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2007-2008 Bowl Notes & Thoughts
Posted Jan 9, 2008

Notes and thoughts on all 32 games from the 2007-2008 bowl season.

Thoughts and Notes on the 2007-2008 Bowls

- Thoughts on the 2006-2007 Bowl Season

2007 Poinsettia Bowl
Utah 35 ... Navy 32

Thoughts & Notes ... It was amazing that Navy was able to stay in the game as long as it did with the Utah defense doing a great job against the run. Yes, the Midshipmen gained 316 yards on the ground, but more often than not, the offense had to deal with second and third and long situations and had a hard time keeping the chains moving. ... As the game went on, it seemed like Utah QB Brian Johnson started to trust his injured shoulder a little bit more. While he avoided several big hits, he started to run harder and harder in the second half. ... Utah never provided the big break Navy needed to change the game around, but it came close on a late fumble that hit the pylon that should've been called a touchback, but wasn't. Instead of having the ball on the 20, Navy had to start on its one after a tough goal line stand. After having to go for it on fourth down, and missing, Utah easily marched for what would turn out to be the game-winning touchdown. ... In his debut as the Navy head coach, Ken Niumatalolo kept things going as usual. Including several gutty calls on fourth down (even though only one worked), it was if Paul Johnson was still on the sidelines.

2007 New Orleans Bowl
Florida Atlantic 44 ... Memphis 27

Thoughts & Notes ... Florida Atlantic held up well against the Memphis lines. While it didn't get to Martin Hankins too often, it pressured him just enough to hurry a few key throws early on, while the Tigers almost never touched Rusty Smith. Smith got time, the FAU receivers ran by the Tiger defensive backs, and it became a simple game of pitch and catch all game long for the Owl attack. ... Memphis needed to run the ball successfully to win, and while it tried to pound the ball in the second half and wear down the smallish Owl defensive front, it became too tempting to stop throwing the ball. That proved to be a problem. Memphis only outgained FAU 117 to 115. ... The Sun Belt has to start getting more and more respect after responding in the spotlight games. FAU didn't just beat Memphis, it won with a breathtaking offensive display. ... Talk about pressure on the rest of the Sun Belt. If Howard Schnellenberger can walk through the door and make a football program form scratch, then why can't the rest of the Sun Belt teams have similar success?

2007 Motor City Bowl
Purdue 51 ... Central Michigan 48

Notes & Thoughts ... Central Michigan's secondary was awful all year long. Curtis Painter was able to throw without a problem with little pass rush to worry about and receiver after receiver getting behind the D. It also helped that the Chippewa defensive back seven couldn't tackle in the first half. ... CMU's Dan LeFevour became just the second player, Florida's Tim Tebow the other, to run and throw for 20 touchdowns in the same season. ... Yeah, Purdue broke its bowl drought and ended the season on a high note, but to struggle to survive against a MAC team it already beat by 23 earlier in the year isn't exactly impressive. If the Boilermakers had choked away the loss, would Joe Tiller be on a red hot seat or would he be gone? ... Defense schmefense. This is what you want in a bowl game. High-octane offense, lousy defense, and a game that goes right down to the wire.

2007 Bowl
Cincinnati 31 ... Southern Miss 21

Thoughts and Notes ...
Southern Miss played hard in head coach Jeff Bower's final game. The defense was flying around against the run, and QB Jeremy Young tried to do his best to keep the team in the game, but Cincinnati was simply the better team. QB Ben Mauk overcame his rough patches, settled down, and showed why he took the team from good to great this year. ... A ten-win season in Brian Kelly's first season has set the bar high. Now Cincinnati has to use a win like this, a relatively easy one over an overmatched team, to go into next year with even more of an attitude. This team should win games. This program should be able to beat average ones when it's not playing its sharpest or its best. ... Southern Miss RB Damion Fletcher will be overshadowed next year if UCF RB Kevin Smith returns as expected, but he's every bit as good. He got a bit banged up early against the Bearcats, but he was able to still carry the offense as both a runner and a receiver. He gained 155 rushing yards, and led the Eagles with seven catches for 50 yards, while UC only gained 71 net yards rushing.

New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico 23 ... Nevada 0
Thoughts and Notes ... New Mexico won its first bowl game since the 1961 Aviation Bowl, and Nevada was shut out for the first time since 1980 and a span of 329 games. ... Nevada got badly outprepared and badly outcoached. The Wolf Pack attack never established any sort of consistency, while the offensive line had a nightmare of a time in pass protection. Will this game serve as a motivating factor for next year? The pieces are in place to be far better, and far more consistent. ... New Mexico might have been missing top RB Rodney Ferguson, but WRs Marcus Smith and Travis Brown turned their games up a notch, and QB Donovan Porterie came up with his best performance as a Lobo. Now the bowl monkey is off the program's back, and it'll be interesting to see if this turns into a confidence-builder in the Rocky Long era. ... Considering there was probably going to be a quarterback battle going into 2008 anyway at Nevada, Colin Kaepernick's 13 of 31, 137-yard game opened things up even more. He hardly staked his claim to the full-time job.

2007 Las Vegas Bowl
BYU 17 ... UCLA 16
Thoughts and Notes ... While BYU certainly won't give the win over UCLA back, but this was hardly a bright shining moment for the Mountain West. The Bruins were down to an untested third string quarterback, is dealing with all the coaching turmoil, and it still came within a an Eathyn Manumaleuna mitt from pulling off the upset. This might not have been enough of a showing for Dwayne Walker to win the UCLA head coaching job, but he had the defense playing at a high level. ... In several ways, this BYU season might have been even more impressive than last year when it ripped through almost everyone. Bronco Mendenhall and his staff got 11 wins out of a team with a less talented offense, and was able to pull off tight wins over UCLA, New Mexico, Utah and TCU. ... If only UCLA had a healthy Ben Olson or Pat Cowan. McLeod Bethel-Thompson wasn't always helped out by his receiving corps, and he did a great job of getting the team in a position to win the game on a great final drive, but he was too inconsistent throughout. ... The pass rushing stars didn't disappoint. UCLA's Bruce Davis played at another level, and BYU's Jan Jorgensen was terrific.

2007 Hawaii Bowl
East Carolina 41 ... Boise State 38

Thoughts & Notes ... Did Boise State start to believe its own hype? After everyone picking the Broncos to walk past East Carolina, the Hawaii Bowl turned out to be a shocker early on as the Pirates and Chris Johnson came out roaring. This appeared to be a fully focused ECU team, but once Boise State settled down, it showed a little of the magic expected with the fantastic comeback. In the end, this wasn't the same Bronco defense as it was in past years, getting shoved around way too easily up front. ... The loss of Ian Johnson to an ankle problem isn't an excuse for Boise's loss, but with the offense already reeling after not having burgeoning star receiver Jeremy Childs, who was out for violating team rules, the team struggled to find a go-to playmaker. Taylor Tharp started to play well late, but he's not the type of quarterback who could carry the offense by himself. ... Lost in the heroics of a last-second field goal for the ECU win, and the wild fourth quarter, was a tremendous day from both punters. ECU's Matt Dodge put it in the end zone four times, but he showed great blast averaging 43.1 yards on seven kicks. Boise State's Kyle Brotzman averaged 42.2 yards on four boots.

2007 Holiday Bowl
Texas 52 ... Arizona State 34
Thoughts & Notes ... The pressure would've been on Mack Brown had the Longhorns lost to Arizona State, and now it'll be on after the team showed what it could do when properly motivated. Playing with an attitude, the offense came out roaring, the entire team appeared to be in it for the full sixty minutes, and now the job will be for everyone to play that way game in and game out in 2008. ... ASU QB Rudy Carpenter spent the week popping off to the Texas team, and he paid the price. The Sun Devil offensive line couldn't come close to keeping Carpenter upright with Texas getting in shot after shot. ... Is there a quarterback controversy at ASU going into next year? While Texas could afford to let up somewhat with the game in hand, ASU backup Danny Sullivan still looked impressive in a relief role completing seven of 14 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He also showed off a much, much better deep arm than Carpenter.

2007 Champs Sports Bowl
Boston College 24 ... Michigan State 21
Thoughts & Notes ... Michigan State lived on ball control offense all year long with a great running game and a mere 13 turnovers, but it gave the ball away five times to BC, only ran for 172 yards, and couldn't find much of an offensive rhythm. It didn't help that Javon Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick each appeared to be bothered by little injuries. ... Even without Jonal Saint-Dic, who was suspended, MSU got consistent pressure on Matt Ryan and came up with three sacks. The defense did enough to win the game allowing just 276 yards with 68 coming on one play. ... BC's defense never let the great MSU backs break off the type of big runs that could've changed the game around. With QB Brian Hoyer struggling, MSU needed Javon Ringer to hit a home run or two, and he didn't. ... MSU star return man Devin Thomas started the game off with a 79-yard kickoff return leading to an early Spartan touchdown, but BC kept him under wraps the rest of the way. A few bobbles helped, but Eagle punter Johnny Ayers had a great game pinning MSU deep.

2007 Emerald Bowl
Oregon State 21 ... Maryland 14
Thoughts & Notes ... Oregon State beat Maryland despite average quarterback play from both Sean Canfield and Lyle Moeavo. To be fair, the offensive line that did a tremendous job for the running game was blown past in pass protection, but the quarterbacks didn't do anything special. That Maryland could sell out against the run and still couldn't stop Yvenson Bernard and James Rodgers showed how tough things were for the defensive front. ... Where was the Maryland running game? The setup was there with big pass plays early on to open things up, but it didn't happen. The Beaver defensive line was dominant, Derrick Doggett led a linebacking corps that cleaned everything up, and the secondary was tight after the first quarter. Bernard and Rodgers will get the headlines, but the defense more than did its job.

Dec. 29
2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl
Wake Forest 24 ... Connecticut 10

Thoughts & Notes ... UConn's defense was solid all season long, and while it forced two turnovers, including a beauty of a hit by Darius Butler to stop a sure touchdown drive, the offense couldn't provide any help. Tyler Lorenzen did the best he could under pressure, but he couldn't make enough plays with his feet, and he struggled to get any consistent offense going. The Huskies simply couldn't get behind, and they did in the second half. ... With 20 wins in the last two years is a lot for anyone, but for Wake Forest, this represents the best era in the school's football history. Jim Grobe continues to be the coach's coach, the one who gets the utmost respect for what he does with less talent than most, but he's had some players over the last few years. Kenneth Moore grew into a top pass catcher, the offensive line has been terrific, and the defense has had a few great college talents here and there. Now the program has expectations, and that's not a bad thing. ... Once the Demon Deacons took control in the second half, never once did it seem like the Huskies had a shot to make a comeback. There were a few chances, and the defense wasn't awful, but the passing game was too off and the ground game didn't provide any pop. Outside of a few big runs, Donald Brown and Andre Dixon never got going.

2007 Liberty Bowl
Mississippi State 10 ... UCF 3

Thoughts & Notes ... Yes, the defenses played great, but the 2007 Liberty Bowl will be remembered for the completely inept offenses. Check that; the completely inept passing games. UCF RB Kevin Smith and MSU RB Antony Dixon were fine, but the two quarterbacks, UCF's Kyle Israel and MSU's Wesley Carroll, were miserable. How bad were the passing attacks? The two quarterbacks combined to complete 18 of 44 passes for 127 yards (with MSU getting just 39) and four interceptions. Credit the defenses for generating plenty of pressure, but the quarterbacks, at this point in the year, needed to be better. ... The storyline around Smith will be about how he didn't set the single-season rushing record, but his 119 yards on the ground should be viewed as the glass being half full. MSU threw everyone at him and he still cranked out 100 yards. ... The offensive numbers: 23 combined first downs. Six of 30 on third downs. 3.1 yards per play for UCF, 3.3 yards per play for MSU.

2007 Alamo Bowl
Penn State 24 ... Texas A&M 17

Notes & Thoughts ... Penn State controlled the game up front, Texas A&M didn't. It's as simple as that. The Aggies needed to win the rushing yard margin by a lot, at least 50 yards, and they were outgained 270 to 164. ... Penn State QB Anthony Morelli struggled in the final game in an interesting career. He got the win, and he came up with a few decent passes, but he was too erratic and didn't take advantage of the coverages A&M showed him. He just never got better over the last few years. ... The unsung heroes were the punters. Penn State's Jeremy Boone averaged 51.4 yards per kick, while Texas A&M's Justin Brantly averaged 55 yards per shot. ... It'll be interesting to see how the Penn State offense revolves around Daryll Clark next year, if he wins the starting job. His running ability might be even more dangerous than former starter Michael Robinson's. ... A&M played hard and played well considering the coaching issues. The Aggies lost to a better team.

2007 Independence Bowl
Alabama 30 ... Colorado 24

Thoughts & Notes ... For about 20 minutes, Alabama QB John Parker Wilson showed why he has the potential to be one of the SEC's best offensive weapons, and then for the last 40 minutes he showed why there might be a big battle for the starting job going into next year. Consistency is his problem, but when he's on, the Bama offense hums. ... Colorado QB Cody Hawkins wasn't always sharp, but he's a gamer, and was tough as nails against a good Tide pass rush, which showed up with decent pressure for one of the few times this year. He did a fantastic of spreading the ball around and taking what the Tide defense gave him. He'll be an interesting player to keep an eye on over the next few years. He's only a freshman. ... This is a young Buff team that's still rebuilding, and while ending the season with a loss is never a positive, it was a good showing after a rough start. ... Nick Saban can breathe a big sigh of relief. Of course he's not an any sort of a hot seat, but after the way the team finished out the regular season with four straight losses, including the gaffe to UL Monroe and the defeat at Auburn, this would've been a disaster had the Tide blown a 27-0 lead. Saban hand the coaching staff had the best of all possible worlds getting the win, but being able to rail on the team all offseason for not putting it away earlier.

2007 Armed Forces Bowl
California 42 ... Air Force 36
Thoughts & Notes ... Cal's win over Air Force was a textbook definition of want-to vs. talent. Air Force came out roaring and with everything working perfectly, and then the Bears turned up their skill level a few notches and roared back for the win. ... Kevin Riley showed why he'll probably be Cal's leader over the next few seasons. Getting time to throw, he worked perfectly with his tremendous receiving corps to spark the comeback, and most importantly once the momentum was all Cal's way, he didn't make mistakes and didn't turn the ball over. ... The option works at the highest levels. Air Force was able to move the ball, but it was the defense that proved to be the problem in the second half. The offense did a nice job of keeping relative control when Cal started bombing away. ... Where was this fight in Cal over the second half of the season? If it had showed the fight and the efficiency it had in the last three quarters against Air Force, it would've been in a much better bowl.

2007 Humanitarian Bowl
Fresno State 40 ... Georgia Tech 28

Thoughts & Notes ... Georgia Tech interim head coach Jon Tenuta didn't exactly come through with a strong defensive gameplan against Fresno State. There was little of the pass rush that dominated at times throughout the year, there were too many big plays allowed, and not enough stops on third downs. Fresno State played a better first half and Tech couldn't scramble to get back. The fight appeared to be there as the game went on, but the Bulldogs were too sharp. ... FSU QB Tom Brandstater has been teetering on the verge of greatness, and this game might be the one that makes him the WAC's signature star going into 2008 (if Boise State's Ian Johnson leaves early). The offensive line gave him time and he came through with a brilliant game. ... Even though the coaching situation made Georgia Tech understandably uneven, this was still a bad, bad loss for the ACC. The WAC has been mediocre in the bowl season, and Fresno State is certainly nothing too special, but the Yellow Jackets got their doors blown off. Fresno State outgained Tech 571 yards to 379.

2007 Sun Bowl
Oregon 56 ... South Florida 21
Thoughts & Notes ... Oregon apparently needed a time out. After the disappointment following the Dennis Dixon injury, and the ugly three-game losing streak to end the season, the team got some time off to regroup and played like the Oregon that was in the national title hunt deep into the season. It started with the lines with tackle Geoff Schwartz and center Max Unger dominated USF front four. ... Where were the South Florida linebackers? Ben Moffitt was non-existent with a mere four tackles and Tyrone McKenzie made ten stops, but not enough meaningful ones. Jonathan Stewart and the Duck runners spent way too much time in the Bull secondary. ... Oregon's only problem was with penalties committing 13 for 138 yards. South Florida committed eight for 64 yards. ... Justin Roper might not be Dixon running the ball, but he showed a little bit of mobility and threw extremely well. It helped that he got time, and it really helped that the Duck running game took away all the attention, but he turned the game into a rout in the third quarter.

2007 Music City Bowl
Kentucky 35 ... Florida State 28
Thoughts & Notes ... Florida State played its guts out. With no depth and missing a slew of starters, the Noles hung tough for a full sixty minutes rarely playing like a short-handed team. ... Kentucky will obviously be happy about getting a second straight Music City Bowl win, but considering the circumstances, this wasn't exactly an impressive performance. The Wildcats should've been able to pound the ball and worn down the FSU defensive front, but couldn't do it. The Noles held on to the ball for almost 11 minutes in the third quarter. ... What is it about Florida State and running the ball in bowl games? After having no ground game last year, it ripped up UCLA in the Emerald Bowl, and this year it struggled all year long on the ground but got 156 yards out of Antone Smith against the Wildcats. ... FSU QB Drew Weatherford needed to be perfect, and he wasn't. To be fair, he didn't get a whole bunch of help on several key plays that could've changed the game. ... Andre Woodson became UK's all-time leader in touchdown passes with 40 for his career after tossing four against the Seminoles. ... Penalties killed Florida State with ten for 102 yards. Kentucky committed seven, but for just 45 yards.

2007 Insight Bowl
Oklahoma State 49 ... Indiana 33
Thoughts & Notes ... Oklahoma State couldn't be going into the offseason on a higher note. After an uneven and inconsistent season, all the parts were working against Indiana with 211 rushing yards and 302 through the air in an offensive explosion that many thought would happen game in and game out. Make no mistake about it; this is Zac Robinson's offense now. The attack revolved around him more and more as the season wore on, and he showed against the Hoosiers that he could be a potential superstar. ... Indiana got whipped on the lines. Early on, Kellen Lewis appeared to be more worried about the OSU defensive front than he was about making plays, and the Hoosier line that was so great at getting into the backfield throughout the year did absolutely nothing to disrupt the OSU offense despite making seven tackles for loss. ... IU's number one priority this offseason has to be getting more of a running game. Lewis can't do it all on his own. Marcus Thigpen is productive when he gets the ball, but he's not a workhorse who'll carry it 25 times a game. ... Building on this is a must for Oklahoma State. Indiana might not be a juggernaut, but getting a win like this sets the bar that much higher for a program with a T. Boone Pickens and his mighty expectations (and checkbook) putting the pressure on.

2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl
Auburn 23 ... Clemson 20 OT

Notes & Thoughts ... For not being any sort of an offensive shootout, this might have been one of the most entertaining of the 207 bowl games. The two defenses played extremely well, while the offenses came though with key drives in the second half just when they needed them. ... Teams have to play the seniors and have to reward years of hard work, but there's no reason to not play next year's quarterback in a bowl like this. Auburn handled the situation perfectly putting in Brandon Cox on key passing drives, and in the most pressure packed situations, and allowed next year's likely main man, Kodi Burns, to sink or swim on several key moments. ... There's no question that James Davis is a next-level back, but why did Clemson only run C.J. Spiller eight times? Spiller was more of a playmaker and appeared to be the quicker of the two rushing options when he was able to get into space, but Davis got the bulk of the workload with 23 carries. Spiller tore off the big 83-yard touchdown run right off the bat and barely touched the ball the rest of the way. ... So what did we learn about Tony Franklin as the Auburn offensive coordinator? Not too much. It's going to be an offseason of immense scrutiny around the Tigers to see if there can be some pop to the passing game along with the running of Burns, if he turns out to be the main man. Cox might not have been anything special, but he came through time and again this year with a good drive when needed.

2008 Outback Bowl
Tennessee 21 ... Wisconsin 17

Thoughts & Notes ... 5 Thoughts on the Outback Bowl ... Erik Ainge was phenomenal on third downs for about three quarters. While the Tennessee offense struggled to keep drives going late in the second half, it finished converting nine of 18 third down chances and killed any Badger defensive momentum time and again... Where were the carries for P.J. Hill? While the Badger rushing star wasn't quite 100%, he was effective every time he touched the ball, and even showed a burst of speed with a 50-yard run. The Wisconsin offensive line got into a lather and was fantastic when it could line up and blast the Tennessee defensive line on rushing plays, but the Badger offense went away from the ground game in too many key spots. ... Tennessee got a pass rush, with three sacks and several big hits on Tyler Donovan, and Wisconsin didn't lay a finger on Ainge for long stretches. That proved to be the difference. ... The Tennessee defensive line had great stretches, but every time the Badgers wanted to run the ball, tackle Kraig Urbik and guard Andy Kemp steamrolled the right side. However, Badger left tackle Gabe Carimi had a rough game.

2008 Gator Bowl
Texas Tech 31 ... Virginia 28

Thoughts & Notes ... 5 Thoughts on the Gator Bowl ... Virginia got pressure early on the Texas Tech passing game and forced several mistakes and misfired. Star WR Michael Crabtree didn't get the ball enough, and there were few long drives. And then the attack woke up in crunch time and went on a tear. The Virginia defense couldn't do anything to slow down the momentum. ... Virginia didn't have much of a passing game, but Jameel Sewell was effective until he was knocked out of the game. .Peter Lalich was effective for a short spurt, but his fumble proved to be too costly to overcome. ... Mikell Simpson once against established himself as one of the premier overall backs in college football. Just a sophomore, he has size, speed, and great hands to become a national star over the next few seasons. ... Texas Tech converted just nine of 20 third down chances, Virginia converted nine of 18.

2008 Cotton Bowl
Missouri 38 ... Arkansas 7
Thoughts & Notes ... 5 Thoughts on the Cotton Bowl ... Talk about your dud matchups, the Heisman stars failed to shine. Darren McFadden wasn't awful with 105 yards and a touchdown, but he was hardly special. Chase Daniel only completed 12 of 29 passes for 136 yards with an interception. ... Arkansas looked like a team that underwent a coaching change. Missouri had no problems stopping the Hog attack time and again, and five turnovers showed just how unfocused the team appeared to be. All the drama about the McFadden agent situation couldn't have helped. .... 7.5 yards per carry for Missouri and 3.3 yards per run for Arkansas. Even in Mizzou's wildest dreams they never could've thought this would happen. Who could've imagined the Tigers winning in such a blowout without any pop from Daniel, Jeremy Maclin and the passing game?

2008 Capital One Bowl
Michigan 41 ... Florida 35

Thoughts & Notes ... 5 Thoughts on the Capital One Bowl ... Michigan took things to a level it hasn't been at in years. It was flying around on defense, dominant on offense, and with Chad Henne and Mike Hart healthy, the attack was unstoppable by everything but turnovers. Sure, wanting to send head coach Lloyd Carr out with a bang was a motivation, but for Henne, Hart and Jake Long, is was about ending their careers with a real, live big win. ... Third down conversions: Michigan 10 of 15, Florida 2 of 11. ... The Florida secondary might be young, but it has to be a whole heck of a lot better going into next year. It gave up too many big plays and had a nightmare of a time against the big Wolverine receivers. ... If Mike Hart had been 100% all season long, would he have won the Heisman? As he showed against the Gators, he's a special player when he gets to control a game.

2008 Rose Bowl
USC 49 ... Illinois 17

Thoughts & Notes ...
5 Thoughts on the Rose Bowl ... The two teams combined for 1,078 yards of total offense with Illinois getting 190 of it 445 on three plays. ... Illinois had no downfield passing whatsoever early on and the USC defensive front seven teed off. The linebackers ate up everything Juice Williams wanted to do. Outside of one big run and the big screen pass to get in scoring range, Rashard Mendenhall almost never got the ball in a place to do anything. ... This was Mendenhall's showcase game. For all the talent on USC, Mendenhall might turn out to be the best pro prospect. He showed speed and hands to go along with his power and cutting ability. ... USC came up with 14 tackles for loss and forced six fumbles, recovering two. The defense was all over the Illinois running game. ... USC ran for 344 yards to 144. Illinois needed that number to be reversed.

2008 Sugar Bowl
Georgia 41 ... Hawaii 10
Thoughts & Notes ... 5 Thoughts on the Sugar Bowl ... Sugar Bowl Stream of Consciousness Quarter By Quarter Game Notes ... The Hawaii offensive line almost got Colt Brennan killed. The Warrior's star quarterback never had time to operate with the Bulldog defense hitting him on seemingly every play and throwing the Hawaii offense off its rhythm all game long. Hawaii might have been overwhelmed by the moment, but the biggest problem was the poor play by the offensive line. ... Lost in the blowout win was the average game by Matt Stafford and the passing game. Thomas Brown only averaged 3.8 yards per carry, but Knowshon Moreno averaged 6.8 yards a pop to get the running game going. They carried the day while Stafford only completed 14 of 23 passes despite having all the time he wanted. ... Because of the sacks, Georgia outgained Hawaii 159 yards to -5 on the ground.

2008 Fiesta Bowl
West Virginia 48 ... Oklahoma 28
Thoughts & Notes ... 5 Thoughts on the Fiesta Bowl ... Fiesta Bowl Stream of Consciousness Quarter By Quarter Game Notes ...Penalties played a huge role. West Virginia committed eight for 110 yards, but OU didn't take full advantage. 13 Sooner sins accounted for 113 yards with several killing promising drives and kick returns. ... Oklahoma looked stunningly unprepared. West Virginia executed perfectly for a full sixty minutes, but OU time and again overran plays, were out of position, and made big mistakes. ... West Virginia wasn't able to maintain the same effectiveness in the pass rush for a full sixty minutes, but it dominated early on and came up with the key hits on Sam Bradford when it had to. ... OU's Curtis Lofton had one of the emptiest 15 tackle games you'll ever see. ... West Virginia averaged 8.9 yards per carry. Let that sink in for a moment.

2008 Orange Bowl
Kansas 24 ... Virginia Tech 21
Thoughts & Notes ... 5 Thoughts on the Orange Bowl ... Orange Bowl Stream of Consciousness Quarter By Quarter Game Notes ... Virginia Tech survived several bad breaks and great Kansas field position by fighting back into the game, but down three, it lost all the momentum by not going for it on a key fourth and short deep in Jayhawk territory in the third quarter, got the field goal attempt blocked, and it was all KU the rest of the way. ... Kansas not only matched the Virginia Tech pass rush, it bettered it five sacks to four. Give a little credit to the mobility of KU QB Todd Reesing, but also credit the Jayhawk defense that showed up with an attitude. ... While Tech came up with some big special teams plays, including a touchdown on a punt return, it lost the battle. KU got the key blocked field goal, got a first down off a fake punt, and got a whale of a game from punter Kyle Tucker, who pinned the Hokies deep time and again. The Hokies didn't connect on their two field goal attempts, and that was the difference.

2008 International Bowl
Rutgers 52 ... Ball State 30

Thoughts & Notes ... It was a more entertaining game than it'll be remembered for. Ray Rice made a great final statement showing he belongs in the 2008 NFL Draft, while Nate Davis had a fantastic day throwing the ball under tremendous pressure throughout. Even though Rutgers had command from the beginning, there was a moment or two in the second half when it looked like the Cardinals had a shot to turn it around. ... Rice was the star of the game, but Mike Teel was terrific. He was on the mark most of the day, and he threw a beautiful, perfect ball to Kenny Britt to seal the win. ... Rutgers came up with six sacks, Ball State one. The Cardinals didn't have the defensive line to hold up against the solid Rutgers offensive front. ... The Scarlet Knights appeared to care from the beginning. This was an overmatched Ball State team, but Rutgers never played like it.

2008 GMAC Bowl
Tulsa 63 ... Bowling Green 7
Thoughts & Notes ... Paul Smith set an NCAA record with his 14th straight 300-yard passing game ... Bowling Green QB Tyler Sheehan was knocked out in the first half with an ankle injury. He still finished as the team's leading rusher. ... This has to be considered among the ugliest bowl games of all-time. Tulsa's normally porous defense didn't let Bowling Green have any sort of a shot by getting into the backfield time and again. The Falcon turnovers made it a laugher, while Todd Graham and the Golden Hurricane coaching staff showed just how prepared they were. All the gadgets, the execution, the defensive pressure; it all worked.

2008 BCS Championship
LSU 38 … Ohio State 24
Thoughts & Notes ... 5 Thoughts on the BCS Championship | BCS Championship Stream of Consciousness Quarter By Quarter Game Notes ... The key to the game was third down conversions. LSU was 11 of 18 getting just about every third and short opportunity, while Ohio State converted three of 13 chances. ... The Buckeyes played a slightly better game than history will give them credit for. All anyone will remember is another national title loss to an SEC team, but they had several chances to turn the game around on both sides of the ball and didn't come through. ... LSU was known as the team that commits penalties, but it only committed four for 36 yards while OSU committed seven for 83 yards including five key personal fouls. ... OSU LB James Laurinaitis made 18 tackles, Marcus Freeman made 14.