The bowls are done and champions have been crowned. The Florida State Seminoles beat the Auburn Tigers to become the final BCS National Champions. The BCS was saving the best for last. Besides the championship, all 4 BCS games were upsets. The other 30 bowls were pretty good too. Some were blowouts, but some were extremely interesting. This was a great way to end the 2013-14 college football season.
How I Fared: I was 20-15 in bowl games, bringing my final grand total to 83-52.
-Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State 48 Washington State 45; What a way to start the bowl season! The Cougars from Washington State had complete control of the game until the 4th quarter. Their biggest lead came near the end of the 2nd quarter after QB Connor Halliday connected with Rickey Galvin to go up 35-13. After that, Colorado State outscored Washington State 35-10. The last 15 points were scored during the last 2:52 of the game. Colorado State was able to take advantage of two WSU fumbles inside the WSU 35. Halliday put up amazing numbers in this loss, going 37/58 for 410 yards and 6TDs. But, while the passing attack was great, the ground game was awful. WSU only netted -10 rushing yards in this game. CSU QB Garrett Grayson was 31/50 for 369 yards and 2TDs. Kapri Bibbs rushed for 169 yards and 3 scores. Kicker Jared Roberts was perfect on the night, making 4 FGs, including the game winner as time expired. CSU’s win was the first MWC win over the Pac-12 this season, and it came in an exciting fashion. My prediction looked great until 3 minutes left, and I unfortunately stared the bowl season 0-1.
-Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: 25USC 45 20Fresno State 20; I guess I was a little off in my prediction of this game. This one was never close. USC QB Cody Kessler was able to pick apart the Fresno State defense, throwing TDs of 10, 17, and two for 40 yards. He also threw a pick 6 in the 4th to bring the Bulldogs within 18. Fresno QB Derek Carr, on the other hand, did not have as much luck. He was 29/54 for 216 yards, 2TD and an INT. This explosive Fresno offense was held to 253 yards while allowing 499. USC had the ball for 41:27, meaning the Bulldog offense was only on the field for 18:33. Another category USC led was penalty yards. The Trojans ended up with 101 penalty yards in this game. USC outplayed Fresno State on almost every level. The Trojans were able to get past their coaching issues and make a statement in this bowl game.
-Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: San Diego State 49 Buffalo 24; I picked the winner but was a little off on the point difference. The Aztecs won by a little bit more than a TD. The dynamic duo of QB Quinn Kaehler and RB Adam Muema were more than the Buffalo defense could handle. Kaehler was 15/28 for 211 yards and 2TDs and rushed for a TD. Muema rushed for 229 yards and 3 scored for SDSU. After 3 quarters of play, SDSU was up 42-10 and the game was out of reach for the Bulls. Like USC, the Aztecs were able to overcome more than 100 penalty yards in their big win. Buffalo QB Joe Licata was 13/30 for 196 yards, 3TD and an INT. He was helped out by RB Branden Oliver, who gained 114 yards on the ground and also caught a TD. After their first three bowl game, the MWC is 2-1 and 1-1 vs the Pac-12.
-R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana-Lafayette 24 Tulane 21; ULL almost let me down. Almost. After going up 21-0 early in the 2nd quarter, the Ragin’ Cajuns allowed RB Orleans Darkwa to rush for 3TDs and tie the game. This game came down to the kickers. Lucky for me, ULL had the better kicker that night. Hunter Stover hit a 27-yard FG with 9:56 left to take the lead. This would prove to be the winning FG because neither team was able to score again. Tulane kicker Cairo Santos was wide right on a 48-yard attempt with 13 seconds left on the clock. ULL’s 3TDs came from 2 rush TDs by Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris and a 82-yard pick 6 by Corey Trim. Tulane made a great comeback, but just couldn’t finish it in the end.
-Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl: East Carolina 37 Ohio 20; This game was close until the 4th quarter. Early in the 4th, Ohio went up 20-17 on ECU, but the Pirates answered with 3TDs. ECU QB Shane Carden was 29/45 for 273 yards and a TD to Cam Worthy, who also threw a TD pass to Carden. Vintavious Cooper had 198 rush yards and two scores and Breon Allen had a rush TD as well. On the other side, Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton did not have a great day. He was 21/40 for 228 yards, a TD to Daz’mond Patterson and 3INT. Derrius Vick was 3/3 for 100 yards and an 80-yard TD to Donte Foster. One of the biggest reasons ECU won was their rush attack. The Pirates outgained the Bobcats 281 to 107 in rush yards. That and Tettleton’s 3INTs made this win easier for ECU.
-Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Oregon State 38 Boise State 23; This game was defined by Boise State mistakes. They started a comeback, but it was too little too late. The Bronco’s only scored 6 points through 2 and a half quarters then fired off 17 unanswered. That’s great, but unfortunately, they were down 32. Early in the 4th quarter Boise State had 4th and 1 on the ORST10, but turned the ball over on downs. The Broncos were 1-3 on 4th downs in this game. Oregon State’s Rashaad Reynolds was able to capitalize on two BSU fumbles, scoring two TDs. QB Sean Mannion was 24/33 for 259 yards, a TD to Brandin Cooks and an INT. Storm Woods and Terron Ward each rushed for a TD. For the Broncos, QB Grant Hedrick was 32/44 for 382 yards and a TD to Matt Miller, who had 206 receiving yards. Jay Ajayi rushed for a TD and kicker Dan Goodale was 3/3 on FG for BSU.
-Little Caesers Pizza Bowl: Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27; Another bowl game that came down to the end. These two went into the 4th quarter all tied up at 20 points. Each team made it to the end zone and Pittsburgh’s kicker, Chris Blewitt (in my opinion, the worst possible name for a kicker), hit a 39-yard FG with 1:17 left to put the pressure on BGSU. Unfortunately for the Falcons, they did not do well under pressure. They got to their own 31 yard line, then a holding penalty and 2 sacks gave them 4th and 40 from their own 1 yard line with 31 seconds left. The lateral play didn’t work, meaning all Pitt had to do was take a knee to win. Pitt had to use two QBs in this game because starter Tom Savage didn’t come back after halftime due to a rib injury. He was 8/13 for 124 yards. His backup, Chad Voytik was 5/9 for 108 yards as well as a rushing TD. RB James Connor had 229 rushing yards and a TD and Tyler Boyd ended up with 173 receiving yards and a 54-yard punt return TD. Connor broke Dorsett’s record for rush yards by a Pitt player in a bowl and Boyd broke Gordon Jones’ record for most receiving yards in a bowl. Boyd also broke Larry Fitzgerald’s for receiving yards by a freshman at Pitt. Bowling Green’s QB Matt Johnson was 20/32 for 272 yards and 2TDs, one to Alex Bayer and the other to Ryan Burbrink. BooBoo Gates had a 94-yard kickoff return TD to open the second half. Pitt outgained Bowling Green in yards 487-289 and 255-10 in rushing yards. It is amazing that the game was so close based on these stats. This was a good game to watch.
-San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Utah State 21 Northern Illinois 14; I am say to say I was right in my pick in this game. I wanted Northern Illinois to win and have Jordan Lynch go out on a high note. Lynch’s last two games were not his best. He didn’t get too much help from the rest of his team though. After seeing how well Utah State’s played against Fresno State and how bad NIU’s offense played against Bowling Green, I figured the Aggies would have the advantage in the game. I said that NIU would need Lynch to limit turnovers and have a strong rushing game. He had a fumble and an INT and, while he did rush for a TD, he only had 39 yards on 18 carries. Lynch did go 20/35 for 216 yards and a TD to Juwan Brescacin. Kicker Matthew Sims was 0/2 on FGs. Lynch carried his team, but it wasn’t enough for the Huskies. Utah State QB Darell Garretson was 17/29 for 121 yards, a TD to Brandon Swindall, and 2INT. Joey DeMartino had 143 rushing yards and a TD. Kicker Nick Diaz was 2/2 on FGs. After coming within 7 with 1:44 left, NIU attempted and on-side kick, but was unable to recover it, sealing the Aggies’ win.
-Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: Marshall 31 Maryland 20; I was on a plane when this game was on. Luckily, the plane had wifi, but not enough bandwidth to watch the game. I did keep up with the gamecast though. The reason I picked Marshall was because of how they played against Rice. QB Rakeem Cato was extremely emotional in that loss and I figured he would get the team ready for this game. (I also picked Marshall because I didn’t think Maryland had that great a team.) Cato stepped up in this game. He was 28/44 for 337 yards and 3TDs. Two of those went to Gator Hoskins and the other went to Tommy Shuler. Essray Taliaferro ran for Marshall’s other TD. Maryland QB CJ Brown ws 14/24 for 197 yards, 2TD and an INT. Lavern Jacobs and Dave Stinebaugh each caught a TD. Kicker Brad Craddock was 2/2 on FGs for Maryland’s other 6 points. This game was close until the 4th quarter where Marshall scored the last 14 points. I was not surprised by the outcome of this bowl, but it was an interesting game and I’m sorry I missed it.
-Texas Bowl: Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17; First of all, that Hail Mary hit the receiver in the numbers, in the numbers. Now, I don’t claim that I could have done it or that it is easy. But if you are playing Big 10 football, you should be making that catch. Second of all (even though this happened first), don’t celebrate until after you win, not before, even if you go up. If there is time left on the clock, the game is not over and you haven’t won. Ok, now that I’ve said those things, let’s get to the game. Syracuse took a 14-3 lead into the 4th quarter, but Minnesota took the lead in the first 2 and a half minutes of the quarter. Minnesota got the ball off a Syracuse missed FG, but couldn’t capitalize on it. On the ensuing punt, Brisley Estime returned it 70 yards to the Minnesota 14 where SYR QB Terrel Hunt ran it in for the go ahead TD. Hunt rushed for another TD and was 19/29 for 188 yards in the game. Jerome Smith also ran for a TD. While Syracuse’s scores came on the ground, Minnesota’s came through the air. QB Mitch Leidner was 11/22 for 205 yards and 2TDs, one to Maxx Williams and the other to Drew Wolitarsky (who didn’t catch the Hail Mary). Overall, this was a pretty good game, even if it didn’t end the way I wanted it to.
-Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington 31 BYU 16; I expected this outcome, but the stats are a little confusing. With the score, I expected Washington to have outgained BYU in almost every category. That was not the case. BYU had 9 more first downs, outgained Washington 473-319 in total yards and 293-129 in passing yards. But, BYU scored 3 FGs and a TD while Washington had 4 TDs and a FG, and that makes it difficult to win. Washington QB Keith Price was 17/22 for 123 yards, a TD tp Austin Seferian-Jenkins and an INT. Bishop Sankey had two rushing TDs in the game and John Ross ran back a kick 100 yards for a TD. BYU QB Taysom Hill was 25/48 for 293 yards and an INT along with 133 yards and a TD on the ground. Kicker Justin Sorensen was 3/4 on FGs on the night. Fun Fact: This was the first game in Football Bowl Subdivision history with two female officials. Sarah Thomas was the line judge and Maia Chaka was the head linesman. Each worked in C-USA this season.
-New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame 29 Rutgers 16; I can’t tell if Notre Dame was overrated or if they underestimated Rutgers. It was probably both. While the first half went back and forth and ended with a tie at 13, Notre Dame made the adjustments needed at the half, out scoring the Scarlet Knights 16-6. Quarterback problems continued to haunt Rutgers. Chas Dodd started in place of Gary Nova who was benched later in the season. He was 10/28 for 156 yards, a TD to Brandon Coleman and 3INT. Justin Goodwin also threw an INT at the ND1. Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees was 17/47 for 319 yards and got help from Tarean Folston and TJ Jones who each rushed for TDs. This game came down to a battle of the Kicking Kyles. Notre Dame’s Kyle Brindza was 5/6 and Rutgers’ Kyle Federico was 3/3 on FGs. Rutgers’ defense kept them in this game, while their offense kept them out of it. They forced the Irish to attempt 6 FGs even though they allowed 494 total yards. I wouldn’t call this game “exciting” but I do like to see teams exceed expectations, and that is exactly what Rutgers did.
-Belk Bowl: North Carolina 39 Cincinnati 17; North Carolina played like I expected them to, but Cincinnati did not. The Bearcats were not able to stop North Carolina. The Tar Heels won this game with two huge special team’s plays. TJ Logan had a 78-yard kickoff return TD and Ryan Switzer had an 86-yard punt return TD. UNC QB Marquise Williams was 19/33 for 171 yards and a TD to Jack Tabb. Romar Morris also had two rush TDs for North Carolina. Cincinnati QB Brendon Kay was 15/35 for 181 yards and an INT. Ralph Abernathy and Shaq Washington each rushed for a TD. This was not a very competitive game, North Carolina came out strong and didn’t let up.
-Russell Athletic Bowl: 18Louisville 36 Miami(FL) 9; To quote myself from all season long, “Miami is overrated.” Miami held Louisville to 3 straight FGs in the beginning of the game, but then the Cardinals ran, well passed, away with it. QB Teddy Bridgewater played like we all thought he would. He was 35/45 for 447 yards, 3TDs and a rush TD. The 3 scores through the air went to DeVante Parker, Michaelee Harris and Senorise Perry. Miami QB Stephen Morris was 12/27 for 160 yards. The Hurricane TD came from Gus Edwards. The Cardinals outgained Miami 554-174 in total yards and had possession for almost 20 more minutes. Miami did not convert a single 3rd down in this game. This was a blowout by the Cardinals and it helped Bridgewater’s draft stock as well.
-Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: Kansas State 31 Michigan 14; In all honesty, I don’t think Michigan could have won if their starting QB was healthy. This ends a very mediocre year for the Wolverines. It wasn’t a great year for Kansas State either, but they came a long way from their loss to North Dakota State in the beginning of the season. In this game, the winning combination for the Wildcats was Jake Waters to Tyler Lockett. The two connected for 3TDs. John Hubert also ran for a TD. For Michigan, freshman QB Shane Morris went 24/38 for 196 yards and an INT. The Wolverine’s only TD came from a 3-yard rush TD by Fitzgerald Toussaint. Matt Wile kicked two FGs for Michigan as well. Kansas State had 420 total yards to Michigan’s 261. This was not the most exciting game, and I think it would have been much better if Devin Gardner had been healthy and able to play.
-Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Navy 24 Middle Tennessee 6; Breaking News! Navy ran all over Middle Tennessee… the way they ran on everyone else. So it’s not-so-breaking news. The Midshipmen ran for 366 yards and passed for 19. QB Keenan Reynolds ran for 2TDs and DeBrandon Sanders rushed for the other. Blue Raiders’ QB Logan Kilgore was 19/33 for 218 yards and 2INTs. Kicker Cody Clark had all 6 points for MTU on 2FGs. Navy held only a 4 point lead going into the half, but scored two TDs in the 4th quarter to secure their win. Navy’s defense did a lot better than I thought they would, holding MTU to just 91 rush yards. I figured that Navy would be able to run to their hearts content, and they did. This was an interesting game.
-Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17; Ole Miss seemed to be in control of this game going into the 4th quarter. The Rebels were up 23-7 but Georgia Tech began to mount a comeback, scoring 10 unanswered points to come within 6 points, but couldn’t get back into the end zone. Bo Wallace was once again the leader of this Ole Miss team. He was 22/32 for 256 yards, a TD, an INT and 2 rush TDs. His passing TD went to Donte Moncrief (who else would it go to?). Ole Miss kicker Andrew Ritter was 1/3 on FGs. Yellow Jacket QB Vad Lee was 5/17 for 147 yards, a TD to Darren Waller and an INT. Robert Godhigh ran for a TD. Overall, the Ole Miss defense was able to keep GT’s run game in check, and that is the reason they were able to win this game.
-Valero Alamo Bowl: 10Oregon 30 Texas 7; The real news in this game had nothing to do with the actual game. This was Mack Brown’s last game as Texas’s head football coach. His 16 years at Texas brought Texas back to the national spotlight. He took them to two BCS National Championship games, beating USC in 2005-06 and losing to Alabama in 2009-10. Since then, Texas has gone downhill. This game showed that. Oregon QB Marcus Mariota played a great game. He was 18/26 for 253 yards and a TD to Josh Huff. He also ran for 133 yards. But the real scoring came from the Oregon defense. Avery Patterson and Derrick Malone each picked off Case McCoy and scored TDs. Texas’s defense did pretty well too. Yes, even though they allowed 30 points, they did force Oregon to attempt 4FGs, 3 of which were made. Case McCoy was only 8/17 for 48 yards, his two pick sixes were for 75 yards. He did rush for Texas’s only score. But as I said in the beginning, this was less about the game and more about Mack Brown. He will be succeeded by former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong.
-National University Holiday Bowl: Texas Tech 37 14Arizona State 23; This was not supposed to happen. Arizona State was a 17-point favorite in this game. I think the main reason for the Sun Devil loss was the lack of RB Marion Grice. The hero for the Red Raiders was freshman QB Davis Webb. He was 28/41 for 403 yards and 4TDs. Two went to Jakeem Grant, one to Bradley Marquez and the other went to Rodney Hall. Midway through the 2nd quarter ASU’s DJ Foster broke a 20-yard TD run and QB Taylor Kelly took an ASU fumble 44 yards for a TD in the beginning of the 3rd to bring the Sun Devils within 7. But then TTU’s Reginald Davis ran back a kickoff 90 yards for a TD to stop Arizona State’s momentum. After that, each team put a FG on the board, securing Texas Tech’s upset. Kelly’s passing stats were not that impressive, but he ran for 135 yards and a score. ASU kicker Zane Gonzalez was 3/4 on the night. This was an exciting game, especially from the middle of the 2nd to the middle of the 3rd. Had Marion Grice been playing, I think there would have been a different outcome.
-AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona 42 Boston College 19; So I was slightly (very) off when picking this game. Andre Williams was kept in check while Ka’Deem Carey was not. Boston College was never close in this game. Boston College just couldn’t stop Arizona. Wildcat QB BJ Denker was 17/24 for 275 yards and 2TDs to Trey Griffey. Denker also ran for 2TDs. Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 169 yards and 2 scores. Willam Parks had a pick 6 for the Wildcats as well. BC QB Chase Rettig was 16/26 for 191 yards and 2INTs. Andre Williams was held to just 75 yards and TD and Tyler Rouse also rushed for a TD. This game was supposed to be much better, but it turned out to be unexciting. I guess it was exciting if you are an Arizona fan, but that is probably the only group who thought so.
-Hyundai Sun Bowl: 17UCLA 42 Virginia Tech 12; Another blowout for us on New Year’s Eve. Though, this one didn’t start out that way. Going into the 4th quarter, UCLA was only up 14-10. That changed quickly. Paul Perkins ran for a TD then Myles Jack had a pick six, then Brett Hundley threw a pair a TDs; one to Thomas Duarte and the other to Shaquelle Evans. In total, Hundley was16/27 for 226 yards and 2TDs along with 161 rush yards and 2TDs. On the other side, VT’s QB Mark Leal was 12/25 for 130 yards and 2INTs. JC Coleman scored the lone TD for the Hokies. VT QB Logan Thomas left the game in the 2nd quarter after taking a big hit and he did not return. There is really not too much to say about this game except that UCLA took over in the 4th. Though it was close in the beginning, once UCLA woke up, Virginia Tech didn’t have a chance.
-AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Mississippi State 44 Rice 7; The third installment of New Year’s Eve was another blowout. Rice scored on Charles Ross’s rush TD halfway through the 1st quarter, putting the Owls up 7-0. That would be the end of their scoring. Dak Prescott was the workhorse for the Bulldogs, going 17/28 for 283 yards and 3TDs as well as rushing for two scores. LaDarius Perkins, Malcolm Johnson and Artimas Samuel caught TD passes. Ashton Shumpert also ran for a TD. Although he did not score any points, WR Jameon Lewis had 220 receiving yards in this game. MSST outgained Rice 533-145 in total yards. Like the UCLA VT game, there isn’t much to say except that Mississippi State ran all over Rice. This one wasn’t even a game.
-Chick-fil-A Bowl: 21Texas A&M 52 25Duke 48; Now THIS was how to send off 2013. Duke controlled the first half of this game. That might even be an understatement. The teams went into the half with Duke up 38-17 after scoring 24 in the second quarter. But the Aggies outscored the Blue Devils 35-10 in the second half. This game showed us why Johnny Manziel is a Heisman winning QB. He was 30/38 for 382 yards and 4TDs and he also ran for a TD. His main TD target was Travis Labhart who caught 3. The other went to Derel Walker. Tra Carson ran for a TD as well. While all of these scores where necessary to keep Texas A&M in the game, the biggest TD came with 3:33 left in the game. Tony Hurd Jr. picked of Anthony Boone and ran it back 55 yards for the score to give A&M the lead. Duke played a great game as well. QB Anthony Boone was 29/45 for 427 yards, 3TDs, 2INTs and a rushing TD. Jamison Crowder and David Reeves caught TDs and Josh Snead caught and ran for a TD. Brandon Connette also ran for a TD for the Blue Devils. This game brought us fireworks a little early. 16 minutes before 2014, the clock hit all zeroes in the Georgia Dome, and Texas A&M was crowned the winner of 2013’s final college football game.
-TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Nebraska 24 22Georgia 19; This is not the way Georgia wanted to kick off 2014. Exciting is not the word I would use for this game, at least not until the second half. There were 5 field goals in the 2nd quarter. The QBs came alive in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. was 6/14 for 163 yards, 2TDs and an INT. Both of the TDs went to Quincy Enunwa, but the second was the one that secured the game for the Huskers. On 3rd and 14 from their own 1-yard line, Armstrong hit Enunwa for a 99 yard TD pass. Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah also ran for a TD. For the Bulldogs, QB Hunter Mason was 21/39 for 320 yards, a TD to Todd Gurley and an INT. UGA kicker Marshall Morgan was 4/4 on FGs in this game. Georgia needed a rush game to beat Nebraska, and they were unable to provide one, leading to their loss.
-Heart of Dallas Bowl: North Texas 36 UNLV 14; So, UNLV couldn’t get a win in this game, but getting to the bowl was a win in itself. This was one of 3 games they didn’t show on the cruise ship I was on. Of course. And the wireless was not good enough to stream the game online. From what I can see, it looks like North Texas’s defense was just a lot better than UNLV’s. The Rebels led or were tied with UNT the entire first half. As the game went on, UNLV must have gotten worn down. The biggest surprise of this game to me was UNLV’s lack of rushing. QB Caleb Herring and RB Tim Cornett combined for only 66 yards on the ground, and that was all the rushing there was. Also, go-to receiver Devante Davis did not have any TDs and neither did Maika Mataele, but to Marcus Sullivan and Jerry Rice Jr. Caleb Herring was 22/41 for 196 yards, 2TDs and an INT. The defense allowed almost 400 total yards. North Texas QB Derek Thompson was 21/30 for 256 yards and 2TDs to Drew Miller and Darnell Smith. Brelan Chancellor rushed for 2TDs and Antoinne Jimmerson rushed for a TD as well. I am very proud of my hometown Rebels. I know a few people who think UNLV should get rid of the football program or think that Bobby Hauck should have been fired, so I am glad to see the success I have been telling people to expect from this team. I can’t wait for that new stadium. U-N-L-V! Go Fight Win!
-Capital One Bowl: 9South Carolina 34 19Wisconsin 24; The second SEC vs Big 10 game of the day favored the SEC. This game was much more competitive than other bowl games this season. Wisconsin took a 1-point lead into halftime at kicked a FG in the 3rd to get their greatest lead of the game. After that, the Gamecocks outscored the Badgers 21-7 to win the Capital One Bowl. This game was very quarterback oriented. Wisconsin’s Joel Stave and Curt Phillips combined for 3INTs. Stave did throw two TDs, but he had to leave the game because of a shoulder injury. South Carolina’s Connor Shaw, on the other hand. Was responsible for all 5TDs in this game. He was a near perfect 22/25 for 312 yards and 3TDs along with rushing for a TD and receiving one from Bruce Ellington, who caught 2TDs as well. Jerell Adams caught the other TD. Jeff Duckworth and Sam Arneson caught TDs for Wisconsin and Kenzel Doe returned a kickoff 91 yards for a TD to cut the lead to 3, but it would not be enough. The Badgers turned it over on their last 3 drives and were 1-4 on 4th down in the game. These mistakes coupled with Connor Shaw’s great game lead to a South Carolina win.
-Outback Bowl: 16LSU 21 Iowa 14; The third installment of SEC vs Big Ten was closer than it should have been. Even though LSU was playing without star QB Zach Mettenberger (torn ACL against Arkansas), freshman QB Anthony Jennings proved himself in the Arkansas game. I expected much more from him in this game. He almost had more yards on one drive against the Hogs as he did this whole game. Jennings was only 7/19 for 82 yards and an INT along with rushing for a TD. The workhorse for the Tigers was Jeremy Hill, who rushed for 216 yards and 2 scores. Iowa QB Jake Rudock was 9/22 for 102 yards and an INT with CJ Beathard was 4/7 for 55 yards, a TD to Kevonte Martin-Manley and an INT. Mark Weisman’s 2-yard rush TD was set up by John Lowdermilk’s pick, but he should have had a pick six. He dropped the ball before going into the end zone. With two minutes to go, LSU went up 21-7, but Iowa made it interesting by returning the kick to the LSU 4 then scoring two plays later, making it a one-score game. LSU recovered the on-side kick, securing the game for LSU.
-AT&T Cotton Bowl: 8Missouri 41 13Oklahoma State 31; Another of the 3 games they didn’t show on the cruise ship. And another game I really wanted to see. This one got good in the 4th quarter. This game brought together a pair of old Big 12 foes. In Missouri’s second year in the SEC, they won the east and got to play in the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma’s trip to Dallas was a let down after losing to Oklahoma in a Bedlam game for the ages. Mizzou went up 17-14 near the end of the 3rd quarter, and it seemed that the game would be much lower scoring than predicted. These two teams did not disappoint. Each team scored more in the 4th quarter than they had in the previous 3. The Missouri defense did a much better job stopping the rush in this game, allowing just 171 yards on the ground after giving up 545 to Auburn. QB James Franklin didn’t have the game I was expecting. He was 15/40 for 174 yards and an INT. Backup Maty Mauk was 2/4 for 32 yards and a TD to Marcus Lucas. After being silent in the SEC Championship game, RB Henry Josey ran for 3TDs in this contest. Shane Ray secured the victory with a 73-yard fumble return TD with 55 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Oklahoma State QB Clint Chelf did about what I expected, going 33/57 for 377 yards, 2TDs to Josh Stewart and Jhajuan Seales, 2INT and a rushing TD. Desmond Roland also rushed for a score to take a 31-27 lead with 5:04 left. Oklahoma State made it hard on themselves by accumulating 100 penalty yards and 10 penalties. I really wish I had had the chance to see this game. Looked like a good one.
-BBVA Compass Bowl: Vanderbilt 41 Houston 24; I underestimated this Vanderbilt team, or maybe overestimated Houston. Vanderbilt came out of the gate on a mission to win, scoring 24 unanswered and taking that lead into the half. The Houston coaches must have given some kind of halftime speech, because the Cougars scored 24 unanswered in the 3rd to tie the game going into the 4th quarter. But Vandy got the message and shut out Houston in the 4th quarter while scoring 17 more. Vanderbilt QB Patton Robinette was 6/19 for 154 yards, 2 50-yard TDs to Jordan Matthews, 2INT and rushed for a TD. Jerron Seymour and Brian Kimbrow each rushed for a score as well. Houston QB John O’Korn was 20/47 for 228 yards, 2TD and 2INT. The TDs went to Markeith Ambles and Deontay Greenberry. Kenneth Farrow also ran for a TD for the Cougars. Neither of these teams had success on 3rd down. Vanderbilt was 2-17 and Houston was 1-17. This was Vanderbilt’s 3rd consecutive bowl and their second consecutive win.
-GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State 23 Ball State 20; Here is a quote from my preview of this game, “I think this will come down to a miracle play by ASU.” There are a couple plays you could consider “miracles” for Arkansas State in this game. The 13-yard TD with 32 seconds left and the blocked Ball State FG are the top two. The main QB the Red Wolves used was Fredi Knighten who was 15/20 for 115 yards, the game winning TD to Allen Muse and an INT. Sirgregory Thornton rushed for a TD for ASU as well. Kicker Brian Davis was 3/4 on FGs on the night. For the Cardinals, QB Keith Wenning was 23/44 for 215 yards, a TD to Willie Snead and an INT. Jahwan Edwards rushed for a TD and kicker Scott Secor was 2/3 on FGs, the missed one was blocked as time expired. This game went back and forth. The score was tied at 10 at the half, ASU then scored 6 in the 3rd, Ball State scored 10 unanswered and were in the drivers seat with a 4-point lead with 1:33 left, and they had the chance to take it to OT as time expired, but the FG was blocked and Arkansas State won. The Red Wolves had a couple one-and-done coaches recently, but they have hired Blake Anderson from North Carolina, and his buyout is substantial to encourage a longer stay. This was a great game to watch. It was exciting and kept you on the edge of your seat, at least it kept me on the edge of my seat.
-Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO: 4Michigan State 24 5Stanford 20; BCS Upset #1. This game marks the beginning of the end for the BCS. The 100th Rose Bowl game did not disappoint (unless you were rooting for Stanford, sorry Ian). The Cardinal started the game with 10 unanswered, and it looked as if it wouldn’t be the game we all expected. But Michigan State scored 2TDs in the 2nd quarter (a Jeremy Langford run and a TD pass to Trevon Pendleton) and Stanford’s Kevin Anderson had a pick 6, and the teams went into the half with Stanford up 17-14. The only score from either team in the 3rd was a FG by MSU’s Michael Geiger to tie the game. Early in the 4th, Tony Lippett caught a 25-yard TD pass from Connor Cook to give Michigan State their first lead of the game. Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson hit a 39-yard FG with a little more than 4 minutes to play, but that was the end of the scoring for both teams. The difference in this game was MSU QB Connor Cook. He was 22/36 for 332 yards, 2TDs and an INT. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan was 10/18 for 143 yards and an INT. The only offensive TD scored by the Cardinal came on a rush by Tyler Gaffney. I think one of the biggest reasons MSU was able to win was that they didn’t let Ty Montgomery break a big return like he is known for. This was a great start to the sendoff of the BCS.
-Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: 15UCF 52 6Baylor 42; BCS Upset #2. I would like to personally apologize to UCF for the things I said in my preview. Blake Bortles especially. The UCF QB was 20/31 for 301 yards, 3TDs, 2INT and a rushing TD. 2TDs went to Rannell Hall and the other went to Breshad Perriman. The other 3 UCF TDs came from Storm Johnson, and if you have been following college football this season, this is no surprise to you. Now, Blake Bortles was great, but so was Baylor QB Bryce Petty. He was 30/47 for 356 yards, a TD each to Levi Norwood and Clay Fuller, an INT and 3 rush TDs. Glasco Martin ran for a TD for the Bears as well. UCF started the game with a 14-0 run, but Baylor scored two unanswered TDs and opted to go for two on the second and failed, putting them down 14-13. Going into the half, UCF had a 28-20 lead. About 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter, Bryce Petty ran for a TD and two-point conversion to tie the game at 28. After that, UCF outscored Baylor 24-14 and was unable to recover the on-side kick with 1:15 to go. This was the BCS debut for both of these teams, and they made it a good one.
-Allstate Sugar Bowl: 11Oklahoma 45 3Alabama 31; BCS Upset #3. Alabama was outplayed by Oklahoma. It was hard to watch as an SEC fan. But, I can’t be angry at Oklahoma for winning. Alabama was clearly still down from the Iron Bowl. They thought they should have been playing for the National Championship, and were not mentally there for this game. AJ McCarron had a very un-McCarron like game, going 19/30 for 387 yards, 2TDs and 2INT. DeAndrew White caught a TD, Derrick Henry caught a TD and rushed for one. TJ Yeldon had a rush TD, but was held to just 72 yards on 17 carries. Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight had a great game, going 32/44 for 348 yards, 4TDs and an INT. Jalen Saunders had 2 receiving TDs, Lacoltan Bester had one and Sterling Shepard had both receiving and rushing TDs. Geno Grissom returned an AJ McCarron fumble for a TD late in the 4th quarter to cement their big win over this storied Alabama team.
-Discover Orange Bowl: 12Clemson 40 7Ohio State 35; BCS Upset #4. Yes. All four regular BCS games were upsets. That is impressive. And exciting and makes for a great postseason. This is the third game they didn’t show on the cruise. And we were almost back to Ft. Lauderdale. This game was played in Miami, less than an hour away from Ft. Lauderdale. And it was a BCS game. And they showed an NBA game instead. Now that that is out of my system, lets get to an exciting Orange Bowl game. Co-MVPs of this game would have to be Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins from Clemson. Boyd was 31/40 for 378 yards, 5TDs, 2INTs and 127 rush yards and a TD. Sammy Watkins had 227 receiving yards and 2TDs. Martavis Bryant caught 2TDs and Stanton Seckinger caught the game winning TD. Ohio State’s dynamic duo of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde had a part in all of Ohio State’s TDs. Miller was 16/24 for 234 yards, 2TDs, 2INTs and 2 rush TDs. Carlos Hyde had 113 rush yards and a TD and caught a TD and the other TD was caught by Jeff Heuerman. Ohio State had two possessions down only 5 points. Both ended in turnovers. A sack and fumble and an INT. Clemson was able to overcome 144 penalty yards in this game, but they outgained Ohio State 576-427 in total yards. This seemed to be a pretty exciting game. It would have been nice to see it…
-VIZIO BCS National Championship: 1Florida State 34 2Auburn 31; The season did not end up with 5 BCS upsets. Despite 3 great quarters, Auburn was unable to hold off the Seminoles in the quarter no one thought FSU knew how to play. Now, as I have said many times, I am an SEC fan, and a big one. I also find watching football more fun if you are rooting for a team because it makes it easier to stay focused on the game. That’s why I like to do Bowl Mania on ESPN.com. I was all in on the Tigers. I was jumping up and down, high-fiving my dad every time Auburn scored, and was quiet and slightly angry when Florida State scored. But how could anyone be angry at the final BCS Championship game? That was one of the best games I can remember, and before you comment about the USC vs Texas game, I was not yet into college football the way I am now then, so I don’t remember that one. It is on my list of things to watch though. Famous Jameis lived up to the hype in the 4th quarter. He was 20/35 for 237 yards and 2TDs. One to Chad Abram and the game winner to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left. Devonta Freeman rushed for a TD at the end of the 1st half to change the momentum. Besides the winning TD, the biggest play of the game was Levonte Whitfield’s 100-yard kickoff return TD to give the Seminoles their first lead since 3 minutes to play in the 1st quarter. Auburn QB Nick Marshall had another good game, going 14/27 for 217 yards, 2TDs, an INT and a rush TD. Melvin Ray caught a TD and Tre Mason caught the other as well as rushing for 195 yards and a TD. Kicker Cody Parkey was 1/2 on FG, and I take partial responsibility for that because when he missed in the 2nd quarter I said, “I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt them.” (The only time I am superstitious is when it comes to sports or weather.) So, sorry about that Auburn. But, like I said, the Auburn defense played great for 3 quarters, holding one of the best offenses in the history of college football to just 13 points. In the fourth, though, they allowed 21. This will be one of those games we will still be talking about 10, 20+ years from now. There are a couple interesting tidbits I’d like to point out before I finish up: Florida State gave Auburn a taste of their own medicine with their 100-yard kickoff return TD and last second TD pass. Somewhere Alabama and Georgia were yelling at the TV saying, “IT DOESN’T FEEL SO GREAT DOES IT?!” Ok, maybe they didn’t do that, but I’d like to think they did, because it’s what I would do. And a final comment about Florida State: They were the first BCS National Championship losers on January 4, 1998 to Tennessee and they are the final BCS National Champions.
Stats and Scores from ESPN.com