2008-2009 Bowl Rankings - The Duds & Classics
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Texas QB Colt McCoy
Posted Jan 9, 2009

Which bowl games were the classics and which were the duds? From the blowouts to the unforgettable, here's the CFN ranking of all 34 bowl games after a strong post-season.

2008 - 2009 Bowl Rankings

From the best to the worst this bowl season

- 2008 - 2009 Bowl Central: Previews, Recaps, 5 Thoughts & More 

The Duds
These gave fuel to the too-many bowls argument.

34. 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl
LSU 38 … Georgia Tech 3

LSU marched on the opening drive finishing with a two-yard Charles Scott touchdown run. Georgia Tech cut the margin to 7-3 on a 24-yard Scott Blair field goal late in the first quarter, and then the rout was on. That field goal was the only fun the Yellow Jackets would have as the Tigers scored 28 second quarter points, and scored the final 31 points of the game, with two short Scott scoring runs, a 25-yard Richard Dickson touchdown catch, and a 17-yard run from Keiland Williams. The Tigers defense didn’t let the Tech running game get going, allowing just 164 yards while forcing three turnovers.
Player of the Game: LSU LB Perry Riley made 11 tackles and a tackle for loss.
Stat Leaders: Georgia Tech - Passing: Josh Nesbitt, 8-24, 150 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Jonathan Dwyer, 10-67. Receiving: Jonathan Dwyer, 3-66
LSU - Passing: Jordan Jefferson, 16-25, 142 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Charles Scott, 15-65, 3 TD. Receiving: Richard Dickson, 4-50, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Chick-fil-A Bowl …Georgia Tech’s Morgan Burnett led all tacklers with 14 with 1.5 tackles for loss … Total offense: LSU 324 yards – GT 314 … Passing: LSU 17-of-27 – GT 8-of-25 … Average yards per punt return: LSU 18 – GT 5.5 … Second quarter: LSU 143 yards – GT 45. Time of possession: LSU 10:07 – GT 4:53.

33. 2009 GMAC Bowl
Tulsa 45 … Ball State 13

In a rain storm, the Tulsa offense had no problems, racking up 632 yards with Tarrion Adams leading the way with touchdown runs of one, 56, and 11 yards. Ball State managed to keep it close early on a 17-yard Nate Davis scoring run, but the offense failed to get into the end zone over the final 49 minutes. The Cardinals only managed two Ian McGarvey field goals the rest of the way, while Tulsa dominated the second half with 21 unanswered points on two David Johnson touchdown passes and Adams’ final scoring dash.
Player of the Game: Tulsa RB Tarrion Adams ran 19 times for 207 yards and three touchdowns, and WR Damaris Johnson caught six passes for 135 yards and a touchdown, ran three times for 76 yards, and retuned three kickoffs for 63 yards. 
Stat Leaders: Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 9-29, 145 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 16-35. Receiving: Briggs Orsbon, 3-46
Tulsa - Passing: David Johnson, 15-25, 193 yds, 3 TD
Tarrion Adams, 19-207, 3 TD. Receiving: Damaris Johnson, 6-135, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the GMAC Bowl
… Total offense: Tulsa 632 – BSU 223 … Rushing yards: Tulsa 439 – BSU 78 … Third down conversions: Tulsa 9-of-18 – BSU 2-of-15 … 2nd half time of possession: Tulsa 21:24 – BSU 8:36 … Average yards per punt return: BSU 38 – Tulsa 4.3 … First downs: Tulsa 30 – BSU 9 … Ball State’s Alex Knipp made 13 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a sack.

32. 2008 St. Petersburg Bowl
South Florida 41 ... Memphis 14

USF had no problem winning what amounted to a home game as Matt Grothe threw three touchdown passes, starting out with a 26-yard scoring pass to Taurus Johnson, and Ben Williams ran for a thee-yard score on the way to a 24-7 lead. Memphis stayed in it in the first half with a three-yard touchdown pass from Arkelon Hall and a two-yard touchdown pass to Duke Calhoun with eight seconds left in the half, but that would be it. USF scored 17 unanswered points in the second half while the defense finished up holding Memphis to just 238 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: South Florida QB Matt Grothe completed 17-of-24 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns, and he led the team with 83 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Stat Leaders: South Florida - Passing: Matt Grothe, 17-24, 236 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Matt Grothe, 15-83. Receiving: Carlton Mitchell, 4-60
Memphis - Passing: Arkelon Hall, 15-31, 154 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 12-48. Receiving: Duke Calhoun, 6-39, 1 TD
Inside The Boxscore ... 5 Thoughts on the St. Petersburg Bowl ... Rushing yards: USF 232 - Memphis 66 ... USF QB Matt Grothe became the Big East's all-time leader in total offense. He's only a junior. ... USF's Tyrone McKenzie led all defenders with 11 tackles with a tackle for loss. ... Average yards per kickoff return: USF 35.5 - Memphis 17.1. ... Time of possession: USF 34:24 - Memphis 25:16.

31. 2009 Outback Bowl
Iowa 31 … South Carolina 10

Iowa’s defense forced five turnovers and Shonn Greene ran for three scores in a surprising rout. The Hawkeyes came out with a 13-play drive that ate up the first 7:21 on the clock finishing with a Trey Stross touchdown catch from six yards out, and then Greene went work with two one-yard scoring runs and an 11-yard dash, to go along with an 18-yard Daniel Murray field goal, on the way to a 31-0 lead after three quarters. South Carolina got a few late scores highlighted by a 10-yard touchdown catch from Jared Cook, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Player of the Game: Iowa RB Shonn Greene ran 29 times for 121 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Chris Smelley, 16-31, 179 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Stephen Garcia, 5-25. Receiving: Kenny McKinley, 6-86
Iowa - Passing: Ricky Stanzi, 13-19, 147 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Shonn Greene, 29-121, 3 TD. Receiving: Brandon Myers, 4-49
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Outback Bowl …South Carolina starting QB Stehen Garcia completed 9-of-18 passes for 79 yards and three interceptions ... USC LB Jasper Brinkley came up with 11 tackles and an interception … Iowa’s Tyler Sach made two interceptions … Rushing yards: Iowa 181 – USC 43 … Penalties: South Carolina 10-100 – Iowa 6-50 … Time of possession: Iowa 35:54 (11:09 in the first quarter) – South Carolina 24:06

30. 2008 Texas Bowl
Rice 38 … Western Michigan 14

It was supposed to be a shootout and only one team showed up. Rice was up 38-0 in the fourth quarter thanks to a variety of trick plays including a 13-yard touchdown pass from WR Jarett Dillard to QB Chase Clement. Clements also ran for a 26-yard touchdown and threw three touchdown passes, including an 18-yarder to Dillard and a 45-yarder to James Casey that was intended for Dillard. The potent WMU offense finally got going when the outcome had been decided with two Tim Hiller touchdown passes in the final 6:33.
Player of the Game: Rice QB Chase Clement completed 30-of-44 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns, led the team with 72 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and caught a pass for 13 yards and a score. 
Stat Leaders: Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 19-42, 198 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Brandon West, 15-56. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 6-92
Rice - Passing: Chase Clement, 30-44, 307 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Chase Clement, 12-72, 1 TD. Receiving: Jarett Dillard, 8-86, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Texas Bowl …Western Michigan S Louis Delmas led all tacklers with 10 stops, seven of them solo … Third down conversions: Rice 13-of-20 – WMU 3-of-14 … Time of possession: Rice 38:29 – WMU 21:31 … Total yards: Rice 455 – WMU 278 … First half yardage: Rice 283 – WMU 90

29. 2008 Champs Sports Bowl
Florida State 42 … Wisconsin 13

Derek Nicholson took a batted ball 75 yards for a touchdown for the first of two long FSU defensive scores, the second being a 51-yard fumble recovery for a score from Dakota Watson, and Christian Ponder threw two touchdown passes in the rout. The Badgers kept the game close in the first half, but the Noles managed to go 47 yards in the final minute of the first half with a 15-yard Greg Carr catch with seven seconds to play to take the lead for good. The Noles answered a 41-yard Philip Welch field goal with a 28-point scoring run starting off with a six-yard Antone Smith touchdown run. The Badgers finally got into the end zone on a 20-yard Elijah Theus caught with just over four minutes to play.
Player of the game: Florida State P/PK Graham Gano averaged 48.2 yards per punt on five punts with four put inside the 20 and two at the one. 
Stat Leaders: Wisconsin - Passing: Dustin Sherer, 9-16, 132 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: P.J. Hill, 15-140. Receiving: Garrett Graham, 3-62
Florida State - Passing: Christian Ponder, 18-31, 199 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Carlton Jones, 4-55, 1 TD. Receiving: Greg Carr, 8-78, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Champs Sports Bowl …Third down conversions: FSU 10-of-17 – UW 2-of-10 … Time of possession: FSU 35:08 – UW 24.52. … Turnovers: UW 3 (all fumbles) – FSU 0 … Wisconsin’s average starting field position in the first half: its own 1. … Derek Nicholson had two recovered fumbles for FSU.

28. 2008 Hawaii Bowl
Notre Dame 49 ... Hawaii 21

Jimmy Clausen set Notre Dame bowl records for completing percentage, passing yards and touchdown passes as he threw for five scores with three going to Golden Tate from 69, 18, and 40 yards out on the way to a 42-7 lead midway through the third quarter. Hawaii kept it close early on with a 10-yard Aaron Bain touchdown catch to cut the early lead to 14-7, but Tate and Clausen went to work with two scores to close out the first half including a back-of-the-end-zone grab with one second to play. Bain scored a second time on a 21-yard pass play late in the third, but Armando Allen immediately answered with a 96-yard kickoff return for a score. Allen also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the third quarter.
Player of the game: Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen completed 22-of-26 passes for 401 yards and five touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Notre Dame - Passing: Jimmy Clausen, 22-26, 401 yds, 5 TD
Rushing: Robert Hughes, 17-55, 1 TD. Receiving: Golden Tate, 6-177, 3 TD
Hawaii - Passing: Greg Alexander, 23-39, 261 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Kealoha Pilares, 2-19. Receiving: Aaron Bain, 8-109, 2 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Hawaii Bowl … Sacks: ND 8 for 55 yards - Hawaii 2 for eight yards. ... Jimmy Clausen completed 18-of-21 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns in the first half ... Hawaii LB Solomon Elimimian led all tacklers with nine stops to go along with a sack. ... The two teams combined to convert 7-of-24 third down chances. ... Average yards per kickoff return: ND 44.3 on three tries, Hawaii 18.7 on seven chances. ... Rushing yards: ND 65, averaging 1.9 yards per try. Hawaii ran for 32 yards, averaging 1.7 yards per try.

The Mediocre
They had their moments, but these were bowl games. No more, no less.

27. 2009 International Bowl
Connecticut 38 … Buffalo 20

Connecticut overcame five first half fumbles with 358 rushing yards and a stifling defense that held Buffalo to just 24 rushing yards and 237 yards overall. Buffalo was able to take advantage of the early mistakes to get up 20-10 helped by a fumble recovery off a muffed punt by Ray Anthony Long for a score, and a four-yard James Starks touchdown run off a fumble on the ensuing kickoff after a A.J. Principe 29-yard field goal game UB the lead. But it was all UConn from then on scoring 28 unanswered points with Tyler Lorenzen running for two short touchdowns and hitting Steve Brouse for a four-yard score. The Husky defense finished things off with Dahna Deleston picking off a Willy pass for a 100-yard touchdown.
Player of the Game: Connecticut RB Donald Brown ran 29 times for 261 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 29-43, 213 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: James Starks, 14-25, 1 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 8-90
Connecticut - Passing: Tyler Lorenzen, 4-6, 49 yds, 1 TD
Donald Brown, 29-261, 1 TD. Receiving: Kashif Moore, 1-18
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the International Bowl … Passing yards: UB 213 – UConn 49 … Rushing yards: UConn 358 – UB 24 … UB’s Davonte Shannon made 15 tackles and a tackle for loss … Third down conversions: UConn 4-of-9 – UB 2-of-17 … Average yards per kickoff return UConn 25.6 – UB 15.7 … Fumbles: UConn 6, lost five – UB 0.

26. 2008 Insight Bowl
Kansas 42 … Minnesota 21

KU’s Dezmon Briscoe scored on the first play of the game on a 60-yard catch, and he didn’t stop there finishing with 14 catches with two more touchdown catches from six and 32 yards out. Minnesota answered the first score with two short Jon Hoese touchdown runs, and then Todd Reesing went to work leading the Jayhawks to a 28-point run with three touchdown passes, including a four-yarder to Kerry Meier, and Meier, a former quarterback, connected with Briscoe for a 32-yard score in the third quarter. The Gophers kept pushing with a six-yard Eric Decker touchdown catch early in the fourth, but the Jayhawks put it away with a two-yard Jake Sharp touchdown run.
Player of the Game: Kansas WR Dezmon Briscoe caught 14 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Minnesota - Passing: Adam Weber, 19-34, 176 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Adam Weber, 12-31. Receiving: Eric Decker, 8-149, 1 TD
Kansas - Passing: Todd Reesing, 27-35, 313 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jake Sharp, 16-64, 1 TD. Receiving: Dezmon Briscoe, 14-201, 3 TD
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Insight Bowl …Mike Rivera made 14 tackles for KU. Joe Mortensen made 13 stops … KU’s James Holt made three tackles … Third down conversions: KU 6-of-10 – Minn. 3-of-13 … Total yards: KU 446 – Minn. 331 … KU’s Kerry Meier caught 10 passes for 113 yards and a score … Average yards per play: KU 6.9 – Minn. 4.5

25. 2008 Independence Bowl
Louisiana Tech 17 … Northern Illinois 10

In an occasionally ugly defensive struggle, Louisiana Tech got a 97-yard kickoff return from Phillip Livas as an answer to an eight-yard Kyle Skarb touchdown catch in the first quarter to tie it at seven, and then it took the lead for good with an 11-yard Daniel Porter touchdown run in the second. The two teams traded field goals in the third quarter, while three turnovers and inefficiency wouldn’t allow the Huskies to get closer than seven.
Player of the game: Louisiana Tech WR Phillip Livas caught four passes for 18 yards and returned a punt 97 yards for a score. 
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Chandler Harnish, 20-40, 186 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Chad Spann, 14-79. Receiving: Matt Simon, 6-44
Louisiana Tech - Passing: Ross Jenkins, 12-27, 144 yds
Rushing: Daniel Porter, 18-78, 1 TD. Receiving: Phillip Livas, 4-18
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Independence Bowl …Louisiana Tech LB Weldon Brown led all defensive players with 14 tackles with an interception and a fumble recovery … Third down conversions: NIU 7-of-16 – Tech 2-of-14. … Total yards: NIU 339 – LT 236. … First quarter time of possession: NIU 11:46 – LT 3:14. … Punts put inside the 20: LT 4 – NIU 0.

24. 2009 Orange Bowl
Virginia Tech 20 … Cincinnati 7

Cincinnati marched 72 yards on its first drive finishing with a brilliant 15-yard touchdown catch from Mardy Gilyard for a 7-0 Bearcat lead less than two minutes into the game. And then it was all Darren Evans and all Tech defense. Evans finished with 153 yards and a six-yard touchdown, putting the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, but it was Tyrod Taylor who sparked the run of 20 unanswered points with a 17-yard scoring dash in the second quarter. Dustin Keys added field goals from 43 and 35 yards when long Tech drives stalled for all the points the team would need to stay ahead, as the defense came up with four interceptions, including one in the end zone, and a goal line stand stuffing UC QB Tony Pike on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter.
Player of the Game: Virginia Tech RB Darren Evans ran 28 times for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Cincinnati - Passing: Tyrod Taylor, 13-22, 140 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Darren Evans, 28-153, 1 TD. Receiving: Danny Coale, 3-52
Virginia Tech - Passing: Tony Pike, 16-33, 239 yds, 1 TD, 4 INT
Jacob Ramsey, 4-34. Receiving: Mardy Gilyard, 7-158, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Orange Bowl …Turnovers: UC 4 – VT 1 … Rushing yards: VT 258 – UC 71 … Time of possession: VT 39: 39 – UC 20:21 … Sacks: VT 3 – UC 1 … UC DE Terrill Byrd made 11 tackles, a sack and four tackles for loss … Four different Hokies came up with interceptions.

23. 2009 Capital One Bowl
Georgia 24 … Michigan State 12

Georgia and Matthew Stafford sputtered thorough an ugly first half, only managing a 32-yard Blair Walsh field goal while MSU got two Brett Swenson field goals. The third quarter didn’t start out much better, but the defense held the MSU running game in check just long enough for Stafford to get hot. He threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Michael Moore and a 21-yarder to Aron White in the final three minutes of the third quarter for a 17-6 lead, but the Spartans were able to get back into the game with a one-yard Javon Ringer run midway through the fourth. And then Georgia put it away going 67 yards on 11 plays in just over five minutes with Stafford and Knowshon Moreno hooking up for a 21-yard touchdown.
Player of the Game: Georgia QB Matthew Stafford completed 20-of-31 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.
Stat Leaders: Michigan State - Passing: Brian Hoyer, 18-34, 169 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Javon Ringer, 20-47, 1 TD. Receiving: B.J. Cunningham, 6-52
Georgia - Passing: Matthew Stafford, 20-31, 250 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Knowshon Moreno, 23-62. Receiving: Michael Moore, 6-97, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Capital One Bowl …Michigan State LB Greg Jones led the way with 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss … Nine different Bulldogs came up with a tackle for loss, and six came up with sacks … Michigan State’s Aaron Bates put four of his five punts inside the 20. … Time of possession: Each team had the ball for 30 minutes. … Average rushing yards per play: Georgia 2.5 – MSU 0.9 … Sacks: Georgia 6 for 40 yards – MSU 2 for 15.

22. 2008 Sun Bowl
Oregon State 3 … Pitt 0

Oregon State’s Justin Kahut hit a 44-yard field goal with just over two minutes to play in the first half, and that was it for scoring. Pitt was held to just 178 yards of total offense and was thoroughly dominated by the Oregon State defensive front, yet it had two late chances to tie it. Conor Lee missed a 58-yard field goal, and a last drive at midfield was snuffed out. Oregon State made 10.5 tackles for loss and five sacks, with Victor Butler coming up with four, but it’s not like the Beaver offense provided much help. With star RB Jacquizz Rodgers out, the OSU running game was held to 80 yards.
Player of the Game: Oregon State DE Victor Butler made 11 tackles, four sacks, five tackles for loss, and forced and recovered a fumble.
Stat Leaders: Pitt - Passing: Bill Stull, 7-24, 52 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: LeSean McCoy, 24-85. Receiving: Dorin Dickerson, 2-37
Oregon State - Passing: Lyle Moevao, 21-42, 193 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Jeremy Francis, 15-76. Receiving: Sammie Stroughter, 6-88
Inside The Box Score ...  - 5 Thoughts on the Sun Bowl …Scott Ransom and Scott McKillop each made 11 tackles for the Panthers … Oregon State P Johnny Hekker averaged 45 yards on his ten kicks and put five inside the 20 … Third down conversions: OSU 3-of-17 – Pitt 2-of-15 … Punts: OSU 10-for-450 yards – Pitt 10-for-429 … Total offense: OSU 273 – Pitt 178 … The two teams combined to turn it over five times … Yards per carry: OSU 2.7 – Pitt 2.4

21. 2008 EagleBank Bowl
Wake Forest 29 ... Navy 19

Wake Forest overcame a 13-0 deficit as Josh Adams ran for scores from four and five yards and Riley Skinner, who hit all 11 of his passes, connected with Ben Wooster on an eight-yard touchdown pass halfway through the fourth quarter for the lead. Navy failed to get the offense moving again, and Rich Belton was able to put the game away for the Demon Deacons with a 35-yard scoring dash with 54 seconds to play. Navy opened up the early lead on Matt Harmon field goals from 40 and 47 yards out and a 50-yard fumble recovery for a score from Rashawn King. The Navy offense finally got into the end zone in the fourth quarter on a two-yard run from Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, but the defense failed to hold. Late in the game, down 10, Navy tried a 48-yard field goal with 33 seconds to play with the hope of having time left to get an onside kick and then score a touchdown, but Harmon missed.
Player of the game: Wake Forest QB Riley Skinner completed all 11 of his passes for 166 yards and a touchdown, and he ran seven times for 29 yards.
Stat Leaders: Navy - Passing: Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, 2-7, 32 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, 15-83, 1 TD. Receiving: Tyree Barnes, 2-32
Wake Forest - Passing: Riley Skinner, 11-11, 166 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Kevin Harris, 24-136. Receiving: D.J. Boldin, 4-66
Inside The Boxscore ... 5 Thoughts on the EagleBank Bowl | Wake Forest outgained Navy 239 yards to 221 on the ground. ... Navy LB Ross Pospisil led all tacklers with 13, and he forced a fumble. Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry led Wake Forest with eight stops. ... Alphonso Smith picked off a Navy pass in the first half. It was the 21st of his career, an ACC record. ... Total offense: Wake Forest 405 yards - Navy 253.

20. 2008 Las Vegas Bowl
Arizona 31 ... BYU 21

Arizona broke open the tight game with a 37-yard Delashaun Dean touchdown catch midway through the third quarter and a 24-yard scoring grab from Chris Gronkowski to take the lead for good bringing the program its first bowl win since 1998. Willie Tuitama, who threw two touchdown passes, closed out the 21-point run by weaving his way six yards for a score to put the game away. Tuitama connected with Terrell Turner for a 71-yard pass play to set up the first score of the game, a one-yard Nicolas Grigsby run, and picked apart the Cougar secondary in the second half. BYU managed to outgain the Wildcats, and had a 14-10 lead in the third quarter on a one-yard Andrew George catch, but penalties and turnovers proved costly.
Player of the game: Arizona QB Willie Tuitama completed 24-of-35 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: BYU - Passing: Max Hall, 30-46, 328 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Harvey Unga, 17-71, 1 TD. Receiving: Austin Collie, 11-119
Arizona - Passing: Willie Tuitama, 24-35, 325 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Nic Grigsby, 20-87, 1 TD. Receiving: Terrell Turner, 7-111
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Las Vegas Bowl ... Arizona WR Mike Thomas became the Pac 10's all-time leading receiver making his 259th career catch on the final play of the game. ... BYU WR Austin Collie tied the NCAA record with his 11th straight 100-yard game. He caught 11 passes for 119 yards. ... Penalties: BYU 10 for 76 yards - Arizona 7 for 54. ... Each team had three turnovers.

The Above-Average
Entertaining, solid bowl games.

19. 2008 Holiday Bowl
Oregon 42 … Oklahoma State 31

Oklahoma State controlled the first half, taking a 17-7 lead into the locker room highlighted by a 33-yard Dez Bryant touchdown catch, but Oregon came out of the second half roaring with a big kickoff return leading to the first of three Jeremiah Masoli touchdown runs. The Duck quarterback blasted over OSU defenders on his way to a 41-yard touchdown run a few minutes later, and the shootout was on. OSU was able to keep pace with the second short Kendall Hunter touchdown run and a one-yard Zac Robinson scoring run, and then the Duck running game took over with LaGarrette Blount ending the fun with a 29-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes to play. The Ducks ran for 307 yards with Jeremiah Johnson getting 76 of them on a first quarter touchdown run. Both Robinson and Bryant were hurt and tried to play through their injuries.
Player of the Game: Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli completed 18-of-32 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and he ran 16 times for 106 yards and three touchdowns. In a losing cause, Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant caught 13 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma State - Passing: Zac Robinson, 27-50, 329 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Zac Robinson, 16-54, 1 TD. Receiving: Dez Bryant, 13-167, 1 TD
Oregon- Passing: Jeremiah Masoli, 18-32, 258 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jeremiah Johnson, 12-119, 1 TD. Receiving: Terence Scott, 8-125
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Holiday Bowl …S Patrick Chung led the Ducks with 10 tackles … Rushing yards: Oregon 307 – OSU 119 … Average yards per play: Oregon 7.8 – OSU 5.3 … Time of possession: OSU 36:26 – Oregon 23:34 … Each team converted just one of three third down conversion attempts. … Total offense: Oregon 565 – OSU 469.

18. 2009 Rose Bowl
USC 38 … Penn State 24

USC took advantage of Penn State mistakes to take a 31-7 halftime lead. Mark Sanchez threw four touchdown passes on the day starting out with a 27-yard throw to Damian Williams, but Penn State answered right back with a nine-play, 80-yard drive finishing with a nine-yard Daryll Clark touchdown run. And then it was all USC scoring 24 straight points including a six-yard Sanchez touchdown run and scoring strikes from 19 yards out to Ronald Johnson and a 20-yarder to C.J. Gable in the final minute following a Stephfon Green fumble. Penn State kept fighting in the second half with two Daryll Clark touchdown passes, but USC stayed comfortably ahead with a 45-yard touchdown catch from a wide-open Johnson. A USC punt snap snafu gave the ball to Penn State deep in Trojan territory in the final moments with a chance to cut the lead to seven, but Clark’s last second pass was picked off.
Player of the Game: USC QB Mark Sanchez completed 28-of-35 passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns and he ran seven times for 16 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Penn State - Passing: Daryll Clark, 21-36, 273 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT,
Rushing: Stephfon Green, 10-57. Receiving: Stephon Green, 5-67
USC - Passing: Mark Sanchez, 28-35, 413 yds, 4 TD
Stafon Johnson, 15-63. Receiving: Damian Williams, 10-162, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ... ... 5 Thoughts on the Rose Bowl Fiu's Quarter-by-Quarter, Play-by-Play Game Notes …Penn State LB Navarro Bowman made eight tackles, a sack, and five tackles for loss … Total yards: USC 474 – Penn State 410 … Penalties: Penn State 9-for-72 – USC 6-for-60 … Average yards per carry: Penn State 4.7 – USC 1.7 … Third down conversions: USC 7-of-14 – Penn State 5-of-12.

17. 2009 Cotton Bowl
Ole Miss 47 … Texas Tech 34

Texas Tech appeared to be well on its way to an easy win with a 14-0 first quarter lead on a 35-yard Edward Britton touchdown catch and a Darcel McBath interception return for a score, but Ole Miss came back with two Jevan Snead touchdown passes, getting a brilliant catch from Mike Wallace from 41 yards out. Snead connected with Gerald Harris for a 21-yard score on the way to a 24-21 first half lead, helped by Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell coming up just short on a long run at the end of the half. Marshay Green came up with a 65-yard interception for a touchdown as part of a 24-point Rebel run of points, and then the defense came up big with a safety while allowing just a 12-yard Edward Britton touchdown catch in the second half before giving up a late 17-yard Eric Morris scoring grab when the game was out of reach. .
Player of the Game: Ole Miss RB Dexter McCluster ran 14 times for 97 yards and a touchdown, and he led the team with six catches for 83 yards.
Stat Leaders: Texas Tech - Passing: Graham Harrell, 36-58, 364 yds, 4 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Shannon Woods, 6-46. Receiving: Eric Morris, 10-89, 1 TD
Ole Miss - Passing: Jevan Snead, 18-29, 292 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Brandon Bolden, 11-101, 1 TD. Receiving: Dexter McCluster, 6-83
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Cotton Bowl …Graham Harrell set the NCAA record for most career touchdown passes, 134, and was the first player to throw for over 5,000 yards twice. … Michael Crabtree caught four passes for 30 yards and a score. … Texas Tech’s Brandon Williams made four tackles with two sacks and three tackles for loss … The two teams combined to convert 16-of-29 third down chances … Red zone scores: Ole Miss 3-of-3 – Texas Tech 4-of-7. … Total yards: Ole Miss 515 – Texas Tech 469

16. 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl
Rutgers 29 … NC State 23

NC State was rolling in the first half as Owen Spencer took a pass from Russell Wilson 44 yards for a touchdown and Andre Brown ran for a five-yard score on the was to a 17-6 lead. But Wilson was knocked out for the game with a sprained knee and the Wolfpack offense, outside of an eight-play, 64-yard drive ending in a 16-yard Anthony Hill touchdown catch from Daniel Evans, went into the tank with Wilson out. Mike Teel and the Rutgers offense heated up with 23 second half points as Tiquan Underwood came up with an 11-yard touchdown catch in the third and Kenny Britt caught a 42-yard scoring pass to give the Scarlet Knights the lead for good. The Rutgers placekicking was rocky, but San San Te finished with three field goals including a 24-yarder in the final minute.
Player of the game: Rutgers QB Mike Teel completed 22-of-37 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. 
Stat Leaders: NC State - Passing: Russell Wilson, 11-23, 186 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Russell Wilson, 8-46. Receiving: Jarvis Williams, 7-126
Rutgers - Passing: Mike Teel, 22-37, 319 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Joe Martinek, 9-58. Receiving: Kenny Britt, 6-119, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the PapaJohns.com Bowl …Turnovers: NC State 4 – Rutgers 1 … Net yards per punt: Rutgers 28 – NC State 4.5 … Total offense: Rutgers 437 yards – NC State 363 … 2nd half time of possession: Rutgers 19:58 – NC State 10:02. … Rutgers made 8 tackles for loss, NC State made 7.

15. 2008 New Mexico Bowl
Colorado State 40 ... Fresno State 35

Colorado State tore off 619 yards of total offense highlighted by a 69-yard touchdown catch from Rashaun Greer with seven minutes left in the game for a 33-28 lead, and Gartrell Johnson put it away with a 77-yard scoring dash. Fresno State got two, two-yard touchdown runs from Anthony Harding and scoring dashes from one and 69 yards out from Lonyae Miller, but the defense couldn't hold down the Ram offense in the second half. CSU went on a 20-0 run for the late lead, but the Bulldogs were able to come up with a 44-second scoring drive after the the final Johnson scoring dash with Ryan Skidmore catching a seven-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute to play. CSU backup RB Kyle Bell recovered the onside kick to seal the Ram win.
Player of the game: Colorado State RB Gartrell Johnson ran 27 times for 285 yards and two touchdowns, and he led the team in receiving with five catches for 90 yards.
Stat Leaders: Fresno State - Passing: Tom Brandstater, 13-23, 186 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Anthony Harding, 18-120, 2 TD. Receiving: Seyi Ajirotutu, 3-81
Colorado State - Passing: Billy Farris, 17-29, 257 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Gartrell Johnson, 27-285, 2 TD. Receiving: Gartrell Johnson, 5-90
Inside The Boxscore ... 5 Thoughts on the New Mexico Bowl ... Down 21-13 late in the first half, Colorado State went for the end zone getting a 22-yard Kory Sperry touchdown catch with two seconds to play ... CSU's Ricky Brewer led all defenders with 10 tackles and two tackles for loss. ... Average yards per rush: CSU 9.3 - Fresno State 6.4. ... CSU fumbled the ball three times and didn't loss any. ... Fresno State's Anthony Harding ran for 120 yards and two touchdowns averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and Lonyae Miller ran for 113 yards and two scores averaging 8.7 yards per carry.

14. 2008 Motor City Bowl
Florida Atlantic 24 ... Central Michigan 21

Florida Atlantic took advantage of a roughing the pass penalty with a 52-yard touchdown pass from Rusty Smith to Chris Bonner midway through the third quarter, but it was an 18-yard scoring grab from Cortez Gent that put the Owls ahead for good. Central Michigan made a furious late rally. Down 11, the Chippewas passed up a field goal attempt to go for it on fourth down late in the fourth, but missed. They got the ball back and marched 34 yards in 1:09 with Dan LeFevour connecting with Antonio Brown from 15 yards out for the touchdown, and pulled within three on the two-point conversion throw to Kito Poblah. But FAU recovered the onside kick and was able to run out the final 3:09.
Player of the game: Florida Atlantic QB Rusty Smith completed 20-of-35 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Central Michigan - Passing: Dan LeFevour, 28-40, 253 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Dan LeFevour, 14-56. Receiving: Antonio Brown, 11-92, 1 TD
Florida Atlantic - Passing: Rusty Smith, 20-35, 306 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Charles Pierre, 16-77. Receiving: Cortez Gent, 7-98, 1 TD
Inside The Boxscore ... 5 Thoughts on the Motor City Bowl ... Bobby Seay made 14 tackles for CMU, Frantz Joseph made 13 stops for FAU. ... Total yards: FAU 418 - CMU 380. ... Sacks: CMU 4 for 25 yards - FAU 1 for 6. ... The two teams combined to convert 8-of-25 third down chances. ... Average yards per completion: FAU 15.3 - CMU 9.0. ... CMU WR Antonio Brown had 13 yards rushing, 92 receiving, with a score, 38 yards on punt returns and 75 on kickoff returns.

13. 2008 Armed Forces Bowl
Houston 34 … Air Force 28

Houston got out to a 17-7 first quarter lead helped by one-yard touchdown runs from Bryce Beall and Case Keenum, but Air Force fought its way back with Eric Herbort running for a five-yard touchdown and Ryan Harrison hitting field goals from 44 and 37 yards out. But every time Air Force appeared to be getting over the hump, the Cougars came up with the drive and score needed to pull away with Keenum connecting with Andre Kohn catching a 13-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth for a 31-20 lead. But the Falcons wouldn’t go away, getting a two-yard Jared Tew touchdown run and forcing a Houston fumble in the end zone to stay alive, but the offense failed to get the passing game going on the late last gasp drive.
Player of the Game: Houston RB Bryce Beall ran 22 times for 135 yards and a touchdown, and he caught four passes for 92 yards.
Stat Leaders: Air Force - Passing: Eric Herbort, 7-14, 98 yds
Rushing: Jared Tew, 27-149, 2 TD. Receiving: Spencer Armstrong, 2-60
Houston - Passing: Case Keenum, 22-33, 252 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Bryce Beall, 22-135, 1 TD. Receiving: Tyron Carrier, 5-49
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Armed Forces Bowl …Houston LB Marcus McGraw made 15 tackles with a forced fumble and a tackle for loss, and C.J. Cavness made 15 tackles … Air Force LB Chris Thomas led all defenders on 16 tackles with two tackles for loss … Time of possession: Air Force 38:07 – Houston 21:53 … 2nd quarter time of possession: Air Force 13:24 – Houston 1:36 … Third down conversions: Houston 7-of-13 – Air Force 11-of-22 … Average yards per play: Houston 6.4 – Air Force 3.1

12. 2008 Music City Bowl
Vanderbilt 16 … Boston College 14

Vanderbilt’s offense was held in check all game long, gaining just 200 yards, but good field position and timely defense led the way to the win. Bryan Hahnfeldt hit all three of his field goal attempts and Sean Richardson recovered a fumble in the end zone for all the Commodores’ points. BC came up with a 17-play first half drive culminating in a four-yard Montel Harris touchdown catch, and Colin Larmond caught a 55-yard touchdown pass with less than seven minutes to play for the lead, but Vandy went on its best drive of the day, 48 yards in seven plays, setting up Hahnfeldt from 45 yards out with 3:26 to go. The Commodore defense did the rest forcing BC to turn the ball over on downs and picking off a late pass in Eagle territory.
Player of the Game: Vanderbilt PK Bryan Hahnfeldt hit all three field goal attempts connecting from 42, 26 and the game-winner from 45 yards out
Stat Leaders: Boston College - Passing: Dominick Davis, 15-36, 190 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Montel Harris, 15-68. Receiving: Montel Harris, 5-25, 1 TD
Vanderbilt - Passing: Larry Smith, 10-17, 121 yds
Rushing: Chris Nickson, 8-57. Receiving: Udom Umoh, 3-29
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Music City Bowl …Total offense: BC 331 – Vanderbilt 200 … Average yards per carry: BC 3.7 – Vanderbilt 2.2 … Third down conversions: BC 7-of-17 – Vanderbilt 1-of-15 … First downs: BC 17 – Vanderbilt 8 … Turnovers: BC 3 – Vanderbilt 0 … Penalties: BC 3 for 34 yards – Vanderbilt wasn’t penalized … Vanderbilt first downs by rushing 2, passing 4, penalties 2.

The Excellent
Fantastic games that were among the stars of the bowl season.

11. 2009 Liberty Bowl
Kentucky 25 … East Carolina 19

In a strange game with three missed extra points, a few critical replay calls on fumbles, and streaky offensive production, ECU took a 16-3 halftime lead helped by a 28-yard Brandon Simmons touchdown run and a 80-yard Darryl Freeney scoring play. And then UK took over right away out of the locker room with David Jones taking the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and Kyrus Lanxter scoring from 13 yards out to tie it. With the score tied at 19, after the two teams traded field goals, Ventrell Jenkins picked up a fumble with just over three minutes to play and took it 56 yards for a touchdown, complete with a devastating stiff arm on ECU QB Patrick Pinkney. Review looked at the play, as it looked like Jenkins’ knee was down, but the play was upheld. The extra point was blocked, meaning ECU needed a touchdown and an extra point to win, but the last drive failed to gain a yard.
Player of the Game: Kentucky DT Myron Pryor made seven tackles, a sack, and forced the fumble that led to the game-winning score.
Stat Leaders: East Carolina - Passing: Pat Pinkney, 18-36, 296 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Brandon Simmons, 10-44, 1 TD. Receiving: Davon Drew, 5-120
Kentucky - Passing: Mike Hartline, 19-31, 204 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Tony Dixon, 28-89. Receiving: Kyrus Lanxter, 5-46, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Liberty Bowl …Total yards: ECU 397 – UK 310 … Third down conversions: UK 7-of-17 – ECU 3-of-15 … PATs: UK 1-of-3 – ECU 1-of-2 … ECU LB Nick Johnson led the defenders with 13 tackles … ECU’s Linval Joseph made seven tackles with three tackles for loss and a sack … UK had eight tackles for loss and three sacks, with LB Braxton Kelley making eight tackles, a sack, and 2.5 tackles for loss … ECU’s Darryl Freeney caught five passes for 112 yards and a score.

10. 2008 Alamo Bowl
Missouri 30 … Northwestern 23 OT

Missouri overcame a sluggish and sloppy performance to win in overtime on a seven-yard Jeremy Maclin touchdown catch. Northwestern went backwards on its overtime possession, with a fumble forcing a fourth down Hail Mary into the end zone, picked off by William Moore. Mizzou got the spark it needed with a minute left in the first half on a 75-yard Maclin punt return for a score, but the Wildcats answered right away coming out of the locker room on a 46-yard touchdown catch from Ross Lane Northwestern got three touchdown passes from C.J. Bacher including a 35-yarder to Eric Peterman to start the scoring and a 23-yard to Ross Lane to give the Wildcats a 23-20 lead. Jeff Wolfert made three field goals for Missouri, including a 37-yarder to tie it up with just under three minutes to play, but he missed a 44-yarder with no time left on the clock to force overtime.
Player of the Game: Missouri LB Sean Weatherspoon made 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, half a sack, broke up a pass, and made two quarterback hurries. 
Stat Leaders: Northwestern - Passing: C.J. Bacher, 27-43, 304 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Sutton, 29-114. Receiving: Rasheed Ward, 7-101, 1 TD
Missouri - Passing: Chase Daniel, 27-44, 200 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Derrick Washington, 15-44. Receiving: Chase Coffman, 7-67
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Alamo Bowl …Third down conversions: NU 11-of-21 – Mizzou 7-of-16 … Sacks: Mizzou 5 for 43 yards – NW 1 for 1 … Total offense: NU 376 – MU 311 … Chase Daniel threw three interceptions and was outpassed by C.J. Bacher 304 yards to 200 … 2nd quarter time of possession: NU 12:24 – Mizzou 2:36.

9. 2008 Emerald Bowl
California 24 … Miami 17

Zack Follett forced a fumble deep in Miami territory leading to a two-yard touchdown catch from Anthony Miller to break a 17-17 tie with 2:41 to play. Miami had one final shot but stalled with poor time management and poor decision making wasting away time to get into range for a shot into the end zone. Cal appeared to be on the verge of blowing the game out early after Jahvid Best scoring runs from one and 42 yards out, but Miami came back to make it a game with a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive with the first of two Jacory Harris short touchdown passes. The two teams traded field goals before Harris lost the late fumble.
Player of the game: California RB Jahvid Best ran 20 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns 
Stat Leaders: Miami - Passing: Jacory Harris, 25-41, 194 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Graig Cooper, 12-63. Receiving: Chris Zellner, 8-48
California - Passing: Nate Longshore, 10-21, 121 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Jahvid Best, 20-186, 2 TD. Receiving: Nyan Boateng, 3-27
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Emerald Bowl …Cal’s Zack Follett made nine tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss and forced the fumble that would lead to the game-winning score. … Third down conversions: Miami 7-of-19 – Cal 2-of-11 … Time of possession: Miami 34:05 – Cal 25:55. … Average yards per carry: Cal 7.2 – Miami 4.7. … Total plays: Miami 73 – Cal 51. … First downs: Miami 17 – Cal 11.

8. 2008 Humanitarian Bowl
Maryland 42 … Nevada 35

In a fun shootout, Maryland’s DaRel Scott came off the bench after being benched for over two quarters for missing curfew and ran for 174 yards with scores of 49 and two yards out to break a 28-28 tie. Nevada came back with a 15-yard Colin Kaepernick touchdown run with just over two minutes to play, but the Pack never got the ball back. Kaepernick played through a sprained ankle to throw three touchdown passes including a 17-yarder to Vai Taua in the third and a 21-yarder to Marko Mitchell in the fourth to tie it up before Scott went to work. Chris Turner threw two touchdown passes for the Terps, Morgan Green ran for a 53-yard second quarter touchdown, and Torrey Smith answered an early Nevada touchdown with a 99-yard kickoff return for a score.
Player of the Game: Maryland RB DaRel Scott ran 14 times for 174 yards and two touchdowns in just over a quarter. 
Stat Leaders: Nevada - Passing: Colin Kaepernick, 24-47, 370 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Vai Taua, 23-101, 1 TD. Receiving: Mike McCoy, 13-172
Maryland - Passing: Chris Turner, 13-27, 198 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: DaRel Scott, 14-174, 2 TD. Receiving: Ronnie Tyler, 5-55, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Humanitarian Bowl …Maryland LB Alex Wujciak made 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss .... Each team had three turnovers … Rushing yards: Maryland 258 – Nevada 114 … Third down conversions: Maryland 4-of-14 – Nevada 8-of-18 … Sacks: Maryland 3 – Nevada 2

7. 2009 Sugar Bowl
Utah 31 … Alabama 17

Utah came out roaring going 68 yards in five plays and 1:19 with Brian Johnson connecting with Brent Casteel from seven yards out. Matt Asiata ran for a two-yard score, and Bradon Godfrey caught a 18-yard touchdown pass on the way to a 21-0 Ute lead. Alabama appeared ready to rally with a 52-yard Leigh Tiffin field goal and a 73-yard punt return for a score from Javier Arenas to cut the lead to 11 going into the locker room, and after recovering a Johnson fumble, the Tide got a four-yard Glen Coffee touchdown catch to pull within four. But Utah answered on the ensuing drive with David Reed catching a 28-yard touchdown pass. Alabama wouldn’t threaten again, mostly because Utah’s defensive line dominated with eight sacks, taking advantage of Bama being down to its third string left tackle.
Player of the Game: Utah QB Brian Johnson completed 27-of-41 passes for 336 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Alabama - Passing: John Parker Wilson, 18-30, 177 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Glen Coffee, 13-36. Receiving: Julio Jones, 7-77
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 27-41, 336 yds, 3 TD
Matt Asiata, 13-29, 1 TD. Receiving: Freddie Brown, 12-125
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Sugar Bowl Quarter-by-Quarter, Play-by-Play Game Notes … Rushing yards: Alabama 31 – Utah 13 … Fourth quarter time of possession: Utah 11:29 – Bama 3:31 … Sacks: Utah 8-for-53 yards – Bama 2-for-10 yards … Penalties: Utah 10-for 91 – Bama 7-for-67 … Alabama’s Marquis Johnson led all players with nine tackles. … Alabama’s Bobby Greenwood made five tackles, a sack, two tackles for los and recovered a fumble.

6. 2009 Gator Bowl
Nebraska 26 … Clemson 21

Nebraska was awful early and great late. Clemson took a 14-3 lead into halftime on a 28-yard fumble return for a score from DeAndre McDaniel and a 25-yard Aaron Kelly touchdown catch, and then the Huskers turned it on with four straight scores in the third quarter. Clemson got a 41-yard Jacoby Ford touchdown catch to answer a brilliant 17-yard Nate Swift scoring grab, but the Huskers scored the final 16 points of the game. Todd Peterson kicked off the run with a 19-yard touchdown catch, and then it was all defense with Clemson holding the Huskers to three Alex Henery field goals, a 28-yarder late in the third proving to be the game-winner, and Nebraska finishing with just four rushing yards allowed. Clemson had the ball late with one last shot, but its drive stalled on the Nebraska 26 with a misfire to Jacoby Ford with 1:32 to play.
Player of the Game: Nebraska DT Ndamukong Suh made eight tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss, and came up with a blocked kick.
Stat Leaders: Clemson - Passing: Cullen Harper, 17-37, 206 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: James Davis, 12-26. Receiving: Aaron Kelly, 6-74
Nebraska - Passing: Joe Ganz, 19-36, 236 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Quentin Castille, 18-125. Receiving: Todd Peterson, 4-96, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Gator Bowl …Rushing yards: Nebraska 125 – Clemson 4 … Third down conversions: Nebraska 7-of-19 – Clemson 3-of-16 … Red Zone Scores: Nebraska 3-of-3 – Clemson 1-of-3 … Sacks: Nebraska 5-for-44 yards – Clemson 0-for-0 … Clemson’s Chris Clemons led all defenders with 10 tackles.

5. 2008 Poinsettia Bowl
TCU 17 ... Boise State 16

TCU overcame a 13-0 deficit with a 17-point run with a 16-yard Aaron Brown touchdown run with 24 seconds left to play in the first half, a 32-yard Ross Evans field goal in the third, and a 17-yard Joseph Turner scoring dash midway through the fourth. Boise State answered with a 10-play drive culminating in a 33-yard Kyle Brotzman field goal, his third field goal of the game, with under five minutes to play. The Bronco offense had two final chances with the first one halted by a Stephen Hodge interception of Kellen Moore, and the second one, with six seconds to play, stopped as Matt Panfil stole the ball on a desperation hook-and-lateral attempt. Boise State started off the scoring with two Brotzman field goals and a 20-yard Ian Johnson touchdown run.
Player of the game: TCU S Stephen Hodge made 11 tackles, one sack, an interception, and three tackles for loss
Stat Leaders: Boise State - Passing: Kellen Moore, 22-35, 222 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Ian Johnson, 7-28, 1 TD. Receiving: Jeremy Childs, 7-61
TCU - Passing: Andy Dalton, 22-35, 197 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Aaron Brown, 14-102, 1 TD. Receiving: Walter Bryant, 6-67
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Poinsettia Bowl … Boise State's Jeron Johnson led all tacklers with 14 stops and an interception ... Third down conversions: TCU 9-of-18 - Boise State 3-of-11. ... Time of possession: TCU 36:07 - Boise State 23:53 ... Rushing yards: TCU 275 - Boise State 28. ... TCU DE Jerry Hughes was held to one sack, but it came on a key play late in the fourth quarter

4. 2008 New Orleans Bowl
Southern Miss 30 ... Troy 27 OT

Southern Miss, got a blocked field goal from Michael McGee in overtime to overcome an awful start, and the loss of its star WR DeAndre Brown to a broken leg, for the win. The offense rallied with the final 13 points of the game including a 39-yard Britt Barefoot field goal in overtime that doinked off the upright and through. To get into the extra time, USM got a 35-yard touchdown catch from Jonathan Massey with :20 top play and a 46-yard field goal from Barefoot to tie it with just under three minutes to play. Troy had one final shot in regulation, but a potential Hail Mary attempt was stopped by a sack. Troy started out well with Jorrick Calvin batting down a bad USM option pitch and taking it 17 yards for a score on the first drive of the game, and got up 10 in the second half on a six-yard run on a direct snap to Jernel Jernigan before USM took over.
Player of the game: Southern Miss PK Britt Barefoot hit all three of his field goal attempts from 38, 46 to tie the score in the fourth, and the game-winner from 39. He hadn't hit a field goal longer than 29 yards all year.
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 30-24, 276 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 14-78, 1 TD. Receiving: Gerald Baptiste, 5-88, 1 TD
Troy - Passing: Levi Brown, 26-43, 255 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: DuJuan Harris, 19-52. Receiving: Jernel Jernigan, 9-65
Inside The Boxscore ... 5 Thoughts on the New Orleans Bowl … Boris Lee made 13 tackles and two sacks for Troy, while Southern Miss star LB made 11 stops with a sack. ... Third down conversions: Troy 10-of-18 - USM 6-of-15 ... Net yards per punt: Troy 40.3 on three punts - USM 16 on four punts. ... Each team had four sacks ... First quarter time of possession: USM 10:16 - Troy 4:44, but Troy led 14-7 going into the second.

3. 2008 Meineke Care Care Bowl
West Virginia 31 … North Carolina 30

Pat White became the first starting quarterback to win four bowl games as he battled for his first 300-yard passing game of his career. He connected on three touchdown passes with a 44-yard strike to Alric Arnett and a 35-yard pass to Bradley Starks in a wild first quarter, and he threw a laser beam to Arnett for a 20-yard score to give the Mountaineers the lead midway through the fourth. White had to be amazing to overcome a huge day from UNC WR Hakeem Nicks, who caught three touchdown passes with a deflected pass that went for a 73-yard first quarter touchdown, a 66-yard scoring play, and a 25-yard touchdown catch. But the West Virginia defense stiffened as the Tar Heels only managed a four-yard T.J. Yates touchdown run to take the lead in the third. An interception from Pat Lazear stopped UNC’s final drive.
Player of the game: West Virginia QB Pat White completed 26-of-32 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and in a losing cause, North Carolina WR Hakeem Nicks caught eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: North Carolina - Passing: T.J. Yates, 15-25, 211 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Shaun Draughn, 17-65. Receiving: Hakeem Nicks, 8-217, 3 TD
West Virginia - Passing: Pat White, 26-32, 332 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Noel Devine, 13-61, 1 TD. Receiving: Alrick Arnett, 7-93, 2 TD
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the Meineke Car Care Bowl …North Carolina’s Quan Sturdivant led all tacklers with 11. … Third down conversions: WMU 12-of-19 – UNC 5-of-11. … Offensive plays: WVU 74 – UNC 55. … Sacks: UNC 4 – WVU 1. … Total yards: WVU 455 – UNC 370.

The Classics
All-timers that will always be remembered.

2. 2009 BCS Championship  
Florida 24 … Oklahoma 14

Florida PK Jonathan Phillips broke a 14-14 tie with a 27-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, and following an interception from Ahmad Black, the Gator offense marched 76 yards in 11 plays with Tim Tebow hitting David Nelson with a jump-pass from four yards out for a game-clinching touchdown. Tebow started off the scoring with a 20-yard pass to Louis Murphy, but OU answered 2:13 later on a six-yard touchdown catch from Jermaine Gresham. The Sooners marched down near the goal line on two more drives, but were stuffed on two plays from the one to halt one march, and a Sam Bradford pass was batted and bounced into the hands of Major Wright at the end of the half. The Gators took the lead late in the third on a two-yard run by Percy Harvin off a direct snap, but OU tied it up in the fourth on an 11-yard Gresham catch. Florida was able to answer right back with a 68-yard drive culminating in the Phillips field goal, which turned out to be the winning points to give the Gators their second national title in three years.
Player of the Game: Florida QB Tim Tebow completed 18-of-30 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions and ran 22 times for 109 yards. 
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 26-41, 256 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Chris Brown, 22-110. Receiving: Jermaine Gresham, 8-62, 2 TD
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 18-30, 231 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Percy Harvin, 9-122, 1 TD. Receiving: Aaron Hernandez, 5-57
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the BCS Championship
Quarter-by-Quarter, Play-by-Play Game Notes … Rushing yards: Florida 249 – OU 107 … Passing yards: OU 256 – UF 231 … Fourth quarter time of possession: UF 10:57 – OU 4:03 … Third down conversions: UF 12-of-17 – OU 6-of-13 … Florida CB Joe Haden made 10 tackles and broke up two passes. … OU S Nic Harris made 11 tackles and an interception.

1. 2009 Fiesta Bowl
Texas 24 … Ohio State 21

The defensive battle turned into a heart-stopping thriller over the final few minutes as Colt McCoy finished off a 78-yard drive in the final 1:42 with a 26-yard touchdown pass to Quan Cosby with :16 to play. Ohio State had taken the lead on a 15-yard Dan Herron scoring run with 2:05 to play as part of a Buckeye run of 15 straight fourth quarter points after a rough third quarter. OSU slowed the game down in the first half on the way to a 6-3 lead, helped by an Anderson Russell interception to stop a late UT drive, but the third quarter was all Texas as McCoy ran for a 14-yard score and hit Cosby for a seven-yard touchdown to cap off two long drives. Ohio State’s final shot to score was stopped by a Brian Orakpo sack and a broken up Hail Mary attempt.
Player of the Game: Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 41-of-59 passes for 414 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and he ran seven times for 27 yards and a score, and WR Quan Cosby caught 14 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Ohio State - Passing: Todd Boeckman, 5-11, 110 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Chris Wells, 16-106. Receiving: Brian Robiskie, 5-116
Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 41-59, 414 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Chris Ogbonnaya, 11-42. Receiving: Quan Cosby, 14-171, 2 TD
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Fiesta Bowl
Fiu's Quarter-by-Quarter, Play-by-Play Game Notes … Ohio State CB Chimdi Chekwa made 11 tackles, all solo. … Texas fourth down conversions: 3-of-4 … Rushing yards: OSU 203 – UT 72 … Punts inside the 20: OSU 4 – UT 0 … Average yards per carry: OSU 5.2 – UT 2.6 … Terrelle Pryor completed 5-of-14 passes for 66 yards, ran for 78 yards on 15 carries, and caught a five-yard touchdown pass … Texas WR Jordan Shipley caught 10 passes for 78 yards.