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SEC all-bowl team

January, 12, 2010
1/12/10
11:00
AM ET
Having had a few days now to digest the 2009 bowl season, here’s a look at the All-SEC bowl team:

OFFENSE

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Tim Tebow torched Cincinnati for a career-high 482 passing yards and three TDs.
QB Tim Tebow, Florida
Broke Vince Young’s record for total offense in a BCS bowl game with 533 yards in the Gators’ 51-24 rout of Cincinnati in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Completed 31 of 35 passes for a career-high 482 yards.

RB Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss
Was there a better player in the SEC the second half of the season? McCluster rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the AT&T Cotton Bowl win.

RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
Despite cramping up in the Citi BCS National Championship Game, the Heisman Trophy winner showed his grit and led the Crimson Tide with 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

WR Riley Cooper, Florida
Led the Gators’ offensive explosion in the Sugar Bowl with 181 receiving yards, including an 80-yard touchdown. Cooper averaged 25.9 yards on seven catches.

WR Brandon LaFell, LSU
The Tigers didn’t put up much offense, but LaFell had five catches for 87 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown. LaFell led all SEC players with 19 touchdown catches over the past two seasons.

TE Aaron Hernandez, Florida
His nine catches led all players in the Sugar Bowl, and he finished with 111 receiving yards. Hernandez opened the Gators’ scoring with a 7-yard touchdown catch.

OL John Jerry, Ole Miss
Helped clear the way for Ole Miss’ 193 rushing yards against an Oklahoma State defense that finished ranked 11th nationally against the run.

OL James Carpenter, Alabama
Combined with Mike Johnson to make the key block that helped spring Trent Richardson on his 49-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of the Citi BCS National Championship Game.

OL Justin Anderson, Georgia
The Bulldogs were playing without starting right tackle Josh Davis, and Anderson came off the bench in the second half to help give a much-needed lift to the running game.

OL Mike Johnson, Alabama
The anchor of an Alabama offensive line that paved the way for both Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson to each rush for more than 100 yards against Texas’ vaunted defense.

C Maurkice Pouncey, Florida
Spent more than five hours at Tulane Hospital with kidney stones and had several IV’s, but didn’t miss the start and led the way for the Gators up front.

DEFENSE

DE Marcell Dareus, Alabama
Had the hit that knocked Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of the game and also returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown right before halftime.

DE Carlos Dunlap, Florida
Came back strong from his suspension in the SEC championship game with two sacks in the Gators’ Sugar Bowl romp.

DT Geno Atkins, Georgia
Pressured Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson relentlessly. Atkins finished with a sack and also blocked a field goal attempt in the second quarter.

DT Dan Williams, Tennessee
A rock all season long in the middle for the Vols, Williams ended his career with nine tackles, including a half a sack in the 37-14 loss to Virgina Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

LB Patrick Trahan, Ole Miss
His 34-yard fumble return for a touchdown sealed the game for the Rebels with 3:12 remaining. Trahan also had an interception on Oklahoma State’s next possession.

LB Jerry Franklin, Arkansas
Finished with 10 tackles and had a third-quarter interception that turned the game around for the Hogs. East Carolina was leading 10-0, but Franklin intercepted a pass and returned it 31 yards to set up an Arkansas field goal.

LB Eric Norwood, South Carolina
Wrapped up a record-setting career at South Carolina by leading the Gamecocks with 10 tackles in their 20-7 loss to Connecticut in the Papajohns.com Bowl.

DB Walter McFadden, Auburn
Intercepted two passes in Auburn’s Outback Bowl win. McFadden’s first pick set up a touchdown, and he did the honors himself on the second one – returning it 100 yards for a touchdown.

DB Tramain Thomas, Arkansas
His 37-yard interception return for a touchdown tied the game in the third quarter. Thomas also tipped away a pass at the goal line in the final minutes that might have saved the game.

DB Kendrick Lewis, Ole Miss
Intercepted two passes in Ole Miss’ 21-7 Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State. His big hit in the fourth quarter also forced the fumble that Patrick Trahan returned 34 yards for a touchdown to break the game open.

DB Chad Jones, LSU
Did a little bit of everything in his final game at LSU. Led the Tigers with eight tackles, including one for loss, while also forcing a fumble, breaking up a pass and blocking a kick.

SPECIAL TEAMS

K Alex Tejada, Arkansas
His 37-yard field goal in overtime was the difference in Arkansas’ 20-17 victory over East Carolina in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

P Spencer Lanning, South Carolina
In extremely cold conditions, Lanning punted seven times for a 42.3-yard average and had a long of 48 yards. He also doubles as the Gamecocks’ place-kicker.

KR Brandon Boykin, Georgia
Tied an SEC record with his third kickoff return for a touchdown this season, taking one back 81 yards to answer Texas A&M’s first touchdown.

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low


COLUMBIA, S.C. – Ole Miss and South Carolina both have reasons to be confident about Thursday night’s game (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET). Here’s a look at the top three things each team has going for it as we count down to kickoff:

OLE MISS

Defensive line muscle: Even without a fully healthy Greg Hardy, Ole Miss has one of the deepest defensive lines in college football. The Rebels hope to get a few plays out of Hardy, who sprained his ankle in the opener. They just don’t know how many plays. Even so, look for Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix to be aggressive. Having a front four of Kentrell Lockett and Marcus Tillman at the ends and Jerrell Powe and Ted Laurent at the tackles opens up a lot of things for everybody else on defense.

Snead’s due: It’s not like junior quarterback Jevan Snead has stunk up the joint in the Rebels’ first two games. He’s been just OK and finished strong against Memphis in the opener. The thing is: He’s a lot better than just OK, and you know he’s going to break out sooner or later with one of those games where he carves a defense apart. The Gamecocks are young in the secondary, so you can bet that Snead will take a few shots.

Running to glory: The Rebels’ running game is one of the more diverse running games in the league. They can line it up and come at you with more of a traditional approach with any combination of Brandon Bolden, Enrique Davis and Cordera Eason. But they also keep you off balance with Dexter McCluster and that Wild Rebel formation. Senior right tackle John Jerry is a devastating run-blocker, and Ole Miss likes to run behind him. Senior center Daverin Geralds is also solid up the middle, but the Rebels are hurting right now at fullback because of injuries. They may play 315-pound offensive lineman Mark Jean-Louis some at fullback against the Gamecocks.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Playing to the crowd: The home-field advantage at Williams-Brice Stadium, especially in a night game, can be a huge factor. That is, if South Carolina will let it be a factor. Playing well early and keeping the crowd in it will be crucial for the Gamecocks, who would love to get ahead from the outset and put Ole Miss in a position where the Rebels are having to throw on every down. Making checks and making adjustments at the line of scrimmage can be pretty difficult when nobody can hear anything.

The Big ‘E’: The SEC defensive MVP award through the first quarter of the season goes to South Carolina senior outside linebacker Eric Norwood, who leads the SEC with four sacks. He’s not just a pass-rusher, either, as evidenced by his interception return for a touchdown against Georgia. Norwood and junior end Cliff Matthews are a handful for any offensive line, but they will be matched up against a left side of the Ole Miss offensive line that’s been shaky this season. Sophomore left tackle Bradley Sowell is a first-year starter.

Stephen Garcia takes flight: The Gamecocks’ sophomore quarterback is improving weekly, which is music to the ears of the South Carolina fans who endured what had to seem like an eternity of Garcia making more news off the field than on the field. He’s throwing the ball with more confidence, seeing the field better and will no doubt set his sights on an Ole Miss secondary that’s the most unproven part of that defense. The Rebels will come after him, but Garcia is one of the best quarterbacks in the league when it comes to escaping pressure.

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