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College Football Bowl Season Recap

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College Football Bowl Season Recap

Thomas Smith and Ryan McCrary

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Quick Lane Bowl

Minnesota Golden Gophers 34 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 10

Paul Johnson’s final game as the coach of the Yellow Jackets didn’t go according to plan. The Jackets got absolutely dominated on both sides of the ball. The Golden Gopher offense gave Tech a taste of their own medicine by controlling time of possession and rushing for 260 yards. Freshman running back Mohamed Ibrahim led the team with 224 yards and 2 touchdowns on 31 carries. The Minnesota defense held Tech’s triple-option offense to only 69 yards in the first half and took a 13-3 lead into the locker room. The Golden Gophers came out on fire in the second half with two Ibrahim touchdowns and a ridiculous Randy Moss-like catch by Tyler Johnson for a 30-yard TD.

Tech fans and Minnesota fans have many things to look forward to for the 2019 season. The Golden Gophers look to build upon an impressive 7-6 season with wins over Fresno State, Purdue, and Wisconsin. The team is young and should improve next season. Yellow Jacket fans can look forward to new head coach Geoff Collins, a defensive minded coach with a knack for recruiting. He brought most of his staff from Temple and is set to hire Alabama offensive line coach Brent Key for the same position. Georgia Tech will be transitioning to a more modern, pro-style offense and the defense will see significant changes as well.

-Thomas Smith

 

Music City Bowl

Auburn Tigers 63 Purdue Boilermakers 14

Auburn came to play in the Music City Bowl. The Tigers’ offense showed out as head coach Gus Malzahn took over play calling for the first time in two years. Auburn took a 21-0 lead with just 7 minutes remaining in the 1st quarter after forcing an interception. Purdue responded with a seven yard rushing touchdown by freshman wide out Rondale Moore. Auburn didn’t let up and poured 35 unanswered points on the Boilermakers en route to a 63-14 victory. Auburn teammates Darius Slayton and Jarret Stadium ended their college careers with a bang. Slayton caught 3 passes for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns with Stidham completing 15/21 passes for 373 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Auburn heads into next season in very good shape. The Tigers have twelve returning starters including star junior defensive tackle Derrick Brown Jr., who turned down a potential first round selection to return to Auburn. The Tigers return nearly everyone on defense and many key playmakers on offense. They will bring in the 14th ranked recruiting class that includes #1 outside linebacker Owen Pappoe and the #4 pocket passer Bo Nix. This could potentially be the best offense Gus Malzahn has ever had at Auburn. Purdue welcomes in a class highlighted with six 4 star athletes. Although Purdue doesn’t have a top tier class they are blessed to have wide out Rondale Moore who excelled as a true freshman this season. Perhaps with the recruiting class coming in and true freshman Rondale Moore coming into his own as a future superstar, the Boilermakers can contend for a Big Ten championship in 2019.

-Ryan McCrary

 

Citrus Bowl

#14 Kentucky Wildcats 27 #12 Penn State Nittany Lions 24

This game was a phenomenal way for two incredible players to go out. Penn State senior quarterback Trace McSorley has been the Nittany Lions starting quarterback for the past three years. He finished his Penn State career with 11,596 total yards and 107 total touchdowns. Kentucky junior running back Benny Snell Jr. has been on the field for the Wildcats since he was a freshman and during the Citrus Bowl he broke Kentucky’s all-time rushing yards record. Snell has rushed for over 1,000 yards in all three of his seasons with the Wildcats and finished his career with 4,089 total yards and 48 touchdowns. These two players have embodied their respective programs over the past three years and certainly embodied this game. A relentless, passionate, lay it all on the field for your teammates type of game. Snell rushed for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns and McSorley threw for 246 yards, 2 touchdowns, and added 75 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The contest was a battle with Kentucky taking an early big lead and Penn State fighting themselves back into it. A late second comeback was shut down by the Wildcats as Trace McSorley threw a costly interception to ice the game for Kentucky.

Kentucky is losing a lot over the offseason. They lose the lifeblood of their offense in Benny Snell Jr. to the NFL draft and they lose a majority of their defense that has terrorized the SEC all season. Eight defensive starters were seniors this season which does not bode well for Wildcat nation. Pair that with another mediocre recruiting class and I can’t see Kentucky having the same success they did this year. For Penn State on the other hand, a top 15 recruiting class and the depth to reload makes them a Big 10 contender. The only question is how well will redshirt senior QB Tommy Stevens handle replacing McSorley. Even with the possible quarterback concerns, I still expect the Nittany Lions to be at least an eight-win team.

-Thomas Smith

 

Playstation Fiesta Bowl

#11 LSU Tigers 40 #8 UCF Knights 32

This matchup between the self proclaimed “2018 National Champion” UCF and the LSU Tigers was very interesting because both teams were riddled with injuries. The Golden Knights entered this contest without Heisman candidate McKenzie Milton while the Tigers had 6 starters out on defense. Unfortunately, LSU would lose 4 more defensive starters throughout the course of the game. UCF took a 14-3 lead after a missed pass interference penalty led to a pick six by sophomore cornerback Brandon Moore. LSU came back strong and went on a 21-7 run to take a 24-21 lead into halftime. Junior quarterback Joe Burrow led his Tigers to a 40-24 lead before the Golden Knights got a garbage time touchdown to make it close. Burrow completed 21/34 passes for 394 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead LSU to a 40-32 victory over the UCF Knights. LSU only won by eight, but the Tigers held the reigns for a majority of the game. UCF made it competitive only after the Tigers started to run the ball to run down the clock. Amazingly, LSU overcame 9 inactive starters to defeat a hot UCF team who wanted to prove that they deserved to be in the playoff.

LSU heads into the 2019-2020 season with the 8th ranked recruiting class. With Joe Burrow showing lots of promise, the Tigers could very well finish second in the SEC west behind Alabama. UCF has only the 50th ranked recruiting class, but Darriel Mack Jr. showed that he has what it takes to lead UCF to a third straight 12+ win season.

-Ryan McCrary

 

Rose Bowl

#6 Ohio State Buckeyes 28 #9 Washington Huskies 23

Urban Meyer’s final game as the OSU head coach couldn’t have ended better. The Buckeyes handled the Huskies with ease up until a late fourth quarter resurgence by Washington. Heisman finalist Dwayne Haskins threw for 251 yards and 3 touchdowns in his last game as a Buckeye and the Ohio State defense held Washington to 3 points until the fourth quarter. Washington senior running back Myles Gaskin led an almost comeback for the ages. Gaskin rushed for 121 yards, 2 touchdowns, and passed for another on a jump pass out of wildcat as the Huskies scored 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. The senior finished his career with 5,788 scrimmage yards and 62 total touchdowns.

Washington loses a lot of starters from a senior heavy class including quarterback Jake Browning, running back Myles Gaskin, safety Taylor Rapp, and linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven. The Huskies have a solid recruiting class and Georgia transfer QB Jacob Eason will be eligible to play next season. While the Urban Meyer era is over at Ohio State, no one should expect any drop-off. New head coach Ryan Day has a heckuva resume and went 3-0 as interim head coach at the beginning of the season. Like Washington, Ohio State is also excited about a Georgia transfer quarterback. Justin Fields, the former number one recruit in the 2018 ESPN 300, announced his transfer to the Buckeyes and is already on campus. If he is eligible to play next season, he will have to win the battle over the electric Tate Martell who has been learning the offense for two years. With the ninth ranked recruiting class, there is no sign of Ohio State slowing down.

-Thomas Smith

 

Allstate Sugar Bowl

#15 Texas Longhorns 28 #5 Georgia Bulldogs 21

This game looked exactly what I imagine it would look like if Texas’s 1,800 pound longhorn mascot, Bevo, fought Georgia’s 65 pound bulldog mascot, Uga. Texas absolutely dominated Georgia off of sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s phenomenal performance. Ehlinger threw for only 169 yards, but looked like a young Tim Tebow as he rushed for 64 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Texas defense, who has been lackluster all season, really stepped up to stop the high-powered UGA offense. They stuffed the most integral part of the Bulldog offense; the run game. They held Georgia to a measly 72 rushing yards with an average of 2.4 yards per rush. While the Dawgs almost made an incredible comeback off of Jake Fromm’s arm, it seemed that the Longhorns were in the driver’s seat the entire contest.

The future looks bright for both teams next season. Texas has the ninth ranked recruiting class and looks to be back in the national spotlight. They are losing number one receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey to the NFL, but will get 6’6” wideout Colin Johnson for at least another year. And of course, as long as Ehlinger is under center the Longhorns have the potential to be dangerous. Georgia fans could be slightly disappointed about this offseason. The Bulldogs boast the second ranked recruiting class in the nation, but lose several key players. Running back Elijah Holyfield, tight end Isaac Nauta, and receivers Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman have decided to forgo their senior seasons and declare for the NFL draft. Two highly talented freshmen are leaving as well. Freshman quarterback Justin Fields, the former number one recruit on the 2018 ESPN 300, has announced his transfer to Ohio State, while former four star tight end Luke Ford announced his transfer to Illinois. The defense is losing several key seniors, but should be able to reload with a scary incoming freshman class. The Bulldogs are also losing defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, but should still be at the top of the SEC East next season.

-Thomas Smith

 

Capital One Orange Bowl (CFP Semifinal)

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide 45 #4 Oklahoma Sooners 34

Alabama won this game easily. The Crimson Tide opened the game with 2 rushing and 2 passing touchdowns to take a 28-0 lead at the beginning of the second quarter. At that point the Crimson Tide started running the ball to end the Sooners’ pain sooner (ha ha). Heisman winning quarterback Kyler Murray put Oklahoma on his back and cut the Tide’s lead to 11, but that was as close as it would get. There was never a doubt about who would win this game as Alabama defeated Oklahoma 45-34. Tua Tagovailoa dominated the Sooners completing 24/27 passes for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Alabama will bring in yet another number one ranked recruiting class highlighted by two 5 star and ten 4 star athletes. The Tide will undoubtedly run the SEC once again. Oklahoma welcomes in the sixth ranked class led by the number one ranked quarterback, Spencer Rattler, and the number one ranked receiver, Jadon Haselwood. This class is very good for the Sooners. If Rattler and Haslewood live up to their potential, then Oklahoma could easily be back in the playoffs.

-Ryan McCrary

 

Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

#2 Clemson Tigers 30 #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 3

Clemson absolutely throttled Notre Dame on their way to their second national title in the playoff era. Phenom freshman QB Trevor Lawrence passed for 327 yards and 3 touchdowns with running back Travis Etienne rushing for 109 yards and 1 touchdown on only 14 carries. Electric freshman wideout Justyn Ross had a great game as well. Ross finished the game with 6 catches for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Tigers defense played lights out, holding quarterback Ian Book and the Irish offense to only three points. Clemson forced two fumbles and intercepted Book once. Most impressively, the Tigers sacked Book six times and continued to get pressure all game. Notre Dame looked lethargic offensively and couldn’t move the ball against an aggressive Clemson D.

Notre Dame has quarterback Ian Book returning, but lots of key players are leaving. Their top rusher and receiver Dexter Williams and Miles Boykin will both be gone along with linebacker Te’von Coney, cornerback Julian Love, and defensive tackle Jerry Tillery. The Irish have a top ten recruiting class and are excited about 4-star safety Kyle Hamilton from Marist in Atlanta, Georgia. Clemson fans should be ecstatic. The Tigers appear to have a dynasty on their hands. At quarterback they have the 6’6” Trevor Lawrence for at least another two years. He has the potential to be the first player since Archie Griffin to win two Heisman trophy awards. The Tigers return three dynamic receivers in Justyn Ross, Tee Higgins, and Amari Rodgers. Let’s not forget that they also get one of the most explosive running backs in the nation back. Travis Etienne broke all kinds of Clemson rushing records in 2018. The sophomore tailback rushed for 1,658 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season. While they do lose all four starters on the best defensive line in college football, the depth and incredible recruiting class they have should make up for that. Watch out Bama, there might be a new dynasty in town.

-Thomas Smith

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College Football Bowl Season Recap