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SPECIAL EDITION : THE BOWLS' BEST
January 6, 2005

TOP QBs

Alex Smith, Utah

Smith led to the Utes to a BCS victory over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl. The junior who declared for the NFL Draft earlier this week completed 29 of 37 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns without an interception as Utah went on to a 35-7 blowout of the Panthers in Tempe.

Sonny Cumbie, Texas Tech

Cumbie led the way for Texas Tech as the Red Raiders spanked California in the Holiday Bowl. The senior, who was a first-year starter, completed 39 of 60 passes for a bowl-best 520 yards. The Abilene native threw a trio of touchdown passes without an interception in the 45-31 victory.

Matt Leinart, Southern Cal

Leinart didn't have his best statistical game of the year, but his performance more than got the job done for USC. The junior completed 18 of his 35 pass attempts for 332 yards and five TDs. The Santa Ana native did not throw an INT as USC went on to win the BCS title 55-19 over Oklahoma.

Next Three: Derek Anderson (Oregon State), Sam Keller (Arizona State), Timmy Chang (Hawaii)

TOP RBs

Vince Young, Texas

Yes, I know Young is a QB, but he did his damage on the ground in the Rose Bowl. The sophomore rushed 21 times for 192 yards, a 9.1 average, and scored four TDs with his feet. The Houston native also completed 16 of 28 passes for 180 yards and a TD in the 38-37 victory over Michigan.

Marion Barber III / Laurence Maroney, Minnesota

This junior / sophomore tandem became the first and second RBs all year to run for 100 yards against Alabama. Barber ran the ball 37 times for 187 yards, an average of more than five yards a carry, and scored a touchdown. Maroney ran 29 times for 105 yards as the Gophers picked up the 20-16 win.

Leon Washington, Florida State

Washington played a huge part in the Seminoles' victory in the Gator Bowl. The junior from Jacksonville rushed just a dozen times in the game but for a bowl-best 195 yards, a remarkable 16.3 yards per carry. Washington also got into the endzone once as FSU knocked off West Virginia 30-18.

Next Three: P.J. Pope (Bowling Green), Andre Callender (Boston College), Stevie Hicks (Iowa State)

TOP WRs

Paris Warren, Utah

Warren was Alex Smith's favorite target all year and in the Fiesta Bowl. The senior hauled in 15 receptions (two for TDs) for a bowl-best 198 yards, an average of more than 13 yards per reception. The Sacramento native also ran the ball once for 17 yards in the Utes' victory.

Derek Hagan, Arizona State

Hagan, a top NFL prospect if he leaves college early, had another great game in the Sun Bowl. The junior caught 9 passes for 182 yards, an average of better than 20 yards per catch. One of those nine catches went for a touchdown as the Sun Devils knocked off Purdue 27-23.

Steve Sanders, Bowling Green

Sanders was QB Omar Jacobs' favorite target in the GMAC Bowl in Mobile. The junior caught 7 passes and totaled 123 yards for the game. The Cleveland native averaged nearly 18 yards a catch and scored a couple of touchdowns as the Falcons outscored Memphis 52-35.

Next Three: Joel Filani (Texas Tech), Joe Klopfenstein (Colorado), Jason Rivers (Hawaii)

TOP TEAMS

Southern Cal

The Trojans won a share of the national title last season but wanted the whole thing to themselves this year. With a 55-19 spanking of Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, the Trojans showed why they were ranked number one by SCS.com and many of the rest for the entire 2004 season.

Utah

The Utes earned the first-ever BCS berth for a school from a non-BCS conference and didn't want to mess that chance up. Pitt was the opponent, but the Panthers were no challenge for the Utes. Urban Meyer's squad won the game easily, earning the Utes a third-place finish in the season's final Fab 15.

Auburn

The Tigers went into the Sugar Bowl hoping to play well enough to earn a split of the national title. Tommy Tuberville's team controlled the game against a hot Virginia Tech team, a team that had just come off a win at Miami that clinched the 2004 ACC championship.

Next Three: Tennessee, Arizona State, Miami

TOP GAMES

Liberty Bowl - Louisville vs Boise State

This game was one of the most hyped bowl games of the entire bowl season, and the two teams, who combined for just one loss in the regular season, didn't let us down. The Broncos jumped ahead early, then UL responded. Boise State had the last possession but came up a TD short.

Rose Bowl - Texas vs Michigan

This was the only BCS game that was proved to be a competitive matchup. These teams went back and forth throughout the contest, but Texas had the ball last. The Longhorns got it down the field in the final couple of minutes and kicked the winning field goal as time expired.

Capital One Bowl - Iowa vs LSU

This was another back and forth affair. LSU seemed to have the game won when the Tigers scored a touchdown with just a minute left in regulation, but Iowa QB Drew Tate got the Hawkeyes up the field and then fired a 56-yard TD pass to Warren Holloway as time expired for the Iowa victory.

Next Three: Sun Bowl (Arizona State vs Purdue), Music City Bowl (Minnesota vs Alabama), Las Vegas Bowl (Wyoming vs UCLA)

TOP UPSETS

Holiday Bowl - Texas Tech over California

The Golden Bears were just a few fractions of a point away from playing in the BCS for the first time ever. Instead, Cal was sent to the Holiday Bowl, but the Bears did not show up. Texas Tech QB Sonny Cumbie had a field day, and the Red Raiders spanked the Bears in their home state.

Las Vegas Bowl - Wyoming over UCLA

No one gave the Cowboys much of a chance coming into this matchup even though UW had already knocked off an SEC opponent earlier in the fall. The Bruins looked to have things under control, but the Cowboys scored 14 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to win the game 24-21.

MPC Computers Bowl - Fresno State over Virginia

Many of the so-called experts projected the Cavaliers as a contender in the ACC this fall and a top 15 team nationally. Al Groh's team never came together against the tough competition this year, and that trend continued into bowl season as FSU won the game by three in overtime.

Past Weeks: Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five | Week Six | Week Seven | Week Eight | Week Nine | Week Ten | Week Eleven | Week Twelve | Week Thirteen | Week Fourteen | Week Fifteen | Bowls, Part I

 > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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