NCAA Football Report (Bowl Week 4)

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The NCAA Football season was finished about one month ago but that did not mean the NCAA was finished playing. The Bowl Season began and for the last four weeks the fans have seen some great games that have all led up to the BCS National Championship. Before the National Championship there were the BCS Bowl Series. The BCS Bowls are the premier bowls of the season as the top teams play in these bowls. Although they are controversial they still provide some of the top talent in the nation pitted against each other. This year they were some of the best games in the season, some were not nearly as good, and they highlighted a change in the football world. The old saying “Defence Wins Championships” has come under fire lately as the NFL and NCAA have seen an offensive explosion and this was true for almost every one of the BCS Bowls. Of course the saying still does stand to an extent as the National Championship will feature the two best defences in the league and that is the true championships. The defence will be on display in the National Championship while the BCS Bowls saw the offences take over.

 

Rose Bowl

#5 Oregon Ducks 45 – 38 Wisconsin Badgers #10

Known as the “Grand Daddy of them All” the Rose Bowl is the most prestigious of all of the bowls. It has been running since 1902 and has been one of the best bowls in the bowl season with some teams considering it even better than the National Championship. The Bowl is different than most other BCS bowls as the selection process is not entirely based on the BCS rankings. Instead the Rose Bowl pits the Big Ten and Pac-12 Champions against each other. This year that meant that the Wisconsin Badgers and Oregon Ducks would face off in what promised to be an offensive war. The Wisconsin Badgers focused on the running game led by Montee Ball but the addition of Russell Wilson had given them a very powerful offence on both ends. The Oregon Ducks have been based on speed for years as they continue to lean on LaMichael James and the extreme pace by the offence. These two teams faced off for the Rose Bowl as both offences took centre stage. The game started off with both offences keeping a fast pace as Wisconsin opened the scoring with a 3 minute drive while the Ducks got their first in a 2 minute drive. The pace continued as they added another 28 points in the second quarter. With the score 28-28 at half time the game was on as the offences did not disappoint on the build up on their path to record setting game. Wisconsin came out on top in the 3rd quarter after another TD and a field goal while their defence was able to hold the Ducks back to only a TD. Then the Ducks took control in the fourth as Lavasier Tuinei scored his second TD of the game to put the Ducks ahead for good. They added a field goal near the end of the game and the Badgers looked to get back into the game. As the clock wound down the Badgers ran to the line an attempted a spike to stop the clock and give them one more opportunity to score. Wilson could not get the snap off in time though and the Ducks won the game ending a 95 year Rose Bowl drought. Both teams combined for 83 points, the most in any Rose Bowl, but the Ducks got the best of the game sending Oregon Seniors out with a big win.

 

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

#3 Oklahoma State Cowboys 41 – 38 Stanford Cardinal #4 (OT)

With the Rose Bowl setting a standard the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl took the front stage as the second bowl of the New Year’s Day. The Fiesta Bowl was built as one of the most exciting bowls this year with two high powered offences ready to break records. They had their work cut out for them with the Valero Alamo Bowl already breaking records earlier in the bowl season. The hype came thanks to two QBs that had the ability to take over a game and put up big numbers. For the Cardinal it was Andrew Luck, Heisman runner-up and potential 1st overall draft pick in this year’s NFL draft, who used his tight ends better than anyone in the NCAA. For Oklahoma State it was Brandon Weeden who had surprised everyone this year leading the best passing attack in the NCAA along with the best wide receiver in the NCAA Justin Blackmon. The game started with the predictions looking wrong as the first quarter saw both defences dominate the game. The stalemate came back throughout the first quarter though as Stanford was the only team to break through. Then the second quarter saw the offences take over the game as the defence began to disappear. Stanford added another TD to go ahead 14-0 but OSU did not go away that easily. Brandon Weeden finally broke through the Stanford defence. Weeden and Blackmon showed why they were the best passing pair in the NCAA this year as they broke through the secondary for a 43 yard TD and then a 67 yard TD to tie the game up. Then the back and forth started with both teams matching TDs and FGs throughout the rest of the game. The end of the game saw OSU needing a TD to tie the game and force overtime and this time it was not the passing game but instead Joseph Randle who got the TD and tied the game. OSU took advantage of their possession in OT kicking a field goal, after Stanford missed a field goal at the end of the game and in OT. The game did not break any records but it did end up living up to some of the hype and did even more for two players. Andrew Luck looked great as he proved to be ready for the NFL come the draft while Justin Blackmon declared for the draft after the win and after a great performance that solidified his spot as the top receiver in the draft.

 

Allstate Sugar Bowl

#13 Michigan Wolverines 23 – 20 Virginia Tech Hokies #11

The Allstate Sugar Bowl was the most controversial of both bowls as Michigan and Vriginia Tech were seen by many as not worthy to play in a BCS Bowl. Many other teams could have been put into this game but the reality was these teams would be the opponents and would play for the Sugar Bowl. Both teams put the controversy behind them and looked to play the game as each team was essentially looking for the same thing. Both Michigan and Virginia Tech had been near or at the top of the NCAA at one point but lately they had fallen below their usual spots. With a win in the Sugar Bowl one of these teams would be on their way back to the top next year as it could guarantee them a high ranking in the preseason polls. The biggest focus in the game was how well Michigan QB Denard Robinson would do and if he could take over the game like he had done so many times before. The defences took charge in this game though as they finally proved that defences still exist in the NCAA after two offensive heavy games in the BCS. The game was a stalemate from the start with The Hokies getting out to an early lead with two field goals. Michigan came back in the second though as Denard Robinson threw for a TD while the specials teams added a field goal to go ahead 10-6 at halftime. Michigan continued the second half from where they left off when Robinson threw his second passing TD. The Hokies would not go away though as they kicked a field goal and added a TD in the 4th quarter. Michigan added a field goal in the fourth to go ahead near the end of the game. Then with two second left in the game the Hokies tied up the game with a field goal to force overtime. The overtime started with Virginia Tech missing a field goal and giving the ball back to the Wolverines. Michigan took advantage as they kicked a field goal to win the game in a thrilling Sugar Bowl. The stats were almost unbelievable but not for good reasons as Michigan became the only third team in the last eight seasons to win a bowl game without getting 200 yards only earning 184 yards. The Hokies also did everything they could to try and stop the Wolverines limiting Denard Robinson 1 yard rushing taking away one of the biggest aspects of the game but it was not enough. The defence was displayed in this game as offence took a break for the first time in the BCS.

 

Discover Orange Bowl

#23 West Virginia Mountaineers 70 – 33 Clemson Tigers #15

The Orange Bowl featured two teams that seemed to be on the path to a great offensive matchup. Both offences were led by their QBs as West Virginia looked towards Geno Smith while Clemson looked to Tajh Boyd to lead their offence. The game looked to be another shootout for the BCS bowls as many expected these two strong offences to have a back and forth battle. The game started as expected with both offences taking control going TD for TD in the first quarter. The back and forth first quarter ended with the Tigers ahead 17-14 with the game looking as advertised. The second quarter saw a shift in momentum though as West Virginia began to take over the game. The Mountaineers added two TDs in the second quarter before Clemson could respond with any points. The Mountaineers continued to keep the momentum scoring another three TDs in the end of the second quarter. West Virginia took over the game and never look back as they continue to dominate going into half time. The second half started just as the first had finished with West Virginia scoring two more TDs until the Tigers finally got back into the endzone scoring a TD. It was too little too late though as the Mountaineers were already ahead 63-20 before the TD. The Mountaineers went on to continue to punish the Clemson defence eventually ending the assault at 70 points. West Virginia led the charge towards tying or breaking 9 Bowl game records on their way to the dominant win. They broke the record for most points in a quarter with 35 and most points in a game with 70 as they made no mistake in showing everyone that they were the better team and making a statement for next year. They also combined with Clemson to score the most points in a half with 69 in the first half of the game. Geno Smith also tied a number of records including most TDs and most points for an individual player. Clemson was run out of the game as they completed a disappointing season where it seemed like they would be making a run at the National Championship but fell just short. It was the biggest margin of victory in any BCS game this year as it became the worst bowl game in terms of competitiveness but was still fun to watch them try to stop the offence.

 

Bowl Scores:

Ticketcity Bowl:

#19 Houston Cougars 30 – 14 Penn State Nittany Lions #20

– Case Keenum made sure his last game in the NCAA was a great one as he led the best offence in the NCAA against a very good pass defence and completely ripped through the secondary as he threw for 3 TDs and 532 yards

 

Outback Bowl:

#17 Michigan State Spartans 33 – 30 Georgia Bulldogs #16 (3OT)

– The Spartans were shut out in the first half as the Bulldogs looked to be on their way to a bowl win but Michigan State would not give up scoring 27 points in the second half that finished off with a Kirk Cousins led 4th quarter comeback and three overtimes where the Spartans came out on top

 

Capital One Bowl:

#9 South Carolina Gamecocks 30 – 13 Nebraska Cornhuskers #20

– The Gamecocks looked to be in a tight battle at the start of the game as they went down 13-9 after one quarter and then their defence stepped up not allowing anymore points as South Carolina finished the rout

 

Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl:

Florida Gators 24 – 17 Ohio State Buckeyes

– In a matchup of Urban Meyer’s old school against his future school the Gators consistently scored including a 99 yard kick return by Andre DeBose as he helped the Gators get back to winning in the Gator Bowl

 

AT&T Cotton Bowl:

#6 Arkansas Razorbacks 29 – 16 Kansas State Wildcats #8

– The Razorbacks made sure the BCS noticed them after they felt they were good enough to make a BCS bowl this year as they took on the surprising and also BCS Potential K-State Wildcats with the Razorback coming out on top and tying a program best 11 wins in the season

 

BBVA Compass Bowl:

SMU Mustangs 28 – 6 Pittsburgh Panthers

– SMU continued to become a good team years after their program was taken away for two years as they routed the Pitt Panthers thanks to a big 21 point first quarter and a great defence that did not allow a TD all game

 

GoDaddy.com Bowl:

Northern Illinois huskies 38 – 20 Arkansas State Red Wolves

– The Huskies took advantage of 5 Arkansas State turnovers to give star QB Chandler Harnish the opportunity to guide a comeback, despite leaving the game early for a injury and returning, after the Huskies fell behind 13-0 early in the game

 

BCS National Championship Game:

#1 LSU Tigers vs. #2 Alabama Crimson Tide

Monday January 9th; 8:30 pm

– A rematch of the November 5th 9-6 game won by the LSU Tigers where no TDs were scored thanks to the two best defences in the NCAA will be for much more as the SEC rivals will fight it out again this time for the biggest game of them all

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