Notre Dame will take on Oklahoma State in Fiesta Bowl

Notre Dame will take on Oklahoma State in Fiesta Bowl

New Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman will lead the Fighting Irish against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. | Paul Sancya/AP

The Fighting Irish (11-1) finished fifth in the final College Football Playoff rankings.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — No. 5 Notre Dame missed the College Football Playoff by one spot. No. 9 Oklahoma State’s bid came up inches short.

The disappointment sets up a nice consolation: another marquee matchup in the Fiesta Bowl.

Just short of the CFP, the Irish and Cowboys will meet in a New Year’s Day bowl that’s produced some high-level games through the years.

The Irish (11-1) shook off an Oct. 2 loss to Cincinnati to win their final seven games, putting themselves in position to earn a CFP playoff spot despite coach Brian Kelly’s decision to leave for LSU.

Notre Dame promoted defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach Friday and had hoped for a bit of chaos during the conference championship games Saturday.

The Irish didn’t get it.

Wins by No. 4 Cincinnati and No. 2 Michigan left them on the outside looking in, fifth in Sunday’s final CFP rankings.

The Cowboys (11-2) were agonizingly close to reaching the CFP for the first time. They rallied from a 21-3 halftime deficit against No. 6 Baylor in the Big 12 championship game and put together a late drive, reaching the Bears’ 2-yard line.

Oklahoma State failed on three tries and, with the clock winding down, Dezmon Jackson ran around the edge toward the end zone. Baylor’s Jairon McVea tracked him down and Jackson’s reach to the pylon missed by inches.

The 21-16 loss left the Cowboys short of the Big 12 championship and the playoff. They finished ninth in the final CFP rankings.

The first meeting between Notre Dame and Oklahoma State sets up what could be another memorable game at the Fiesta Bowl.

The Cowboys have one of the nation’s stingiest defenses, finishing third in total defense, fifth against the run and eighth in scoring defense.

The Irish have a well-balanced offense that produced four straight lopsided wins to close the regular season, capped by a 45-14 victory over Stanford in the finale. Jack Coan threw for 2,641 yards and 20 touchdowns, with Kyren Williams adding 1,002 yards and 19 TDs on the ground.

Oklahoma State’s last win in a New Year’s Six bowl was a 41-38 win over Stanford in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. The Irish, who haven’t won a major bowl since 1993, played in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, a 44-28 loss to Ohio State.

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