee in second quarter
Already trailing 21-7 in the second quarter, the Miami offense took a hit when King suffered a right knee injury. He got hurt only moments after rushing for a touchdown that was negated by a holding penalty. After the injury, Miami was held to a field goal.
King’s right knee appeared to buckle just before he was tackled by OSU’s Tre Sterling. King immediately grasped the knee and rolled on the ground in pain. He was helped slowly to the locker room just before halftime and later returned to the sideline wearing street clothes and walking with crutches.
To that point, King had completed 10 of 13 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown, to go with 18 rushing yards.
N’Kosi Perry replaced him and finished 19-of-34 for 228 yards and two touchdowns, rallying the Hurricanes to within a score in the final minutes.
Gundy gets Cheez-It bath
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy recently expressed his love for Cheez-Its.
On Tuesday night, he got a bath in them, Gatorade celebration style.
After the postgame handshake of the head coaches, OSU’s Tre Sterling and Brennan Presley tracked down Gundy and dumped a Gatorade bucket of the cheesy crackers on him.
It was a fitting way to close out the bowl game, which ended OSU’s season with an 8-3 record.
“The Cheez-It bath is much better than the ice-cold Gatorade at my age,” Gundy said. “I’m really happy for our players. This win might be as gratifying win for me, personally, selfishly, as any that I’ve had in my career, just seeing the exhilaration and enjoyment on the players’ faces after the game.”
Holcomb absent from radio booth
The Oklahoma State radio broadcast was down one person, with color commentator John Holcolmb missing the game following the passing of his father, Daniel Holcomb, on Sunday.
OSU did not replace Holcomb in the booth. Instead, sideline reporter Robert Allen provided additional analysis, but remained on the field during the game.
Rodriguez to return for sixth year
Oklahoma State received a big boost for the 2021 season.
Senior linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez is returning for a fifth season, he told Pokes Report and the OSU radio pregame show ahead of Tuesday’s Cheez-It Bowl against Miami.
A 5-foot-11, 220-pound Wagoner product, Rodriguez has been a model of consistency in the middle of the Cowboys’ defense.
“I talked to my family and the biggest thing was coming back and getting my degree,” Rodriguez said. “Since I switched my major so late, I’m supposed to finish next fall, so that was the big, important part. And I feel like I can work on some key points in my game.”
He moved to linebacker last season and led the team with 103 tackles, which was fourth in the Big 12. He was named the team’s Leslie O’Neal Award winner, which is given to the defensive MVP.
This season, Rodriguez is second on the team with 81 tackles. He also has three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Rodriguez began his career as a safety.
The NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to all players due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rodriguez likely won’t be the only OSU player to take advantage of the extra year.
Sterling, who is a fourth-year junior, announced after the game that he will return next season as well.
Other Cowboys stars have elected to go to the NFL, though. Chuba Hubbard, Teven Jenkins and Rodarius Williams have all elected to prepare for the draft. Dillon Stoner also announced that the bowl game would be his last.