January 02, 2012
The best of the all-day bowl-a-thon.
1. Oregon's helmets. We knew the Ducks' helmets for Monday's trip to Pasadena were going to be different, but the promotional photos released by Nike last week didn't really convey just how bizarre the mirrored lids were going to look in action. Rather than the ominous, Darth Vader-y look suggested by the darkened photo shoot, it looks like someone is wearing a freshly polished chrome fender off a 1967 Firebird.
They're not doing anyone in the late afternoon sun any favors, either: ESPN's in-game broadcasters, Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit, complained in the first quarter that the glare from the lids made it difficult to identify players' numbers from the press box. They were so distracting during pregame warmups that there was some discussion of whether the mirrored look was even legal. (It is.)
2. South Carolina's defensive line. The Gamecocks sacked Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez six times en route to a 30-13 win in the Capital One Bowl, confirming its front four as one of the nastiest in the country — and re-confirming freshman defensive end Jadeveon Clowney as the emerging terror he was projected to be after adding two more sacks against the Cornhuskers to his season total. After hitting paydirt on its first two offensive possessions, Nebraska didn't score again and wound up with season lows for total yards (252) and points.
3. Shugarts' streak continues. With a false start penalty in the first quarter of the Gator Bowl, Ohio State offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts finishes his college career with at least one offsides penalty in four consecutive bowl games, and in 24 total games over the course of his career. Hey man, you gotta leave as you lived.
The Buckeyes lost to Florida, 24-17, securing their first losing record since 1999.
4. Black Mamba breaks the big one. The first half of the Rose Bowl was a track meet in both directions, and it's only appropriate that the longest sprint belonged to the fastest player on the field: True freshman De'Anthony Thomas' 91-yard dash through the middle of the Wisconsin defense on the last play of the first quarter was the longest run from scrimmage in Rose Bowl history. Just in case you need to be reminded, that is a looong history.
5. Brandon Boykin's triple crown. Georgia lost to Michigan State in improbable, dramatic and generally inopportune fashion in the Outback Bowl, but not through any fault of the Bulldogs' senior cornerback, who goes out with points on offense, defense and special teams in the same game. Boykin put Georgia on the board on Michigan State's first snap of the game, dropping wide receiver Keshawn Martin for a safety in the Spartan end zone, and added a dizzying, 92-yard punt return that extended UGA's lead to 16-0 just before the half.
In the fourth quarter, Boykin caught a 13-yard, go-ahead touchdown pass from Aaron Murray that briefly restored the Bulldogs' lead at 27-20, setting the stage for a last-gasp touchdown drive by Michigan State at the end of regulation. Maybe they should have let him attempt the field goals in overtime, too.
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