Ranking the 2009/2010 Bowls
Recapping the games - The Classics
Ranking the 2009/2010
Bowl Season - The Above-Average
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
All-timers that will always be remembered
2. GMAC BOWL
Central Michigan 44 … Troy 41 2OT
In a thrilling game with 1,076 yards of total offense, Central Michigan blocked a Michael Taylor field goal in the second overtime and Andrew Aguila nailed his fifth field goal of the game connecting from 37 yards out for the win. To get to overtime, the final eight minutes of regulation kicked off the fun. DuJuan Harris gave Troy a 31-19 lead on a one-yard touchdown run, but Antonio Brown answered with a 95-yard kickoff return for a score. After coming up with a stop, CMU went 85 yards in 11 plays with Bryan Anderson making a terrific juggling, diving catch for a four-yard touchdown. The Chippewas took a three-point lead on Dan LeFevour's two point conversion pass to Kito Poblah, but too much time was left on the clock. Troy went 34 yards in 46 second leading to a 46-yard Taylor field goal to put the game into overtime. CMU scored first on a 13-yard LeFevour touchdown run, but Troy answered on a one-yard Shawn Southward score in the first overtime before CMU came through in the second. Brown ran for a seven-yard touchdown for CMU in the third, while Harris scored three times for Troy including a nine-yard catch to start off the scoring.
Player of the Game: Central Michigan WR Antonio Brown caught 13 passes for 178 yards, and he ran four times for 22 yards and a score, and he returned seven kickoffs for 203 yards with a 95-yard touchdown.
Troy: Passing: Levi Brown, 31-56, 386 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: DuJuan Harris, 14-112, 2 TD, Receiving: Jerrel Jernigan, 9-154
Central Michigan: Passing: Dan LeFevour, 33-55, 395 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Bryan Schroeder, 13-73, Receiving: Antonio Brown, 13-178
What It All Means: The great career of Dan LeFevour ended perfectly, as he was able to show off his arm on the way to a touchdown pass to take the lead late in regulation, and he used his mobility and quickness to get into the end zone in the first overtime. CMU would've put this way early had LeFevour and the offense been able to do a better job of getting into the end zone early, settling for five field goal attempts in regulation, but the offense got hot late when it needed to. The defense, particularly the secondary, got roasted, but the line and Frank Zombo played well and was able to get into the backfield.
What It All Means: Why wasn't DuJuan Harris being used more as a workhorse? It's hard to argue with Levi Brown's 386 passing yards, but Harris ran for eight yards a crack but only got 14 carries while Shaun Southward averaged 2.8 yards per carry. The offense could've kept pounding the ball and could've kept CMU's offense off the field, but instead the game was put in Brown's hands. He came up big-time, but his tremendous performance was overshadowed by Dan LeFevour's and the one gaffe in kickoff coverage late, allowing Antonio Brown to return a kick for a score.
2. OUTBACK BOWL
Auburn 38 … Northwestern 35 OT
In a thriller, Auburn overcame 532 passing yards from Northwestern QB Mike Kafka and survived a missed field goal from Stefan Demos at the end of regulation to get by in overtime. The Tigers got a 21-yard Wes Byrum field goal, and then the fun began as a Kafka fumble that would've ended the game was reversed, and a missed field goal by Demos was nullified by a roughing the kicker penalty. Demos was hurt on the play, and instead of trying for a short field goal on fourth down, Northwestern went for the fake and was stopped a few yards short of the goal line. In regulation, Kafka was picked off five times with Walter McFadden and T'Sharvan Bell each coming up with two. McFadden took his second one 100 yards for a touchdown and an early 14-0 Tiger lead,, but Kafka kept coming back with touchdown passes from 39 and 35 yards to Andrew Brewer and a 66 yarder to Drake Dunsmore to tie the game at 21 in the third. Auburn answered with Ben Tate touchdown runs from five and seven yards, and the game appeared to be over, but Kafka ran for a two yard score with 3:20 to play. The extra point was blocked, but the Wildcats had new life forcing a fumble that led to an 18-yard Sidney Stewart touchdown catch with over a minute to play. On a trick play, Brewer threw to a wide open Brendan Mitchell for the two-point conversion and the tie, and on the ensuing kickoff, Northwestern got the ball back on another forced fumble. But Demos missed the game-winning field goal attempt.
Player of the Game: In a losing cause, Northwestern QB Mike Kafka completed 47-of-78 passes for 532 yards and four touchdowns with five interceptions, and he ran 20 times for 29 yards with a touchdown.
Auburn: Passing: Chris Todd, 20-31, 235 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Ben Tate, 20-108, 2 TD, Receiving: Darvin Adams, 12-142
Northwestern: Passing: Mike Kafka, 47-78, 532 yds, 4 TD, 5 INT
Rushing: Jacob Schmidt, 8-36, Receiving: Andrew Brewer, 8-132, 2 TD
What It All Means: Auburn's offense ended up playing second-fiddle to Mike Kafka and all the excitement from Northwestern, but it shouldn't be lost that the Tiger attack had a strong, balanced game with Chris Todd throwing for 235 yards and the ground game coming up with 190 yards and three scores. There were too many dumb penalties, 12 for 139 yards, and the team should've dropped the hammer and closed out the game midway through the fourth, but give credit for fighting through the adversity late in the game to pull off the win. The defense might have come up with five interceptions, but it also got picked clean by the Northwestern passing game. It's a New Year's Day bowl win, it's a strong first season under Gene Chizik, and there's plenty to be fired up about going forward.
What It All Means: For all the amazing things that Mike Kafka did, he wouldn't have had to come up with all the heroics had he not tried to make so many throws that weren't there. The team was able to overcome two interceptions thrown into the end zone, but without a running game to take the pressure off the offense was forced to dink and dunk all game long. It's a shame that the difference, in the end, was Stefan Demos and his missed kicks, but his misfires shouldn't overshadow such a tremendous effort to fight back and come within a hair of pulling off a program-changing win.
1. HUMANITARIAN BOWL
Idaho 43 … Bowling Green 42
Down seven, and helped by a desperation Nathan Enderle heave and a 50-yard catch by Preston Davis, Idaho went 66 yards in three plays and 28 seconds finishing with a 16-yard Max Komar catch with four seconds to play. Instead of kicking the extra point and going for overtime, the Vandals went for two. Enderle found Davis in the back of the end zone for an easy play and the win. The comeback and the finish slightly overshadowed a record-setting day from Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes, who caught 17 passes for 219 yards and three scores, with his final touchdown grab a 51-yarder with 32 seconds to play to give the Falcons the lead. Barnes also caught touchdown passes from 35 and five yards out, but Idaho kept up the pace in the see-saw game with DeMaundray Woolridge scoring from eight and 13 yards out, and Enderle connecting on four touchdown passes including a 30-yarder to Davis in a wild fourth quarter. The two teams combined for 990 yards of total offense.
Player of the Game: In a losing cause, Bowling Green WR Freddie Barnes caught 17 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns.
Bowling Green: Passing: Tyler Sheehan, 33-47, 387 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Willie Geter, 14-96, 2 TD, Receiving: Freddie Barnes, 17-219, 3 TD
Idaho: Passing: Nathan Enderle, 15-28, 240 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: DeMaundray Woolridge, 22-126, 2 TD, Receiving: Preston Davis, 4-119, 1 TD
What It All Means: QB Tyler Sheehan and WR Freddie Barnes did all they could do. The offense did its part coming up with a clutch, balanced effort that ripped apart the Idaho defense at will. But the pass defense that wasn't all that bad throughout the season was non-existent in key parts, even with S P.J. Mahone healthy and able to help out. The real problem was the lack of a pass rush, but that was an issue all season. It was particularly a problem on the two point conversion as Idaho QB Nathan Enderle had all day long to come through with the game-winning score. Going forward, the Falcons have to find an offense without Sheehan and Barnes, and while this was a disappointing end, they were an eyelash away from coming up with a big bowl win.
What It All Means: Was Robb Akey showing confidence in his offense with the gutsy call to go for two to win the game, or did he not trust his defense in OT, or did he notice that Bowling Green didn't have any semblance of a pass rush. All of the above, but it all added up to a thrilling bowl win that should help the program by leaps and bounds. However, to do anything more in WAC play next year, the defense has to get a whole bunch better and a whole lot smarter. There were too many missed coverages on Freddie Barnes and the BGSU offense, and that Enderle and the offense saved the day shouldn't overshadow all the defensive issues. 114th in the nation in pass defense before this game, that has to change in a hurry this offseason or there's no real hope to be more of a conference player.