2013-14 All-Bowl Team
Florida State closed out the BCS in style, finishing an undefeated season with a 34-31 victory over Auburn and claiming the Seminoles' first national title since 1999.
FSU's performance landed four players on our All-Bowl team, although Heisman winner Jameis Winston will just have to settle for being a national champion. No player could top the final college performance by last year's Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.
Here's the 2013-14 All-Bowl roster:
Center: Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
The senior All-American, who was the only starter playing his natural position on a makeshift Sooners offensive line, served as the foundation of a group that allowed only one sack in 45 pass attempts in the Sooners' 45-31 upset of Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Blessed with time, freshman quarterback Trevor Knight completed 32 of 44 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns.
Tackle: La'el Collins, LSU
The junior anchored an offensive front that controlled the line of scrimmage in the Tigers' 21-14 defeat of Iowa in the Outback Bowl. Playing freshman quarterback Anthony Jennings, LSU leaned heavily on its line and tailback Jeremy Hill (see below), controlling the clock for 35:46 with a run-pass split of 51/20.
Tackle: Zack Martin, Notre Dame
He played so well in the 29-16 defeat of Rutgers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl that he won the Offensive MVP Award. The Fighting Irish ran an astounding 90 offensive snaps (47 passes, 43 rushes) for 494 yards, holding the ball for 38:16.
Guard: Jordan McCray, UCF
The senior guard graded the highest on an O-line that didn't allow a sack and gained 556 total yards (301 passing, 255 rushing, mostly between the tackles) in 75 snaps, as the Knights stunned Baylor, 52-42, in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Guard: Laken Tomlinson, Duke
Tomlinson played the best on an offensive line that helped the Blue Devils gain 661 yards of total offense, the most of any team in the postseason, and 29 first downs, in a 52-48 loss to Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Quarterback: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
With apologies to UCLA redshirt sophomore Brett Hundley, South Carolina senior Connor Shaw and Clemson senior Tajh Boyd, the most riveting performance of the postseason came from Manziel, who willed the Aggies to overcome a 38-17 deficit and defeat Duke 52-48 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Manziel completed 30 of 38 passes for 382 yards and four touchdowns, and added 73 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Forget the numbers, however. If you saw Manziel hop out of a tackle, bounce off an offensive lineman, run backward and then throw a 19-yard touchdown to Travis Labhart, you know why Manziel made this team.
Wide receiver: Rashad Greene, Florida State
The junior showed why he is Jameis Winston's favorite receiver, making nine catches for 147 yards. On his last catch, Greene took a pass in the right flat and split Auburn defensive backs Ryan Smith and Chris Davis to go 49 yards to the Tigers' 23-yard line. Five plays later, Greene beat Davis over the middle in the end zone, drawing a pass interference penalty that gave the Seminoles first-and-goal at the Auburn 2. They scored the winning touchdown on the next snap.
Wide receiver: Sammy Watkins, Clemson
Watkins concluded his collegiate career with a performance fulfilling the potential he showed as a freshman and didn't fill as a sophomore. Watkins caught 16 passes for 227 yards, both Orange Bowl records, and two touchdowns in the No. 12 Tigers' 40-35 upset of No. 7 Ohio State.
Tight end: Braxton Deaver, Duke
He caught six passes (five of them for first downs, and three for more than 25 yards) in the Blue Devils' shootout loss to Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Deaver finished with 116 receiving yards, the first 100-yard game of his career.
Running back: Jeremy Hill, LSU
Iowa came into the Outback Bowl allowing only 128.4 rushing yards per game, but the Hawkeyes had no answer for Hill. The sophomore rushed 28 times for 216 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers' 21-14 victory.
Running back: Tre Mason, Auburn
The trademark of Mason, a Heisman finalist, has been to get better as the game gets longer. That's what he did on the game's biggest stage Monday night. Mason ran for 94 yards on 13 carries in the fourth quarter alone, including an electrifying 37-yard touchdown with 1:19 to play that gave Auburn a 31-27 lead. Mason finished with 195 rushing yards on a BCS National Championship record 34 carries, and also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass.
Defensive lineman: Geneo Grissom, Oklahoma
The junior came off the bench to record two sacks and recover two fumbles, returning the second 8 yards for the clinching touchdown with :47 to play in the Sooners' defeat of Alabama.
Defensive lineman: Preston Smith, Mississippi State
Rice rushed for 240 yards per game before it got to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, where the Owls ran into Smith and the rest of the Mississippi State defense. The Bulldogs limited the Owls to 61 rushing yards on 32 carries, and Smith finished with six tackles and the Defensive MVP Award. Mississippi State cruised to a 44-7 victory.
Defensive lineman: Dee Ford, Auburn
He had two of the Tigers' four sacks on Winston on Monday night, and led a defensive front that kept Winston confused and, his word, "uncomfortable," for much of the night. Ford finished with three tackles.
Linebacker: Eric Striker, Oklahoma
Striker was a safety (6-foot-0, 198 pounds) masquerading as a linebacker who played like a defensive end in the Sugar Bowl. The sophomore sacked Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron three times for minus-23 yards and forced the fumble that Geneo Grissom returned for a touchdown (see above). Striker finished with seven tackles.
Linebacker: Kyler Elsworth, Michigan State
Playing in place of suspended defensive captain Max Bullough, Elsworth leaped over the line to smother Stanford fullback Ryan Hewitt on fourth-and-1 at the Stanford 34 with 1:43 to play, securing the Spartans' 24-20 defeat of the Cardinal in the 100th Rose Bowl. Stanford had converted eight of 12 fourth downs this season. Michigan State stopped the Cardinal on both attempts. Elsworth finished with 1.5 of the Spartans' 10 tackles behind the line against a team that had only 48 negative plays in its previous 13 games.
Linebacker: Telvin Smith, Florida State
The senior led the Seminoles with 75 tackles this season, an average of 5.8 per game. Smith made 15 tackles against Auburn. He got in on the first two tackles. And he made the very last tackle, stopping the Tigers' attempt to recreate The Play from Cal-Stanford 1982, racing across the field to knock down Mason.
Linebacker: Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA
Zumwalt had 10 tackles and an interception that he returned 43 yards in the Bruins' 42-12 victory over Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. Then there were the plays that aren't so obvious in the box score, such as the hit that knocked Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas out of the game and the two additional tackles negated by penalties.
Defensive back: George Jamison, Navy
Pressed into action late in the second quarter when starter Wave Ryder was ejected for targeting and backup Lonnie Richardson suffered an injury, Jamison made six tackles, including a stop behind the line when Middle Tennessee went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Navy 7. He also intercepted a pass to set up the Midshipmen's final touchdown in a 24-6 victory in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Defensive back: Avery Patterson, Oregon
Patterson set the tone of the Alamo Bowl on Texas's fourth snap of the game, intercepting a Case McCoy pass and returning it 37 yards for the Ducks' opening score in a 30-7 victory. Patterson finished with nine tackles.
Defensive back: Craig Loston, LSU
He had one of his best games in a Tigers uniform, making six tackles (three of them behind the line of scrimmage, including a sack) and one interception as LSU shut down Iowa in the Outback Bowl.
Defensive back: P.J. Williams, Florida State
The sophomore corner read Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall perfectly in the title game, intercepting a too-short throw at the Seminole 40 early in the fourth quarter. Williams did fumble on the return, but teammate Lamarcus Joyner recovered it, and Florida State converted the turnover into the first of three fourth-quarter touchdowns. Williams finished with seven tackles, including an assist behind the line of scrimmage.
Kicker: Kyle Brindza, Notre Dame
Brindza made five field goals, ranging from 21 to 49 yards, and two extra points, in the Irish's 29-16 defeat of Rutgers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
Punt returner: Brisly Estime, Syracuse
Syracuse had coughed up a 14-3 lead over Minnesota in the fourth quarter of the Texas Bowl. Trailing 17-14, Estime gathered in a punt at the Orange 14 and raced 70 yards to the Gopher 14 with 1:44 to play. Three plays later, quarterback Terrel Hunt rushed 12 yards for the winning score in the 21-17 victory.
Kickoff returner: Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield, Florida State
Whitfield's 100-yard kickoff return gave Florida State the lead in the fourth quarter with only 4:31 to play. Whitfield, a freshman, didn't have to make any spectacular moves. His teammates provided a lane to the left sideline, and he raced untouched to the house. Whitfield took two of his 17 kickoff returns this season for touchdowns.
Punter: Steven Clark, Auburn
The senior dropped five of his six punts inside the 20 and finished with a 43.2-yard average, gross and net. The Seminoles couldn't return a single one. His first punt, which hit inside the 1 and bounced backward to the 2, cued a press box full of 60-degree-wedge jokes. The first one was funny.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- Sources: Longhorns kick four more off team
- Longhorns WRs charged with sexual assault
- TCU's Fields surrenders to assault warrant
- Auburn's Marshall pays pot possession fines