DALLAS -- When senior quarterback Robert Marve threw to Tommie Thomas for a 16-yard touchdown pass Tuesday it felt and seemed like a meaningless score.
Trailing 58-7 against Oklahoma State and with less than three minutes left in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the touchdown pass did little to determine the bowl's outcome. The only thing it did prevent was the loss from becoming an infamous loss in the Purdue record books.
On the verge of enduring the most lopsided loss in program history, the touchdown pass and extra point made the final score 58-14 and kept the Boilermakers from hitting that worst-loss record. For interim head coach Patrick Higgins, though, it was another example of his team's resiliency.
"The one [positive] thing we have to look at is the effort," Higgins said. "They should be commended because they did not give up."
Despite the late touchdown to avoid the record books, the Heart of Dallas Bowl will go down as one of the worst losses in Purdue history.
This loss set the record for the Boilermakers' most lopsided bowl loss in program history. In addition, the 44-point loss was Purdue's worst non-conference loss since 1992 when it lost to then-No. 6 Notre Dame 48-0.
Purdue (6-7) allowed 524 total offensive yards and had five turnovers in the bowl loss.
Oklahoma State (8-5) scored 24-points off Purdue's turnovers, including a 37-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown to open the third quarter that gave the Cowboys a 35-0 lead. In addition, both of the Cowboys interceptions on tipped passes came within the Boilermakers territory that lead to scores.
"We needed to keep the field long today. In all the conversations I've had, I said we can't turn the ball over," Hggins said. " Five turnovers. ... That's a lot to overcome."
Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf was named the bowl's most valuable player after finishing 17-of-22 for 193 passing yards. The junior also had three touchdown passes with his final one coming in the third quarter before being pulled with Oklahoma State leading 45-0.
In his final college game and with former Purdue all-conference quarterbacks Drew Brees and Kyle Orton in attendance, Robert Marve did not surpass 100 passing yards until the Boilermakers trailed by 45 points. Marve ended the game 21-of-34 for 212 passing yards and was sacked three times.
Marve said the entire offense struggled to get in rhythm throughout most the game. He also said the month off between the regular-season finale and the bowl game hurt the Boilermakers' offense while benefiting the Cowboys' defense.
"You could tell they were watching a lot of film. They were jumping a lot of our stuff. We didn't make the plays when we were there," Marve said. "This definitely hurts."
Purdue entered the bowl on a three-game winning streak, including scoring a season-high 56 points in its regular-season finale against Indiana to become bowl eligible.
Senior running back Akeem Shavers -- who had a game-high 93 rushing yards -- said Purdue struggled on offense because Oklahoma State's fast defense.
"They were very tough. They're strong all the way across the board," Shavers said. "They're a very fast team, fast defense, that's built to stop the spread."
The Heart of Dallas Bowl loss officially marks the start of the Darrell Hazell coaching era at Purdue. Purdue fired Danny Hope at the end of the regular season and named Higgins the interim head coach for the bowl game before in December hiring Hazell from Kent State.
Both Marve and Higgins said they would have preferred a more competitive outcome to their bowl season but enjoyed the opportunity to go out with bowl game.
"I've never been on a team that's had more off the field distractions and just craziness going on and ups and downs," Marve said. "For the team to make it to a bowl game it's exciting. We obviously didn't show up today."