It Ain't Over Till It's Over-A Theme for the Liberty Bowl
The Bowl Blitz
International Bowl South Florida 27, Northern Illinois 3
- After 1 carry in the first half, the South Florida Bulls fed RB Mike Ford the ball in the second half and he rewarded them with a career high 207 rush yards. Ford scored a TD in the 4th quarter and helped South Florida bust the scoring wide open after a 3-3 tie at half.
- Northern Illinois struggled to move the ball and got 4 of their 11 first downs on the FG drive in the first half and 2 first downs on a missed 52 yard FG attempt in the second half. The 52 yard FG would have tied Mike Salerno's career long from a 2008 win over Bowling Green.
- The Big East is now 4-0 in the International Bowl (aptly named as it is the only current bowl played outside of the United States). The closest game was the inaugural International Bowl in 2007 in which Cincy (then led by Coach Brian Kelly-he only coached the bowl game) defeated Western Michigan 27-24. The Big East has won the other International Bowls by at least 22 points. The Northern Illinois Huskies have lost 3 consecutive bowl games.
Papajohns.com Bowl UConn 20, South Carolina 7
- UConn's Kashif Moore made a great one-handed grab (which you can see here) to open the scoring in the game. UConn led 13-0 at halftime and pushed the lead out to 20-0 before South Carolina finally scored with 3:24 remaining in the game.
- Unlike the Capital One (mud) Bowl, the playing conditions at Legion Field were fine but the offenses still struggled. The teams managed only a combined 458 yards of offense compared to 519 yards on 15 punts.
- The Big East is 4-0 in the Papajohns.com Bowl with an average win margin of 11.5 points. The Huskies are now 3-1 in bowl games. South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier is 1-3 in bowl games with the Gamecocks and his bowl record fell to 7-9 overall.
Cotton Bowl Oklahoma State 7, Ole Miss 21
- This one was a turnover fest. The teams combined for 12 turnovers (7 by Oklahoma State). The QB's threw for a combined 8 INTs and only 1 TD. 21 of the 28 points in the game were scored after turnovers. Ole Miss also missed a FG following a Zac Robinson INT.
- Ole Miss' Senior RB Dexter McCluster had 185 yards rushing and 2 TDs on 34 carries. He also caught 5 passes for 45 yards. McCluster became the only SEC player to gain more than 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in a season. He also threw his first career completion, a TD (a crucial score against LSU), this season. Neither starting QB threw a TD in the game, the 1 TD pass came from Oklahoma State RB Keith Toston.
- The Ole Miss Rebels won 2 consecutive Cotton Bowls and have won 4 of 5 Cotton Bowl appearances. The Oklahoma State Cowboys are now 0-2 against Ole Miss in the Cotton Bowl. This was the first Cotton Bowl played in the new Cowboys Stadium.
Liberty Bowl Arkansas 20, East Carolina 17, Overtime
- The temperature during this game in Memphis was below freezing. The weather played a huge role in the kicking game. The teams' kickers combined to go 3/8 (ECU's Ben Hartman was 1/5 including 2 misses to win in regulation).
- Arkansas trailed 10-0 at halftime. The Razorbacks only scored 1 offensive TD (a Ryan Mallett TD pass to tie the game in the 4th quarter) and went 0/13 on 3rd downs.
- The TV broadcast prematurely handed out the player of the game award to ECU RB Dominique Lindsay who rushed for 151 yards and a TD on 33 carries. Lindsay seemingly (Coach Skip Holtz and his kicker were seeing yucking it up on the sidelines) set up his kicker Hartman for a game winning FG on two consecutive drives late in the 4th quarter. Arkansas kicker Alex Tejada hit the game winning FG in overtime after a Hartman miss.
Alamo Bowl Michigan State 31, Texas Tech 41
- Both teams had adversity to overcome in the bowl game. Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill served as interim coach for the bowl game because of the firing of Mike Leach. It was McNeill's first game as college head coach. Some Texas Tech fans booed WR Adam James (who was dressed but didn't play because of injury) and held signs supporting Mike Leach. Michigan State was missing 14 players who were suspended following an incident at the Michigan State dorms in November.
- The game itself was a back and forth offensive shootout with nearly 1,000 (708 passing) total yards combined. Texas Tech QB Taylor Potts threw for an Alamo Bowl record 372 yards passing before injuring his non-throwing hand. Tech backup QB Steven Sheffield entered the game and completed 9/11 passes for 88 yards and the game winning TD. Michigan State's backup QB Keith Nichol caught 2 passes for 11 yards and ran a QB draw for a TD which gave the Spartans a 21-20 lead early in the 3rd quarter. The starter, Kirk Cousins, threw for 220 yards, 1 TD and 2 INTs.
- Texas Tech has played 10 consecutive bowl games and has a 6-4 record in those games. This was Texas Tech's first Alamo Bowl win in their third try. Michigan State lost their 4th straight bowl game and their second Alamo Bowl.
Bowl Challenge Standings
MWC 4-0 1.000 Pt. differential: 41
Sun Belt 1-0 1.000 (Dwight Dasher swagger boost override) Pt. differential: 10
Independents 1-0 1.000 Pt. differential: 22
Big East 4-2 .667 Pt. differential: 5 (big jump with a 2-0 day)
Big 12 4-3 .571 Pt. differential: -12
SEC 5-4 .555 Pt. differential: 25
ACC 3-3 .500 Pt. differential: 24
Big 10 3-3 .500 Pt. differential: 3
C-USA 2-4 .333 Pt. differential: -22
WAC 1-2 .333 Pt. differential: -41
Pac 10 2-5 .286 Pt. differential: 60
MAC 0-4 .000 Pt. differential: -28 (15 consecutive bowl losses since 2006)