Thursday, January 10, 2013
Best and worst of the SEC bowls
By Chris Low
Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst of the SEC bowl season:
Best tackle: It was the best tackle a lot of us have seen -- ever. South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney destroyed Michigan running back Vincent Smith just as he was getting the handoff. Smith's helmet came flying off, and the ball popped free. Clowney reached down with his left hand and recovered the ball as if it were a Nerf football in one of those plays they'll still be showing 50 years from now.
Best catch: Chris Boyds twisting, one-handed grab for Vanderbilt's first touchdown. It was initially ruled no catch on the field, then reviewed and ruled a touchdown. Replays showed that Boyd managed to somehow get a toe in on the 5-yard gem of a catch.
Worst play-calling: LSU calling for back-to-back passes that were incomplete after having it second-and-2 at its own 47 with a 24-22 lead in the final minutes. The two incompletions allowed Clemson to save all of its timeouts and get the ball back with 1:39 to play. Nobody needs to remind LSU fans what happened from there. Clemson moved into position for a field goal and stunned LSU 25-24 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Best (and only) hit on Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron: His own center, Barrett Jones, shoving him after they got into an argument over a check at the line of scrimmage and late snap.
Best Rocky impersonation: Jones putting off surgery and playing with a Lisfranc fracture in his foot.
Worst trick play: Florida’s onsides kick to start the second half of the Allstate Sugar Bowl blew up in the Gators’ faces. Not only did Louisville recover, but the Gators were hit with two personal fouls on the play, moving the ball to the Florida 19 and resulting in the ejection of Florida’s Chris Johnson for throwing a punch. Louisville scored a touchdown on the next play.
Best quote: “We’re not going anywhere, so everybody better get used to it. This is the brand new Vanderbilt.” – Vanderbilt coach James Franklin.
Best substitution: South Carolina's Dylan Thompson filling in for Connor Shaw after Shaw’s foot problems flared up in the fourth quarter and throwing the game-winning, 32-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington with 11 seconds to play.
Best fans: Legion Field might as well have been Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. The Ole Miss fans showed up in force, setting a BBVA Compass Bowl attendance record. Just through the Ole Miss ticket office, Ole Miss fans gobbled up more than 23,000 tickets, and the Rebels rewarded them with a 38-17 beatdown of Pittsburgh.
Worst fans: Somebody must have forgotten to tell the Florida fans what day the Sugar Bowl was. Then again, maybe they all stayed out on Bourbon Street. That’s OK, because the team didn’t show up, either, in the 33-23 loss to Louisville.
Best disappearing acts: Florida and LSU’s running games.
Worst prediction: Anybody who picked Notre Dame.
Best performance: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel rolling up an AT&T Cotton Bowl record 516 yards in total offense. So much for a Heisman Trophy hangover for Johnny Football.
Best multi-purpose performance: South Carolina’s Ace Sanders scoring three touchdowns -- two receiving and one on a 63-yard punt return.
Worst rebound attempt: Mississippi State falling flat against Northwestern in a 34-20 TaxSlayer.Com Gator Bowl loss after losing four of its last five games to close the regular season.
Best recovery: After throwing two interceptions in the first quarter, Georgia’s Aaron Murray came back to throw for 427 yards and five touchdown passes in the 45-31 Capital One Bowl win over Nebraska.