NCAA Football Report (Bowl Week 1)

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The Bowl season is one of the best parts of the NCAA season with a total of 35 bowls to be played. One of the best parts about these 35 bowls is that there are a number of great games between teams that you rarely see on National TV. This was the case in the first bowl week as the three bowls that opened the season featured a number of unranked, yet good, teams. One of these bowls was the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl between the San Diego State Aztecs and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns. The San Diego State Aztecs have not been ranked in the major college division but have had success in the postseason. They had a long layoff from 1998 until their next bowl game in 2010 where they beat Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl. This year they were back in the postseason again and were trying to make it two bowl wins in a row as they continue to build a good program. The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns did not have the same success as their opponents recently as they had not been in a bowl game since 1970 when they were members of the Small College Division. Since entering the Division I-A the Ragin’ Cajuns have not been in a bowl game but that changed this week as they entered their first bowl game in 41 years and their first bowl game in the Division I-FBS. They would take on the more experience Aztecs in the New Orleans Bowl that was essentially a home game in the Metrodome. The story leading into the game was that of Ronnie Hillman who was touted as the best running back that nobody had heard about. Hillman had run his way into the third spot in the NCAA D-I books behind Trent Richardson and LaMichael James and was expected to take over the game against Louisiana-Lafayette. From the start it was obvious that the Ragin’ Cajuns had prepared for Hillman (24 rsh, 55 yds, 0 TD) and had done it well not letting him take over. Instead it was Blaine Gautier (24/40, 470 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT) who took over the game and did it for the Cajuns. Louisiana-Lafayette led from the start of the game and never looked back. At halftime the Cajuns led the Aztecs 13-3 but the Aztecs were not there because they gave up on games. The second half saw San Diego State mount a comeback with two TDs in the 3rd quarter. Late in the fourth quarter the Aztecs took over the lead for the first time, 30-29, thanks to a TD by Ryan Lindley (28/49, 413, yds, 3 TD) to Colin Lockett (6 rec, 85 yds, 3 TD). It came down to Gautier in the last possession of the game and he came through as he led a 44 yard drive that put the Cajuns’ kicker Brett Baer (2/2 FG, 50 lng, 2/4 XP, 8 pts) 55 yards away from winning the game. He got a bit of a break though as SDSU earned a pre-snap penalty that pushed the field goal forward 5 yards to make it a 50 yard attempt. Baer came through in the clutch and kicked the field goal for the win. It was the Ragin’ Cajuns first bowl win ever making the New Orleans Bowl the biggest win in school history. It was big for even more than just the fact that they won a bowl as some Cajuns’ players had the performances of their lives. One of these was Brett Baer who came through in the clutch with the last second kick that marked the longest kick in his career. More than Baer though was the performance of Blaine Gautier who shattered records while leading his team to the win. First was the Bowl record for most passing yards as Gautier threw for 470 yards shattering the former record held by Troy’s Corey Robinson who threw for 387 yards in 2010. The bigger record for him may have been the school record as the bowl performance broke the school record for most yards and TDs in a single season. Gautier’s new records stand at 2,958 yards and 23 TDs that were previously held by Jake Delhomme who had 2,901 yards and 20 TDs in his 1996 season. The game went down to the wire as the underdogs pulled out a win close to home which was a great finish to the first day of the Bowl season.

Before the trilling game in New Orleans four more teams were looking to put their names in the books as bowl winners. The first bowl of the day was the New Mexico Bowl where Temple took on Wyoming in a matchup of two 8 win teams. The game was Temple’s to lose from the start as Bernard Pierce (25 rsh, 100 yds, 2 TD) took over the game quickly. Pierce scored two TDs in the first half against a defence that could not seem to figure out how to stop the Temple running game. The game was essentially over at halftime with Temple leading 28-7 and the lead got worse in the second half as Temple continued to dominate the Wyoming Cowboys. Temple took home the win as they earned their first Bowl victory since 1979. With a blowout in the books the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl followed between the Ohio Bobcats and Utah State Aggies. Both teams had not had much success in the postseason with Ohio winless in the last five bowl games. They changed all that as the Bobcats took the ball down the field at the end of the game. Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton (19/26, 220 yds, 2 TD) ended their five bowl game losing streak almost single-handedly in the 4th quarter. Down by six, Tettleton led the Bobcat offence on a 61-yard drive down the field. He then ran a QB keeper that was stopped short but they did not give up as they ran another keeper that was successful. With the TD and the extra point the Bobcats took home the win in a thriller. With the first weekend of bowls over the rest of the bowls will take place and we can only hope that the rest of the bowls reflect the great performances in the New Orleans Bowl and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

 

Last Week:

 

New Mexico Bowl:

Temple Owls 37 – 15 Wyoming Cowboys

– Bernard Pierce took over the game as he ran all over a weak Wyoming run defence as the Temple Owls won their first Bowl game since 1979

 

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl:

Ohio Bobcats 24 – 23 Utah State Aggies

– Tyler Tettleton led a 61-yard drive in the last quarter for a TD that won the game and ended a five game bowl losing streak for the Bobcats

 

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl:

Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns 32 – 30 San Diego State Aztecs

– The Ragin’ Cajuns made a big step towards building a good program as they won their first Division I-FBS bowl with a record-breaking performance by Blaine Gautier

 

 

Next Week:

 

Beef “O” Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg:

Florida International Golden Panthers vs. Marshall Thundering Herd (December 20th; 8:00 pm)

– FIU is coming off of the best season in school history winning 8 games for the first time but will have their hands full against Marshall DE Vinny Curry who has the second most sacks, with 21.5, in the NCAA

 

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl:

#18 TCU Horned Frogs vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (December 21st; 8:00 pm)

– TCU won every game in their conference but could not manage a BCS Bowl appearance but will take on Louisiana Tech who accepted their invitation before American Thanksgiving

 

MAACO Bowl Las Vegas:

Arizona State Sun Devils vs. #7 Boise State Broncos (December 22nd; 8:00 pm)

– The Broncos could not bust the BCS another time as they were ranked #7 but could not get an invite to a BCS Bowl and will take out their frustrations on the Sun Devils who lost their last four games of the season

 

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: 

Nevada Wolf Pack vs. #21 Southern Miss Golden Eagles (December 24th; 8:00 pm)

– The Wolf Pack has the 7th ranked rushing offence in the league but may have their hands full against the Golden Eagles who shut down the NCAA’s top offence in Houston and were hoping to earn a BCS bid for that win but will travel to Hawaii for Christmas Eve

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