NCF Nation: bowl-best-011113

Best and worst from the SEC bowl season

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
9:36
AM ET
Let’s review some of the highs and lows of the bowl season:

[+] EnlargeBrandon Boykin
Jeff Griffith/US PresswireGeorgia's Brandon Boykin had a huge game against Michigan State, including this punt return for a TD.
Best performance: Even in a loss, there was no topping Georgia’s Brandon Boykin. The senior cornerback certainly did his part in the Bulldogs’ 33-30 triple-overtime setback to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl. He scored three different ways, starting with a safety when he tackled Keshawn Martin in the end zone. He then returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter and caught a 13-yard touchdown pass to give Georgia a 27-20 lead with 6:44 remaining in regulation.

Best defensive performance: This one goes out to the entire Alabama defense, which saved its best for last. The Crimson Tide pitched the first shutout in BCS National Championship Game history and held LSU to 92 total yards. Let’s face it. They could have played 10 more quarters and LSU wouldn’t have scored a touchdown against Alabama on Monday night. It was like watching one giant crimson swarm all night.

Worst game: Unless you’re of the Alabama persuasion, the BCS National Championship Game was one of the worst in recent memory. That doesn’t diminish what the Crimson Tide accomplished, but it was a real stinker as a game. There was never any real drama. LSU was horrid on offense, and the game was decided once Alabama got more than a touchdown ahead.

Best off-the-bench performance: Auburn junior quarterback Barrett Trotter came off the bench after starter Clint Moseley went down with an injury and delivered one of his best passing performances of the season in the Tigers’ 43-24 victory against Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Trotter finished 11-of-18 for 175 yards and a touchdown and didn’t throw any interceptions. Most importantly, he was ready when his team needed him.

Best offensive game plan: Alabama turned to sophomore quarterback AJ McCarron to open the game and let him get into a rhythm with a series of bootleg passes and short throws. LSU wasn’t able to get to him with its pass rush, and McCarron’s confidence grew as the game progressed. It also allowed the Crimson Tide to drive the ball out of bad field position a couple of different times in the first quarter.

Worst offensive game plan: Easy choice here. LSU looked like a grade-school offense in the BCS National Championship Game. The Tigers stubbornly kept trying to run the speed option outside and never made any adjustments when they were stopped in their tracks. They did try to go hurry-up at one point, but didn’t have any answers for an Alabama defense determined to make Jordan Jefferson a passer.

Best farewell: The entire Arkansas senior class went out in style, from Joe Adams, to Jarius Wright, to Jake Bequette. There were 20 of them in all, and it’s a class that took Arkansas to new heights with 21 wins over the past two years. They capped their careers with a 29-16 victory against Kansas State in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, marking the first 11-win season for the Hogs since 1977.

Worst farewell: The unfortunate part for Jefferson is that he did some good things for LSU this season and made a big difference for the Tigers in that first game against Alabama. But fans are probably going to remember his arrest in the preseason and how poorly he played in the national championship game against Alabama more than any play he might have made to help the Tigers get there.

Best catch: South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery didn’t have the kind of season anyone was expecting, but his leaping grab of Connor Shaw’s Hail Mary and 51-yard touchdown as the first half ended completely changed the complexion of the Capital One Bowl and paved the way for the Gamecocks to go on and win 30-13 against Nebraska.

Worst luck: Marquis Maze got the ball rolling for Alabama with his 49-yard punt return in the first quarter, but he pulled his hamstring on the play and had to run out of bounds. He probably scores there if he doesn’t have the injury. He wasn’t able to return to the game, and seeing tears streaming down his face while watching his teammates from the sideline later on told you all you needed to know about what that game meant to Maze.

Best coaching move: Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, coaching in his last game before taking on the Colorado State head-coaching gig, had the Crimson Tide come out throwing, particularly on first down, and that opened up the entire offense and sort of put LSU’s defense on its heels early.

Worst coaching move: Georgia coach Mark Richt gets big props for guiding the Bulldogs to 10 straight wins after the two losses to open the season. But his decision to play for a field goal in the first overtime, especially when Blair Walsh had been so inconsistent all season, was hard to figure. A 42-yarder isn’t a chip shot for anybody, and Walsh missed it right. That was the opening Michigan State needed to win the game in three overtimes.
Taking a look back at some of the best and worst moments from the Pac-12's bowl season.

Best overall performance (team): We're a field goal away from flipping a coin between Stanford and Oregon. But the Ducks won, and to the victor go the spoils. Say what you want about Wisconsin being overrated; Oregon beat a very good team with one of the most productive college running backs in history, and the Ducks did it on a major stage.

Best offensive performance (individual): Keith Price outdueled Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, passing for 438 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for three more scores. And the Huskies lost! Someone on the Washington defense better be carrying his books around campus until the start of next season.

[+] EnlargeKeith Price
Brendan Maloney/US PresswireWashington's Keith Price passed for 438 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for another three touchdowns in a losing effort against Baylor.
Best offensive performance (team): As good as Washington's offensive show was against Baylor, Oregon did it against a tougher opponent and under a brighter spotlight. LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas both went for more than 100 yards, Lavasier Tuinei turned in season highs in catches (eight) and yards (158) to go with two touchdowns and the offensive line had its way with Wisconsin.

Best defensive performance (individual): In the conference's five losses, teams gave up an average of 41 points. Still, Cal first-team all-conference linebacker Mychal Kendricks did all he could to limit Texas to 21, notching nine solo tackles (10 total) and 1.5 tackles for a loss.

Best defensive performance (team): Pass.

Best offensive performance in a losing effort: Andrew Luck's one interception was the lone stain on an otherwise fantastic performance, in which he completed 27 of 31 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns. He was 15-of-15 on all of Stanford's scoring drives and 4-for-4 on the final drive that set up the almost-game-winning field goal.

Worst offensive performance: Both Cal and UCLA faced fairly tough defenses in Texas and Illinois, respectively, and their 24 points combined reflected that. (For the record, Washington had 35 by halftime and Oregon had 28 at the half.) But the nod goes to Cal for 7 rushing yards on 36 attempts. That's 0.2 yards per carry. ASU was actually worse with minus-11 rushing yards, but at least it put up 24 points (well, 17 if you take away Rashad Ross' 98-yard kick return).

Worst defensive performance: As a conference, Pac-12 teams gave up an average of 455 yards in their bowl games. Washington was the worst offender with 777 yards yielded.

Best bang for buck: Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas. Two carries, two touchdowns, 155 yards and a 77.5 yards-per-carry average.

Best supporting cast: While Price was fantastic, lest we forget that Chris Polk ran for 147 yards, Jermaine Kearse caught five balls for 198 yards and a score and Devin Aguilar added two receiving touchdowns.

Best holiday spirit: Cal certainly got into the season, giving the ball away five times to Texas.

Best "Oh jeez" moment: Stanford running back Jeremy Stewart taking out teammate Ty Montgomery after he tried to run a kickoff out of the end zone. Stewart, a fifth-year senior, stopped the true freshman right at the line and dropped him, much to the chagrin of 69,927 at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Worst "Oh jeez" moment: Watching Dennis Erickson try to call a timeout when ASU had fourth-and-goal at the Boise 1-yard line. Then watching his face as Jamar Taylor picked off Brock Osweiler and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown.
The bowl season is over, and it's time to pass out a few awards.

Best offensive player: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State. Blackmon went nuts against Stanford after the Cowboys were shut out in the first quarter against Stanford. His first two catches went for touchdowns, and he finished with 186 yards on eight grabs and his third three-touchdown game of his career. That was the first time he'd done that since the Tulsa game in 2010, the third game of the season.

[+] EnlargeJustin Blackmon
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesThree of Justin Blackmon's eight catches against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl were for touchdowns.
Second-best offensive player: Terrance Ganaway, RB, Baylor. Ganaway ended his career in style, taking plenty of heat off his Heisman-winning quarterback, Robert Griffin III. He scored five touchdowns and ran for 200 yards, leading the way for three Bears 100-yard rushers in the 67-56 win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl.

Best defensive player: Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma. Passing? I think not, Iowa. Matched up with NFL-bound, Skycam-attacked Marvin McNutt, Fleming made seven tackles, returned an interception 21 yards and broke up three passes. Well done.

Best team performance: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys got the Big 12's best win of the entire season, knocking off a solid Stanford team and handing Andrew Luck a loss in his final game as a Cardinal. Maybe they got lucky with a missed 35-yard field goal attempt to force overtime, but the Cowboys played well after a shaky first quarter and beat the nation's No. 4 team on a neutral field. Well done.

Best play: Robert Griffin III's post-Heisman "Heisman moment." He somehow backpedalled out of a handful of Washington tacklers, escaped outside and galloped to the pylon, diving into the end zone as he took a big hit before scoring. A big-time play from the Heisman winner for a 24-yard score.

Craziest play: North Carolina's Bryn Renner whipped a strike to Dwight Jones, but a hit jarred it loose. Somehow, it ended up on Jones' shoulder and rolled across his back, staying there long enough for Missouri LB Zaviar Gooden to sprint over and slide in to intercept the pass before it hit the ground.

Scariest play: Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa. McNutt was minding his own business in the Iowa huddle. Then the Skycam at Sun Devil Stadium came crashing down and sent McNutt into a panic. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, but it was memorable incident. The camera was grounded for the Fiesta Bowl later in the week.

Best out-of-nowhere performance: Colton Chelf, WR, Oklahoma State. Starter Tracy Moore was reportedly suspended, and Chelf filled the void well. He caught just 16 balls in 12 games, but hauled in five for 97 yards in the win over Stanford, including a 24-yarder in overtime that was ruled a touchdown before being reversed and giving way to a game-winning field goal.

Worst performance: Kansas State. It was shocking to see. The Wildcats made too many early mistakes that they hadn't made all year. There was a fumble to give Arkansas an easy three points, a handful of dropped passes, a wave of penalties and an ill-advised punt to Joe Adams that swung the game in favor of the Hogs. Not good, and K-State didn't give itself a chance in the 29-16 loss.

Best handling of distractions: Texas A&M had to deal with the loss of senior offensive lineman Joey Villavisencio, who died in a car crash on his way home for Christmas. It fired coach Mike Sherman earlier. Interim coach Tim DeRuyter left for Fresno State, but stayed to coach the bowl game. The team was prepping for a move to the SEC and playing its bowl game in the home of its new coach, Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies, though, played pretty well against Northwestern and controlled most of the game in the 33-22 win.

Best atmosphere: Cotton Bowl. For a second consecutive year, this bowl takes the cake. K-State and Arkansas fans absolutely packed Cowboys Stadium and cheered loudly from an hour before the game through the entire matchup. A big-time atmosphere for what should be a big-time game.

Best and worst of ACC bowl season

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
9:00
AM ET
It’s time to review some of the highs and lows from the ACC bowl season (there were highlights, I swear) …

Best performance: NC State cornerback David Amerson had two interceptions in a 31-24 win over Louisville in the Belk Bowl. He broke the ACC single-season record, and also moved into a tie for second place in FBS history for single-season interceptions with 13. The Pack were leading 24-10 in the third quarter when Amerson’s 65-yard interception return for a touchdown broke the record. His second interception late in the game moved him into a tie for second place in FBS history.

[+] EnlargeVirginia Tech Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas
Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIREVirginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas came up big in the Hokies' bowl game loss.
Best offensive performance in a losing effort: Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas. He outplayed Michigan’s Denard Robinson in every phase but the scoreboard. He threw for 214 yards and ran for 53. He also had an impressive 13-yard scramble on fourth-and-11. In his first season as a starter, Thomas finished with 3,482 yards of total offense, breaking Tyrod Taylor’s school record, which was set in 2010.

Best team defensive performance: Florida State. The Noles held the Irish scoreless for two quarters, and forced three turnovers, all interceptions.

Best defensive game plan: Virginia Tech. Michigan was in disarray, and Bud Foster had a lot to do with that. Fitzgerald Toussaint was held to just 30 rushing yards, and quarterback Denard Robinson had just 13 rushing yards. Nobody scored on the ground, and Michigan was just 4-of-13 on third-down conversions.

Best on-the-job training: Florida State’s offensive line. The Noles started four freshmen against Notre Dame, and they gave up five sacks, but they also grew up right before our eyes and looked much better in the second half.

Best quote: “I don't care what people think. I made a decision what was best for this football team going forward. When I made the decision and weighing all options and looking at the talent this kid has I knew we would have a quarterback. I don't have to feel vindicated by anybody. … But he helped [vindicate] me." -- NC State coach Tom O’Brien on replacing Russell Wilson with Mike Glennon, who was named the MVP of the Belk Bowl with three touchdowns.

Worst defensive performance. None other than the 70 points Clemson allowed, of course. Most. Points. Ever. In any bowl game. Ever.

Worst moment: The look of devastation on Danny Coale’s face when his would-be 20-yard touchdown catch in overtime was overturned by the replay officials and ruled incomplete.

Worst officiating: The Allstate Sugar Bowl. Take your pick. There were plenty of questionable calls in that game, but the most controversial was probably Coale’s negated touchdown catch. Whether it was a catch or not isn’t the point. Instead, there didn’t seem to be enough indisputable video evidence to overturn the original call of a touchdown.

Worst stat: The ACC dropped to 2-13 in BCS bowls.

Worst stat II: The ACC was outscored by 74 points in its bowl games.

Worst effort: North Carolina played like its coach had one foot out the door. Oh wait, never mind. … Missouri racked up 31 points in the first half. UNC had the ACC’s second-best rushing defense and allowed Missouri 337 rushing yards while UNC had 36.
Here are the highs and lows from the Irish's 18-14 Champs Sports Bowl loss to Florida State:

Best play: Michael Floyd's 100th and final catch of the season -- and of his college career -- featured an impressive juggling act, as Floyd tipped the ball to himself five times before hauling in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Rees, the Irish's only offensive score of the game. The game captain suffered an upper-body injury during the third-quarter catch and did not play the rest of the way.

Worst play: Rees' pass for John Goodman was picked off in the end zone by Terrence Brooks with less than three minutes left in the game, erasing the Irish's last true chance. Brooks doubled the post; Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said afterward that Rees was supposed to hit the dig route if the safety doubled the post. "Attention to detail, the little things, obviously it hurt us in that situation," Kelly said.

Biggest reason for optimism: Notre Dame recorded five sacks, held the Seminoles to 1.4 yards per rush and came up with a defensive touchdown. The front seven, particularly freshman Aaron Lynch, showed plenty of promise and will be a force for the Irish moving forward.

Biggest reason for pessimism: Thirteen games later, Notre Dame is without a quarterback. Rees and Andrew Hendrix combined to throw three picks against FSU -- including two in the end zone -- and will battle it out with Everett Golson in the spring and summer for a job that is there for the taking.

Biggest surprise: Floyd returned the game's first punt 41 yards. Not bad, considering Notre Dame averaged a nation-worst 0.3 yards per punt return during the regular season. Yes, the Irish had 3 net punt return yards entering their bowl game. Floyd had nearly 14 times that on one return.
It's time to look back and recognize some of the highlights and lowlights from the Big Ten bowl season:

Best performance: Michigan State. After falling behind 16-0 to Georgia, the Spartans rallied back to take the lead in the second half. When they needed to drive the field for a tying touchdown with only 1:55 left, they did just that. When Kirk Cousins threw an interception on the first overtime possession, they responded by holding tough on defense. Michigan State had 17 tackles for loss against the Bulldogs, including five by defensive end William Gholston. Darqueze Dennard grabbed two interceptions, and the special teams came up with a blocked kick to win the game. The 33-30 triple-overtime victory was yet another milestone for the program under Mark Dantonio.

[+] EnlargeWilliam Gholston and Aaron Murray
J. Meric/Getty ImagesMichigan State's William Gholston is looking to build off his two-sack performance in the Outback Bowl.
Worst performance: Penn State clearly didn't want to go to the TicketCity Bowl, and it showed right away. Houston quarterback Case Keenum made a mockery of the Nittany Lions' defense, throwing for 227 yards in the first quarter alone. Penn State had allowed that many yards passing in an entire game only once all season. He'd finish with 532 yards passing as the Cougars breezed to a 30-14 victory.

Best new mascot: Northwestern brought a stuffed monkey with a No. 63 jersey to its Meineke Car Care Bowl game against Texas A&M, symbolizing its quest to end a 63-year bowl victory drought. Alas, the Wildcats will have to order a No. 64 uniform after losing 33-22. Better make it a big jersey, because this postseason curse is more like an 800-pound gorilla at this point.

Worst near-death experience: Near the end of Iowa's Insight Bowl loss to Oklahoma, star Hawkeyes receiver Marvin McNutt was nearly taken out by ESPN's skycam, which fell to the field from its cables. The heavy camera almost hit McNutt off the bounce, and he got caught up in its wiring as he left the Iowa huddle. The skycam was unceremoniously escorted off the field, kind of like how Iowa's season ended in a 31-14 loss.

Worst ball security: Purdue and Western Michigan combined for 11 turnovers in a wild Little Caesars Bowl. On two separate occasions, the Boilermakers forced a turnover only to give the ball right back to the Broncos as defenders coughed it up trying to go the other way. Ultimately, Purdue got the upper hand by creating seven takeaways and holding on for a 37-32 victory.

Best clock management: Michigan State trailed Georgia 27-20 late in the fourth quarter of the Outback Bowl when the Spartans were called for pass interference on third-and-3 from the Bulldogs' 37. The officials ruled that Georgia had completed the pass on the play even though receiver Malcolm Mitchell clearly dropped the ball. Dantonio challenged the ruling, despite the fact that Georgia was going to get a first down either way. Dantonio's successful challenge meant that instead of the clock running down toward three minutes, the clock was stopped and reset to 3:43. That extra time proved enormous, as the Spartans tied the game with 14 seconds left in regulation.

Worst clock management: Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema was unsure if he could challenge the ruling when Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas hesitated and nearly left the end zone before kneeling down for kick-return touchback. As Bielema asked the sideline official for a clarification, he was charged with a timeout. That was the second timeout burned by the Badgers early in the second half. They dearly could have used the stoppages when the offense ended the game at the Oregon 25-yard line. Russell Wilson hurried to the line and was instructed to spike the ball with two seconds left, but officials ruled there was no time left.

Best impersonation of a wide receiver: Michigan's fake field goal attempt late in the first half of the Allstate Sugar Bowl went awry when holder Drew Dileo's intended receiving target, tight end Kevin Koger, didn't know the fake was on. So Dileo threw the ball into a crowd, and Virginia Tech deflected it. But long snapper Jareth Glanda saved the day by hauling it in for an 11-yard gain. The Wolverines ended up with a field goal on the play, and they needed every point in an overtime victory.

Best use of the kicking game: Purdue coach Danny Hope turned into a riverboat gambler in the Little Caesars Bowl, calling for two consecutive onside kicks in the first half. Both worked and led to points. Raheem Mostert also returned a kickoff 99 yards for a score.

Worst use of the kicking game: Ohio State had a punt blocked for a touchdown and allowed a 99-yard kickoff return by Florida. The Buckeyes lost by seven points in the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl.

Worst loss of composure: Nebraska star cornerback Alfonzo Dennard and South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery let their emotions get the best of them in the third quarter of the Capital One Bowl. Dennard took a coupLe of swings at Jeffery, who pushed Dennard's helmet back. Both players were rightly ejected. Amazingly, Jeffery was still named MVP of South Carolina's 30-13 win.

Best crisis management: We saw what happened to Penn State and Ohio State as they played for lame-duck head coaches. Illinois not only had to deal with that but also a six-game losing streak and a group of assistants threatening to boycott the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl hours before the game. Somehow, interim head coach Vic Koenning managed to hold things together to help the Illini win 20-14 over UCLA.

Best inspiration: As Michigan's Brendan Gibbons lined up for the 37-yard kick to win the game in overtime, he had one thing on his mind. "Brunette girls,” Gibbons said. “Every time we were like struggling in kicking, coach tells me to think about girls on a beach or brunette girls," Gibbons told reporters. "So that's what we did. Made the kick." And they say blondes have more fun.
Here are some of the highs and lows of Big East bowl season:

Best performance, team: West Virginia. The 70-33 win over Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl goes down as one of the best team performances in bowl history. The Mountaineers set a bowl record for points scored, and another bowl record for points scored in one quarter (35, second); an Orange Bowl record for touchdowns (10); and tied an Orange Bowl record for first downs (31). Theirs was the most dominating bowl win of the season.

[+] EnlargeWest Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin
Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIREWest Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin set records in the Mountaineers Orange Bowl victory.
Best performance, individual: Tavon Austin, West Virginia. Geno Smith won game MVP honors, but I thought the biggest difference maker was Austin. He set Orange Bowl records for total yards (280), receptions (12) and receiving touchdowns (4) and his versatility was a major reason why the Mountaineers won. Smith said this about Austin after the game: "He won me an MVP. I should give him a trophy."

Worst performance, team: Pitt. The numbers on offense were ugly once again in the BBVA Compass Bowl against SMU. The Panthers had season lows in points and yards rushing (10), and their 205 total yards were second-worst this season. They also were 6-of-17 on third down, and had no touchdowns in four trips inside the SMU 25. Pretty sure Pitt is happy to turn the page on this season.

Best comeback: Zach Collaros, Cincinnati. In the weeks leading up to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, we could only guess about whether Collaros would make it back from a broken ankle. He was weeks ahead of rehab, but there was still soreness and he was not running all that well. But Collaros is such a gamer, he refused to be held out of the game. He made his triumphant return and the Bearcats beat Vanderbilt 31-24.

Worst injury: Khaseem Greene, Rutgers. It looked gruesome on television -- Greene went down hard on his ankle against Iowa State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, and we were all thankful when the television replays stopped. It was a tough end to the season for the co-Defensive Player of the Year, who had one of the finest defensive performances this bowl season with 13 tackles, half a sack and a forced fumble. Greene ended up with a broken ankle, but should be just fine for the start of training camp this summer.

Worst loss: Louisville. Yes, we can say Pitt had a terrible loss, but the season had gone horribly for the Panthers and after another coaching change, you almost understood why they failed to show up. But the Cardinals finished the season with wins in four of their final five games, and earned a share of the Big East title. They were riding high going into their game against NC State in the Belk Bowl. An NC State team, by the way, that Cincinnati clobbered earlier in the season. I fully expected a win. But Louisville came out flat and trailed 31-10 before a valiant attempt at a comeback. Too many mistakes did in the Cardinals and they lost 31-24. I give a hand clap to the comeback, but I firmly believe this is a game the Cardinals should have won.

Best momentum swing (1): Clemson running back Andre Ellington was on his way in for a short touchdown in the second quarter against the Mountaineers. But he lost the football, and Darwin Cook returned it 99 yards for a score. West Virginia ended up scoring 35 points in the second quarter -- including 21 off three turnovers.

Best momentum swing (2): Cincinnati trailed Vanderbilt 21-17 early in the fourth quarter, after Larry Smith connected with Chris Boyd on a 68-yard touchdown pass. Ralph David Abernathy IV took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 90 yards for a score to put the Bearcats ahead 24-21. It was the first return for a score in his career. Even better -- Cincinnati would never trail again.

Worst series: Louisville scored to make it 31-24 with 4:29 left in the fourth quarter. Plenty of time to kick it deep and then trust your defense to get a three-and-out to set up good field position for a game-winning drive. Charlie Strong opted for an onside kick, and NC State recovered. Luckily for the Cardinals, NC State coach Tom O'Brien made a move that was even more head-scratching when he decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Louisville 33. The Cardinals stopped them to get great field position with 1:35 remaining. But Teddy Bridgewater took two sacks on the drive, and ended up throwing his third interception to end the game.

Best turnaround: Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights went into their game against Iowa State averaging 2.6 yards a carry and 91.5 yards a game on the ground. They nearly doubled those numbers in the bowl game, rushing for 173 yards and 4.1 yards a carry, as Jawan Jamison had 131 yards and two touchdowns.

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