BY DAILY STAFF
Published January 4, 2011
The Daily Sports Staff breaks down all 29 bowl games that have been played so far this season, besides the Gator Bowl defeat that Michigan suffered on Saturday. Find out which players have been most valuable to their teams and which plays had the biggest impact on the outcome of each game.
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Rose Bowl: TCU 21, Wisconsin 19
In the program’s first trip to Pasadena, Calif., TCU capped off an unbeaten season with a 21-19 victory over No. 5 Wisconsin. The third-ranked Horned Frogs became the first team from a non-automatic qualifying conference to even participate in the Rose Bowl since the advent of the BCS.
Any chance of Wisconsin ruining the perfect season with a comeback was thwarted when linebacker Tank Carder swatted away a two-point conversion attempt after the Badgers scored with two minutes remaining in the game. Carder made six tackles, a sack and three tackles for a loss to take home defensive MVP honors.
— STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Sugar Bowl: Ohio State 31, Arkansas 26
It was over when… Soloman Thomas intercepted Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet with about a minute left. After Arkansas’ Ben Buchanan, better known to the people as home as “that No. 90 guy who had the sweet blocked punt,” jumped over two Buckeyes to block Ohio State’s punt at their own 38-yard line, Mallett had the game in his hands. After driving down to the Buckeyes’ 19, Mallett threw the ball into double coverage and hit Thomas squarely in chest literally forcing the defensive lineman to catch the ball. The Buckeyes never trailed in the game and sent quarterback Terrell Pryor, one of five Ohio State players suspended for the first five games of next season due to receiving improper benefits, with a nice send off before their time on the bench. At least he paid for his tattoos.
— MICHAEL FLOREK
Orange Bowl: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech
MVP: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford... The Heisman runner-up and projected No. 1 pick in the NFL draft lit up Virginia Tech, completing 18-of-23 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns in a 40-12 rout. Luck showed the talent and intelligence that has everyone singing his praises, completing several difficult throws and running Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh’s offense to perfection.
Despite the lopsided final score, Stanford only had a 13-12 lead at halftime before running off the game’s final 27 points. Tight end Coby Fleener also had a tremendous performance, catching six passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns, and the Stanford defense shut out star quarterback Tyrod Taylor and the explosive Hokie offense in the second half.
— ANDREW HADDAD
Fiesta Bowl: No. 7 Oklahoma 48, Connecticut 20
MVP: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma... Jones racked up 429 passing yards, three touchdowns and an interception. His proficient 34-of-49 passing against the porous Connecticut defense led to his third 400-plus yard performance of the season. In a nearly mistake-free night, Jones led the Sooner offense to their most points in a bowl game in the Bob Stoops-era. Oklahoma wasn’t flagged for a penalty the entire game, and its only offensive hiccup came in the first half — Jones threw an ill-advised pass over the middle that was picked off and returned for the first Connecticut touchdown.
— LUKE PASCH
Capital One Bowl: Alabama 49, Michigan State 7
I didn't change the channel because... Of my love of watching a trainwreck unfold before my eyes. The Spartans were absolutely overmatched and throttled by the Crimson Tide and Mark Ingram showed exactly why he was a Heisman winner last year -- the guy's pretty darn good. Michigan State's run game, which steamrolled the Wolverines in October, finished with what has to have been one of the worst rushing performances in the history of college football. -48 yards. Who knew that was even possible? Either way, the Spartans magical season ended with a very, very abrupt stop.
— RYAN KARTJE
Outback Bowl: Florida 37, Penn State 24
It was Florida coach Urban Meyer’s last game as headman for the Gators. Ironically, it was the 46-year-old retiring after the game and not Penn State coach Joe Paterno — Meyer’s 84-year-old counterpart.
The Gators certainly wanted to send their coach out with a win, and they did so, topping the Nittany Lions 37-24.