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Ranking the 2009/2010 Bowls - The Excellent
Posted Jan 8, 2010

Ranking the 2009/2010 Bowl Season with the best to the worst bowls, here are The Excellent. Fantastic games that were among the stars of the bowl season

Ranking the 2009/2010 Bowls

Recapping the games - The Excellent

- Ranking the 2009/2010 Bowl Season - The Classics  
- Ranking the 2009/2010 Bowl Season - The Good 
- Ranking the 2009/2010 Bowl Season - The Mediocre 
- Ranking the 2009/2010 Bowl Season - The Duds  
- 2008.2009 - Ranking all 34 bowl games from best to worst

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

Texas Tech 41 … Michigan State 31
Steven Sheffield came off the bench to complete 9-of-11 passes for 88 yards with a scoring throw of 11 yards out to Detron Lewis, and two fourth down throws to keep late drives alive to put the game away. Sheffield replaced Taylor Potts, who hurt his finger, but could’ve come back in. Potts bombed away for 372 yards with a two-yard touchdown pass to Lyle Leong and a 15-yarder to Jacoby Franks, but Michigan State was able to keep up the pace with Edwin Baker running for a 46-yard score in the first and Kirk Cousins connecting with Keshawn Martin for a 48-yard touchdown in the second. Martin came up with a fantastic throw on a trick play finding Blair White for an eight-yard touchdown and a late third quarter lead, and Brett Swenson bombed away for a 44-yard field goal for a four point advantage midway through the fourth. Needing a spark, Tech interim head coach Ruffin McNeill put in Sheffield, who was great at a closer. The two teams combined for 975 yards of total offense.
Player of the Game: The combination of Texas Tech QBs Taylor Potts and Steven Sheffield completed 38-of-54 passes for 460 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.
Michigan State: Passing: Kirk Cousins, 13-27, 220 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Edwin Baker, 12-97, 1 TD, Receiving: Blair White, 6-114, 1 TD
Texas Tech: Passing: Taylor Potts, 29-43, 372 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Baron Batch, 22-100, 2 TD, Receiving: Detron Lewis, 10-114, 1 TD
What It All Means: Ruffin McNeill coached a terrific game. The offense was as explosive as it ever could’ve been under Mike Leach, McNeill had a great feel for the team and the game at the right times, and he pushed all the right buttons on the way to a double digit win. The stars were on offense as Taylor Potts had a great game before getting hurt, and Steven Sheffield proved to be the spark needed late, but the defensive ends, Rajon Henley and Brandon Sharpe, each had great games and came up with good pressure when they needed to. Michigan State might have been depleted by suspensions, but this was still a great win under the circumstances.
What It All Means: The Spartans couldn’t come up with one big stop in the final five minutes. The offense was creative and productive, but it failed late with Kirk Cousins throwing a key interception, and the defense couldn’t make a fourth down play get Steven Sheffield and the Tech offense off the field. Even so, considering all the massive losses after the controversial suspension, the team played well and it had its chances to get the win. On the plus side, LB Greg Jones, if this is his last game before turning pro, came up with a strong effort making 13 tackles. However, no pass rush from the defensive front meant the secondary got bombed on.

Penn State 19 … LSU 17
In miserable conditions and a bad field, Penn State got four Collin Wagner field goals with his final one coming from 21 yards away with 57 seconds remaining for a 19-17 lead. LSU had one final chance getting to midfield, but a questionable personal foul call on Lyle Hitt and shaky clock management caused the drive to sputter. Wagner connected on field goals from 26, 18, and 20 yards out and Derek Moye caught 37-yard touchdown pass for a 16-3 Nittany Lion lead, but LSU came back in the second half with Brandon LaFell catching a 24-yard touchdown pass and Steven Ridley running for a one-yard score for the only Tiger lead of the game. But Daryll Clark was able to lead the Nittany Lions 65 yards in 12 plays for the winning score.
Player of the Game: Penn State QB Daryll Clark completed 18-of-35 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown, and he ran 11 times for 20 yards.
LSU: Passing: Jordan Jefferson, 13-24, 202 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Steven Ridley, 12-13, 1 TD, Receiving: Terrence Tolliver, 6-81
Penn State: Passing: Darryl Clark, 18-35, 216 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Evan Royster, 17-65, Receiving: Andrew Quarless, 8-88
What It All Means: LSU is going to be ticked off at the costly penalty late in the game, but it would’ve taken a minor miracle to get into field goal position. In the horrible conditions, the Tigers would’ve had to get to around to 20 to have any prayer. The defense was strong at holding firm on good Penn State drives, forcing four field goals, but when there was a chance to make a big play and a big stop late to close down the sputtering Nittany Lion attack, the Tigers couldn’t do it. The running game went nowhere, netting just 41 yards, but Jordan Jefferson made the most out of his 13 completions throwing for 202 yards. Defensively, Chad Jones had a strong game leading the way with eight tackles.
What It All Means: No one can say that Daryll Clark couldn’t win the big game. In his final shot, he proved he could come through in the fourth quarter. It shouldn’t have come down to the dramatics. Penn State didn’t dominate, but it controlled the game for the first three quarters and couldn’t close things out with touchdowns, instead settling for three early field goals to go along with the early touchdown pass. But the defense kept LSU off the field, allowing just nine first downs, and as questionable as the ending was, the D forced a late drive to stall. Penn State’s O line played better than LSU’s, and that, at least early on, was the difference.

Ohio State 26 … Oregon 17
Terrelle Pryor found Brandon Saine on a 13-yard pass play to start the scoring and helped put the game away on a 17-yard floater to DeVier Posey to put the Buckeyes up nine midway through the fourth. Oregon hung tight all game long with short touchdown runs from Jermiah Masoli and LeGarrette Blount, but the offense failed to get back on the board over the final 26 minutes. Devin Barclay hit two short field goals for the Buckeyes from 19, 30 and 38 yards away, while Aaron Pettrey gave the team a 16-10 lead on the final play of the first half on a 45-yard field goal. Ohio State held on to the ball for 41:37 and outgained the Ducks 419 yards to 260.
Player of the Game: Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor completed 23-of-37 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and he ran 20 times for 72 yards.
Oregon: Passing: Jeremiah Masoli, 9-20, 81 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: LaMichael James, 15-70, Receiving: LaMichael James, 4-25
Ohio State: Passing: Terrelle Pryor, 23-37, 266 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Terrelle Pryor, 20-72, Receiving: Dane Sanzenbacher, 9-64
What It All Means: Finally, Ohio State has shown again that it belongs among the elite of the elite by coming up with a statement in a BCS win. Oregon’s supposedly unstoppable offense was stopped by Ross Homan, who made 12 tackles, and the play of the tackles, Cameron Heyward and Doug Worthington, but it was also stopped by Terrelle Pryor and a Buckeye offense that kept the chains moving and kept the Duck attack off the field. This was the national coming out party for Pryor, and now the expectations will be through the roof for next year as he’s expected to throw like this every game while continuing to carry the attack, at times, with his legs … and he did this with a banged up knee. This game also showed that opening things up can do good things for the Tressel Ball attack.
What It All Means: It’s not like Oregon’s running game was stopped. It averaged 5.4 yards per run, but Jeremiah Masoli only netted nine yards and a touchdown on six carries and struggled with his accuracy completing only 9-of-20 passes for 81 yards and an interception. Oregon couldn’t come up with plays on third downs, converting 2-of-11, while Ohio State converted 11-of-21 chances. OSU made the big things happen when it had to, and Oregon didn’t. But with so much talent returning next year, there’s no reason to believe that the offense will slow down at any point. Everything ended up going right for Ohio State, and the young Oregon team was still in the game in the end.

4. New Mexico Bowl
Wyoming 35 … Fresno State 28 2OT

Austyn Carta-Samuels floated a 13-yard touchdown pass to David Leonard in the second overtime to give Wyoming the lead, and then the D held on forcing Fresno State to turn the ball over on downs to win. Cowboy PK Ian Watts nailed a 37-yard field goal with 20 seconds to play in regulation to send the game to overtime, but he missed his chance to win the game in the first overtime missing a 40-yard field goal after a terrific goal line stand by the UW defense on Fresno State’s opportunity. Leonard also caught an 11-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and Carta-Samuels connected with Greg Bolling for a 21-yard score in the first half. Alvester Alexander gave the Cowboys the early lead on a 68-yard touchdown run, but Ryan Mathews ran for scores from four and five yards away and Jamel Hamler caught scoring passes from ten and 43 yards away to give Fresno State a 28-17 lead. UW scored the final 11 points of regulation.
Player of the Game: Wyoming QB Austyn Carta-Samuels completed 17-of-31 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and he ran 19 times for 71 yards.
Fresno State: Passing: Ryan Colburn, 13-19, 126 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Ryan Mathews, 31-144, 2 TD, Receiving: Jamel Hamler, 7-85, 2 TD
Wyoming: Passing: Austyn Carta-Samuels, 17-31, 201 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Alvester Alexander, 12-137, 1 TD, Receiving: David Leonard, 7-60, 2 TD
What It All Means: Can Austyn Carta-Samuels use this game to propel himself into a huge career? The freshman has been hit-or-miss this year, but he was on against Fresno State and he played like a baller. He made the plays he needed to when the Cowboys were down late, and he showed a steely nerve in overtime making some nice throws including the touchdown pass. The defensive tackles had a nice game, even with Bulldog RB Ryan Mathews ripping off 144 yards and two scores, and when they had to generate pressure, they did. Going into next year, coming up with more firepower is a must and the offense has to be more consistent, but finishing 7-6 with a bowl win is a huge success for the program in Dave Christensen’s first year.
What It All Means: Ryan Mathews got his yards, the offense did what it needed to do to get the lead into the fourth quarter, and there was a chance to put the pressure on in overtime, but the Bulldogs failed to get physical on the goal line in the first overtime, the receivers couldn’t get open in the second, and this has to go down as a major disappointment for a team that wasn’t that bad against mediocre teams this year. The run defense was the big question mark coming into the game, and after all the time needed to prepare, it still got gouged including a 68-yard touchdown run allowed in the first quarter.