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Biggest Wins in Next Four 2007 Bowl Games – West Virginia and Kansas Jayhawks – Part 7
Here are the next 4 winners of this year’s 2007 college football bowl game results:
BCS Fiesta Bowl – West Virginia Stomps a Mud Hole in Oklahoma, 48-28
Anyone who thought that Southern Cal or Georgia was mean-spirited in their resounding bowl victories did not see West Virginia slap around the Oklahoma Sooners 48-28 in the BCS Fiesta Bowl.
The 11th ranked Mountaineers lost their head coach Rich Rodriguez to Michigan before the Fiesta Bowl, lost their star tailback Steve Slaton to a first-quarter leg injury, had to pull together under interim coach Bill Stewart, and managed to do it all and then some.
Quarterback Pat White ran for 150 yards and threw for another 176 yards and 2 touchdowns. Noel Devine stepped in for Slaton and ran for 108 yards and 2 touchdowns, one for 17 yards and another for 65 yards to clinch the game in the 4th quarter.
Oklahoma’s powerful offense, which averaged 43+ points per game, was stuck in neutral against West Virginia’s 4th ranked defense. The West Virginia offensive players-White, Devine and Darius Reynaud-seemed to run past Sooners who appeared to be watching them rather than tackling them.
Clearly, some of the bloom has come off of Bob Stoops and his Oklahoma players, who now are a lot less impressive with all of their carping. They were embarrassed last year in the same Fiesta Bowl when Boise State made them look silly with trick plays and a stunning upset. The Sooners need to shut up, regroup and start playing football again.
For a team that was ranked 9th in scoring defense and 8th in rushing defense, the Sooners looked slow when it mattered most. They saw the backs of a lot of jerseys. Give the West Virginia Mountaineers credit; they got it together when it mattered.
It took all of about a day for the West Virginia brain trust to decide that maybe their national search for a new coach should end up in their own locker room as Bill Stewart was named new head coach.
BCS Orange Bowl – Kansas Takes Down the Mighty Virginia Tech Hokies, 24-21
So who was it that said that Kansas was a paper tiger? A 6-6 team last year that had no business in a BCS bowl game. All the Jayhawks did this year was field the 6th best total offense in the nation and the 2nd best scoring offense nationally on their way to a heady 12-1 record after polishing off Virginia Tech 24-21 in the BCS Orange Bowl.
If Kansas coach Mark Mangino was in a crowded subway station in New York City, he would not be the guy complaining and shouting. He would be the guy you would not notice except for his big presence, no where more so than on the sideline when Kansas plays football. People are beginning to learn that Jayhawks can fly, they are not chickens.
So here comes Kansas into their BCS game and how do the Jayhawks win? With their defense. The Jayhawks picked off 3 passes and turned them into 17 points to take down the No. 5-ranked Hokies. It was sweet for Kansas, which won its first BCS game and set a school record with 12 wins. Virginia Tech, which lost its 4th consecutive BCS game, dropped to 11-3.
It was a cold and windy night for both teams and the Hokies stayed in the game, but the Jayhawks jumped out to a 17-0 lead and they finished what they started. They played like their future depended upon it, and because they did, they have a brighter future. It is my understanding that practically every player on the team is returning next year. Like they say in the entertainment business, this could be the start of something big.
International Bowl – Rutgers and Ray Rice Run by Ball State in 52-30 Rout
Ray Rice created some history for an historic school by running for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns in leading Rutgers-which played the first college football game-past Ball State 52-30.
Rutgers, in Toronto, Canada for the International Bowl, marked its second postseason win in the school’s 138-year history, and second consecutive win in two years with their 37-10 blowout victory over Kansas State in last year’s Texas Bowl.
Rice, whose 25 TDs this season and 2,012 rushing yards are both school records, also became the first Big East player to crack the 2,000-yard season rushing barrier. He is in some pretty good company as former Big East players with an NFL impact include Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee, all graduates of Miami (FL). Quarterback Mike Teel helped Rutgers along by going 16-of-25 for 303 yards and 3 TD passes.
Among Rice’s runs was a career-long 90-yard TD scamper. Rice, a junior, must now decide to go NFL early or return to Rutgers for a senior season. He must announce his plans for the NFL draft by Jan. 15.
While Rice’s performance was great the Ball State rushing defense was not. Ball State was ranked 99th nationally in rushing defense. Ball State is not a real killer in bowl games either, having played in 6 and won none. Such is the state of college football today when 32 bowl games are played involving 64 teams and there are only 119 to pick from. Rutgers finished its season at 8-5 (not THAT big of a deal) and Ball State dropped to 7-6 (at least it was not a losing season).
GMAC Bowl – Tulsa Capitalizes on Stupid Bowling Green Mistakes, 63-7
Give Bowling Green some props for making it to the GMAC Bowl. They did not destroy the vehicle they used to get to the stadium. They managed to get dressed by themselves. But that was about it. When it came time to show up, the Falcons managed to fumble 4 times in the first half and their opponent, Tulsa, quickly scored 4 touchdowns to take a 35-0 halftime lead.
The rest was all downhill for Bowling Green as they lost 63-7 to finish the year at 8-5 (at least it was a winning record, that is more than some bowl losers can say). The result was the most lopsided (56 points) in this year’s 32-game bowl schedule. Before the GMAC Bowl, Bowling Green had won its last 4 consecutive bowl outings.
“We were out of it before we were in it,” said Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon.
Tulsa brought 3 things to the GMAC Bowl: the nation’s 10th best scoring offense, the nation’s 3rd best passing offense and the nation’s No. 1 total offense. They showed why the Golden Hurricane can score 63 points in a game.
Quarterback Paul Smith passed for 312 yards and 5 touchdowns while rolling up his 14th consecutive 300-yard passing game, breaking Ty Detmer’s record for Brigham Young. En route to the blowout win, Tulsa became the first team in NCAA history to have a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and 3 (count ’em) 1,000-yard receivers. Tulsa only racked up 562 yards of offense in the game.
First-year Tulsa coach Todd Graham led the Golden Hurricane to a 10-4 record, the first 10-win season for Tulsa since 1991, 18 years ago.
(Editor’s Note: This is the 7th article of a series on the 2007 bowl game results.)
Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley
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