The end is nearly here everyone. Four final bowl games today, before the title game in a couple of weeks. After the games on New Year’s Day, my current record sits at 17-14 with Stanford destroying Iowa in the Rose Bowl, OSU dominating in the Fiesta Bowl, and Michigan cleaning up Florida in the Citrus Bowl and Ole Miss beating up on Oklahoma State; as well as Tennessee routing Northwestern. Which is a loss in my column, but I’m taking it as a personal win because it’s Northwestern.
Up first is the TaxSlayer Bowl where the once powerhouse team of Penn State will take on Georgia.
- The amount of times I heard “Booming kick!” for this game was absurd. Stop.
Georgia gets the ball first to start the game, their drive is summarized like such; move ball forward for ten yards, get facemask penalty for an additional ten yards, move backwards 15 yards, punt. The Bulldogs’ defense makes quick work to score the first points of the game by picking off a pass of Penn State’s and returning it for six. Georgia is now up 7-0 with two minutes left in the first quarter. PSU gets as close as the 37-yard line before being forced to attempt a field goal…which they miss. As the first quarter closes, we find Penn State picking off Georgia to take over again near where they kicked the field goal. We find PSU at the fifteen and going for it on fourth and two…where they are held up and turn the ball over on downs. After a quick three-and-out from Georgia we find Penn State back at the fifteen again where they take the smarter option and settle for three. Georgia still leads 7-3 late in the second quarter. Georgia gets picked off by PSU on the first play following the kickoff and Penn State moves to the 30-yard line where they are held to a field goal. Making this a 7-6 game at the half.
Penn State receives to start the second half; they grab a couple of first downs but fumble the ball on third down with Georgia recovering. The Bulldogs moved the ball to the twenty-yard line and settle with a field goal making the score 10-6. Penn State takes the lead 13-10 with a 67-yard TD pass; similar to that of the first play of the Rose Bowl this year. The Nittany Lions add on another TD late in the third quarter to increase their lead to ten, up 20-10 over Georgia. After a third interception by Penn State, a deep pass over the middle, and a tight end being the only person in the endzone, they add another seven points to their lead as the third quarter closes. Midway through the fourth quarter, Georgia has what looks to be a scoring drive going until Penn State picks them off 20-yards out from the endzone.
Next up is the Liberty Bowl where Kansas State will play Arkansas.
Kansas State gets nothing from their first drive outside of a couple first downs, but eventually are stopped and forced to punt. Arkansas has a little more success as they cross midfield and into Wildcats territory…which can be a dangerous thing in the real world. Except this isn’t the real world and Razorbacks (whatever those are) are more dangerous than Wildcats as Arkansas moves into the endzone near the end of the first quarter. A couple of plays later, Arkansas has an interception and takes it back to KSU’s three-yard line and eventually punch it in for another touchdown. Nothing else really happens during the second quarter as each team trade sets of downs until time expires. Arkansas still leads 14-0.
Two plays into the second half and Arkansas has a big run to bring them to first and goal from the eight-yard line. Following play, they find the tight end open in the endzone for a quick TD pass, Razorbacks now lead 21-0. Kansas State decides to air it out and gets picked off because the QB underthrows the long pass. After allowing Arkansas to convert only one first down they punt the…sorry I mean fake a punt and convert for a first down. Arkansas makes it to the 22-yard line and settles for a field goal increasing their lead to 24 late in the third. Arkansas tacks on another three points with three and a half minutes left in the game. Kansas State, please do something. By something I don’t mean try and go for it on fourth and eleven and drop the pass either…
Our next game for today is the Alamo Bowl where the TCU Horned Frogs take on the Team That Has a Uniform for Everything, aka, the Oregon Ducks.
Oregon wastes their first drive with the ball and are forced to punt away to TCU. TCU takes the ball to midfield and tries to convert on fourth and two, but fail and turn the ball over to Oregon, giving the Ducks decent field position. Oregon makes good use of this field position and tack on the first touchdown of the game, late in the first quarter up 7-0. First quarter comes to a close as we see TCU eleven yards out from tying the game up. The play immediately starting the second quarter sees them doing so and the game is tied at seven. TCU goes up 14-7 midway through the second with a 21-yard TD pass into the endzone. Oregon cannot get anything going in the second quarter and that allows TCU to at least add an extra three points with a couple seconds left in the half. Score at halftime is 17-7 in favor of the Horned Frogs.
TCU gets the ball to start the second half, but get nothing going and are forced to punt. Oregon, however, finally does get something going and puts up a touchdown midway through the third quarter. Following play, TCU airs the ball out and grabs a 75-yard TD pass…back up by ten I guess. Late in the third quarter, Oregon works their way to the three-yard line and punch it in for another touchdown…back within three…again. To start off the fourth, TCU fumble on 3rd and 21 but recover it and only gain a couple of extra yards making it 4th and 19. The booth decides to take a look at it and determine that the runners knee was down…making it 4th and 20 rather than 4th and 19…makes sense. Just over a couple minutes left in the game, Oregon retakes the lead with a TD. You have some time TCU, but can you do it? No, no they can’t as their drive gets wasted quickly by sacks and Oregon adds another seven points to their lead. Score is now 35-24, Oregon with just over a minute left. However, TCU does add another eight points really late in the fourth, but cannot get ball from the onside kick.
Next up is the Cactus Bowl where we’ll see West Virginia take on Arizona State.
- Slowest. Game. Ever.
Arizona State gets nothing but negative yards with their first drive. Despite the fact that WV takes over near midfield, they get nothing going either and punt the ball away. ASU gets on the board first with a combination of pass and run plays to get into the endzone. Late in the first, Arizona State tacks on another touchdown. First part of the second quarter is quiet and ASU adds another touchdown to their score…it’s the Rose Bowl all over again. Late in the first quarter, West Virginia manages to break the shutout at least by scoring on an 80-yard TD pass; hey, they’re only down by fourteen points now!
Arizona State and West Virginia was their first couple of drives in the second half. Then WVU decides to pick off ASU and return it for a touchdown. Down 21-14 yet, but there is still a quarter and a half to play. Third quarter closes with West Virginia nearing the fifteen-yard line and as the fourth quarter starts, we see them tie the game up with a touchdown run on an option play. Midway through the fourth quarter we see West Virginia mounting a drive to the five-yard line and getting called for a false start…so make that the ten-yard line. Unfortunately, West Virginia gets held up and is required to settle for the field goal. Just under two minutes left, Arizona State is down 24-21, can they comeback? One play later they have a 75-yard TD pass to take the lead. Okay, a minute and a half left…can West Virginia make the comeback? Answer, yes. The Mountaineers are back in front by three, leaving ASU with nine seconds left to move basically the entire field.