Daily Blog • Wednesday, January 11th


Bowl News and Notes Part 3

SUGAR BOWL Michigan 23 Virginia Tech 20 OT - VT had 377-184 yd and 22-12 FD edges and settled for 4 FG’s in regulation by 3rd string K Justin Myer as VT was without their top 2 K’s. UM was extremely fortunate to escape with the win as VT dominated the first 24:00 but were SOD on 4&1 from the UM4 with 6:51 left in the half which was one of the key plays for UM. VT went on 3 long drives in the 1H going 44/12pl, 46/12pl and 70/9pl. Meanwhile in that span UM was int’d and punted. Unfortunately for VT they settled for 37 and 43 yd FG’s. VT’s D forced another punt but roughing the P gave UM a FD and later on 3&17 UM threw it up. VT’s DB went for the ball, wiped out another VT DB while doing so and Hemingway caught it and went 45 yds for a TD and a 7-6 lead (:49 2Q). VT then fmbl’d the KO and UM settled for a FG and appeared to be stopped when their holder mishandled the snap and threw it up for grabs in a cluster of 3 VT defenders. The ball bounced off the 3 VT defenders, was caught by an OL for a FD and UM was awarded 3 more pts 2pl later and led 10-6 at the half. UM went 35/3pl after a TO for a TD to lead 17-6 (9:43). VT went on a 40/9pl drive settling for a 36 yd FG and then went on a 16pl drive for a TD to tie (10:22). VT, whose D had held UM all day, unfortunately went for a fake punt at midfield and was SOD leaving UM at the VT45 (7:21) and in scoring range and UM took advantage with a 39 yd FG. VT tied it with :02 left at the end of an 83/11pl drive. In OT VT got a TD but surprisingly it was overturned as it was not clearly an incompletion and many speculated it was a TD. VT then missed a 37 yd FG and UM got a 37 yd FG 4pl later for a fortuitous win.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL South Carolina 30 Nebraska 13 - Steve Spurrier was trying to break a string of 3 straight bowl losses and the one common denominator in those bowl losses was TO’s by Stephen Garcia. Connor Shaw had 0 int’s and SC had 0 TO’s and SC got what Spurrier wanted and that was an 11th win, the most in school history. Shaw appeared very careful throwing the ball, sometimes holding on to it much longer than expected and would hit 11-17-230 and rush for 42. Alshon Jeffery had a big game with 148 yds on 4 rec’s despite getting ejected from the game late 3Q when he and CB Dennard got into a shoving contest. SC finished with a 351-253 yd edge and surprisingly SC’s leading RB, Brandon Wilds did not have a rush attempt as Kenny Miles rushed 15x for 67 yds. A couple of key plays went SC’s way in the 1H as they blk’d an xp and ret’d it for 2 and instead of trailing 7-0 it was 6-2 (11:58 1Q) and while SC blew a key scoring opportunity having a 1st & gl and settling for a 20 yd FG and then missing it, they took over with :38 left in the half. They appeared to mismanage the clock and were down to just :06 at midfield when Shaw launched a Hail Mary pass and Alshon Jeffery caught it for the 51 yd TD to make it 16-13 at the half. SC got a TD with 12:25 left then drove 71/13pl for another TD with 3:05 left to clinch it, 30-13 and took a knee on their final drive.

OUTBACK BOWL Michigan St 33 Georgia 30 3OT - MSU ended a 5 game bowl losing streak picking up their first bowl win since 2001 even though UGA appeared to have this one locked up a couple of times. It was MSU’s 2nd straight 11 win season and UGA opened the year with 2 losses, finished the year with 2 losses with 10 wins in between. UGA dominated the 1H leading 16-0 with 7-2 FD and 206-73 yd edges. In the 1Q, they were SOD on 4&1 at the MSU6 and fmbl’d at the MSU41 but did lead only 2-0 when they got an 80 yd TD pass with 3:06 left 1H to King then a 92 yd PR TD by Boykin with 1:39 left for their 16-0 lead. UGA was int’d and MSU went 48/9pl for a TD and 2 pt conv, 16-8 (7:52). MSU got a 38 yd IR TD with 1:47 left 3Q, 16-14 (2ptng). UGA settled for a 32 yd FG and MSU got a TD with 8:22 left for the lead, 20-19 (2ptng). UGA appeared to ice it when after getting a TD (2pt) with 6:44 left, they got an int at their own 30 with 3:56 left then a FD. UGA had a punt with 1:55 left. Dantonio made a smart challenge on a pass interf call. He wasn’t challenging the PI, he was saying the pass was incomplete which meant after the pen, which gave UGA the FD, the clock was stopped as opposed to running and that would be crucial. MSU got a TD with :14 left capping an 85 yd drive to force OT. UGA appeared to have OT won when they got an int in the first OT and then on 2&8, even though K Walsh had struggled all year, Richt opted to have the QB take a knee in the middle of the field to give Walsh a 42 yd FG straight on. He pushed it right. Each team got a FG in the 2nd OT and after a MSU FG, Walsh’s 47 yd FG was blk’d in the 3rd OT.

GATOR BOWL Florida 24 Ohio St 17 - UF got a 14 yd blk’d punt for a TD and a 99 yd KR TD despite being outFD’d 20-14 and outgained 299-263 and came away with the 7 pt win in a battle of 6-6 teams. OSU fell below .500 for the first time since 1988 losing 7 games for the first time since 1897. UF’s D-line had a season high 6 sacks and was harassing QB Miller on almost every play. UF did lead this one 24-10 settling for a 17 yd FG with 14:09 left. OSU punted with 12:22 left on 4&11, and on 4&5 with 5:02 left from their own 18. OSU drove 88/7pl getting a TD with :57 left but UF rec’d the onside kick.

LIBERTY BOWL Cincinnati 31 Vanderbilt 24 - Zach Collaros did a tremendous job returning from injury just to play vs Vanderbilt after breaking his right ankle Nov 12th. Coach Butch Jones felt it was the best performance of any player in the post season. Collaros’ stats were not overwhelming as he hit just 12-29-80 and did not have his normal mobility with -8 yds rushing. Isaiah Pead rushed for 149. A couple key plays happened. VU had a much better offense with Jordan Rodgers at QB but he struggled in the 1H hitting 4-14-26 and was replaced by Larry Smith in the 2H who hit 8-19-142. VU was up 7-0 as UC had just 3 FD’s on their first 5 poss. They handed off to backup RB Winn who went 69 yds for a TD to start the 2Q to tie it. VU went for it on 4&2 at the UC44 and fired incomplete with just 2:31 left in the half. UC went 56/9pl and got an 8 yd TD pass with :12 left in the half for the first key play, 14-7. Late 3Q VU went 52/8pl for a TD to tie (3:53) and UC would get a 44 yd FG. VU got a 68 yd TD pass to go up 21-17 with 14:03 left and appeared in control but UC got a 90 yd KR TD (13:51). VU punted twice and then was int’d at their own 43 and ret’d 12 yds with 3:15 left. UC went 31/3pl for a TD to ice it, 31-21. VU got a FG with :24 left but UC rec’d the onside kick.

TICKETCITY BOWL Houston 30 Penn St 14 - UH was coached by interim HC Tony Levine. PSU was without starting QB McGloin who got a concussion in a locker room fight prior to the game and there was plenty of coaching indecision going on at PSU with New England’s OC Bill O’Brien rumored to be the new HC. It was PSU’s first bowl without Joe Paterno as the HC since 1962. Case Keenum’s 227 yds passing in the 1Q set the record for passing yds in any quarter in any bowl with Louisville’s Browning Nagle’s 223 vs Alabama the previous record in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. PSU star DL Devon Still was slowed by a turf toe. PSU’s D got better in the 2H and allowed just 2 FG’s. UH finished with a 600-306 yd edge but PSU had 3 shanked punts and some crucial missed opportunities by Bolden and UH came away with a 30-14 win. UH was my most improved team of the year coming into the season and they finished with the most improved record of any team in college football.

CHICK-fil-A BOWL Auburn 43 Virginia 24 - Auburn susp’d RB Michael Dyer and also lost their DC but OC Gus Malzahn despite taking a HC job, stuck around to call plays. Chizik took over the D and Onterio McCalebb rushed for 109 yds and 1 TD. AU started Clint Moseley at QB but after he hit 1-4 passes for 6 yds he injured his ankle and Barrett Trotter played the rest of the game hitting 11-18-175. AU also blk’d 2 punts and rec’d an onside kick. UVA’s top 2 def players (CB Minnifield and LB Greer) DNP due to knee injuries. One year after winning the National Championship Auburn came in 7-5. UVA wore orange helmets for the first time since 1978. AU missed a 44 yd FG and actually trailed 14-7 but led 28-14 when UVA got a 24 yd FG on the final play of the half making it 28-17. Surprisingly with Chizik coaching the D they allowed 295 yds to UVA in the 1H. Each team got a TD and both punted but AU blk’d the punt for a safety. AU ret’d the free kick 62 yds to the 15 but settled for a 45 yd FG, 40-24 (:47). AU got a 37 yd FG with 8:09 left and with 6:57 left, took over at the UVA40 and went on an 11 play drive taking a knee at the UVA4.

MUSIC CITY BOWL Mississippi St 23 Wake Forest 17 - MSU had a 4-0 TO deficit. Vick Ballard ran for a career high 180 yds. Ballard was 3 yds shy of Walter Packer’s school bowl record of 183 rushing yards in the 1974 Sun Bowl. MSU starting QB Tyler Russell was limited with a sprained knee and DNP. Chris Relf was banged up and was not the same QB in the 2H but with Dylan Favre also out with injury, he stayed in. Relf hit 12-19-129 yds but had 2 int’s and rushed for 64 yds on 15 carries. MSU had a 382-287 yd edge but had a missed xp, and allowed a 46 yd FG that wobbled through the uprights and bounced off the back of the goal post with 3:27 left. One MSU TO was crucial as with :06 left in the 1H at the WF9 they opted to try to run 1 more play and were int’d in the EZ and came away with zero pts. They also fmbl’d at their own 28 setting up WF’s first TD drive. They were SOD at the WF38 with 1:51 left 3Q.At half MSU had a 230-124 yd edge. On WF’s drive for the FG they converted on 4&1 and 4&3 during the drive. MSU took a knee 3x at the WF31 at the end of the game.

MEINEKE CAR CARE BOWL Texas A&M  33 Northwestern 22 - A&M was led by interim HC Tim DeRuyter and Pat Fitzgerald’s main focus of the bowl prep was having the team carry a monkey around since they had not won a bowl game since 1949. Dan Persa set an NCAA record for career completion % (72.3%) hitting 25-37-213 yds. A&M led 30-7 but after they’d blown DD leads in almost every game this year, they did not feel safe. NU got a TD with 5:22 left to pull within 30-22 but A&M kicked a 31 yd FG with :30 left. A&M lost OL Joseph Villavisencio during bowl week and played a motivated game with everyone wearing a helmet sticker. The crowd was heavy A&M and the roof was closed at Reliant Stadium. NU led 7-3 early 2Q (10:12) but a key play happened with :20 left in the 1H as NU punted and A&M ret’d it 35 yds to the NU40. A&M got a 40 yd FG to lead 20-7 and those 3 pts came in handy. NU got TD’s with 11:15 and 5:22 left, 30-22 and A&M on their final game clinching drive got a 3&13, 21 yd pass to midfield, a 3&6, 29 yd pass to the 18 and the 31 yd FG came with :30 left after on 3&2 when a FD would have allowed them to run out the clock, they lost 4 yds and settled for the FG.