Who were the best and brightest stars of the 2022-2023 bowl season? Here are CFN’s 100 best players who stood out from the pack.
100 Best Players of the Bowl Season
Who were the best and brightest stars of the bowl season? Stats are nice, big moments are better, and overall level of play matters the most. Okay, that’s a lie – do something massive in the bowls and you get ranked higher.
There’s one more game to go – and it’s sort of a biggie – so a few more names will be added to this. Go ahead and add another 100 names that could be on this list, but before the College Football Playoff National Championship, here are the 100 best players of the bowl season.
100. Braden Siders, DE Wyoming
Wyoming’s defense made a whole slew of big plays in the 30-27 overtime loss to Ohio in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Siders made six tackles – all six solo stops – with two sacks and three tackles for loss.
99. Nicholas Singleton, RB Penn State
He wasn’t used much, but he made his touches count running seven times for 120 yards and two touchdowns – including an 87-yarder – and returned two kicks for 39 yards in the 35-21 win over Utah in the Rose Bowl.
98. Bralen Trice, DE Washington
This was supposed to be a wild shootout, but the defenses weren’t all that bad. Neither team generated much of a pass rush, but Trice did his part with a game-high two sacks and a team-tying six tackles in the 27-20 Valero Alamo Bowl win over Texas.
97. Cam Dillon, LB Duke
The Blue Devil defense was terrific in the 30-13 win over UCF in the Military Bowl, led by Dillon, who came up with a team-high nine tackles – six solo stops – with two sacks.
96. Chad Bailey, LB Missouri
The senior did everything possible to keep Missouri in the game. Seven of his nine tackles were solo stops with 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in the 27-17 Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl loss to Wake Forest.
95. Joshua Scott, CB Eastern Michigan
He lost a few battles, but he was a big part in the game’s momentum swing. He made two tackles with a key interception with four broken up passes in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl win over San Jose State.
94. Wayne Taluapapa, RB Washington
Star QB Michael Penix Jr. didn’t have hist best performance – even with 287 yards – but he was helped by a running game that wasn’t there for the other side. Taulapapa ran 14 times for 108 yards with a 42-yard touchdown dash in the 27-20 Valero Alamo Bowl win over Texas.
93. KJ Robertson, LB Troy
He made nine tackles with an interception in the 18-12 Duluth Trading Cure Bowl win over UTSA.
92. Garrett Shrader, QB Syracuse
While he didn’t have top running Sean Tucker around, he was able to keep the offense moving through the air. There was a rough pick-six given up, but he completed 32-of-51 passes for 330 yards with that interception, and ran for 38 yards and two touchdowns in the 28-20 Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl loss to Minnesota.
91. AT Perry, WR Wake Forest
Other Demon Deacons got into the end zone – Taylor Morin scored twice, but Perry led the way with 11 catches for 116 yards in the 27-17 Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl win over Missouri.
90. Braelon Allen, RB Wisconsin
Was he going to play? Was he heathy enough? He turned out to be just fine, running 22 times for 116 yards and a score in the 24-17 win over Oklahoma State in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl.
89. Rashod Dubinion, RB Arkansas
The quarterbacks might have been the stars of the show, but Dubinion did his part – as did AJ Green with 99 yards and a score – for a Hog running game that came close to running for 400 yards. He carried it 20 times for 112 yards and two scores and caught three passes for 19 yards in the 55-53 triple-overtime win over Kansas.
88. Malik Nabers, WR LSU
The game was effectively over by the time he went to work, but he still played a big role. He caught nine passes for 163 yards and a score, and he completed both of his passes for 50 yards and a score in the 63-7 win over Purdue in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl.
87. Sean Clifford, QB Penn State
Very, very efficient, he did everything he was supposed to hitting 16-of-21 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns – averaging over 13 yards per pass – in the 35-21 win over Utah in the Rose Bowl.
86. Arian Smith, WR Georgia
He only caught three passes, but they went for 129 yards with his 76-yard touchdown bringing Georgia close late in the 42-41 loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
85. Sherrod Greene, LB South Carolina
No, he didn’t make the splashiest defensive plays like some of his teammates did, but he came up with a game-high 11 tackles with a sack and five solo stops in the 45-38 loss to Notre Dame in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.
84. Jack Campbell, LB Iowa
There wasn’t anything fun about the game, but that’s partly because the Iowa defense was so dominant. Campbell had a game-high ten stop with a sack and two tackles for loss in the 21-0 TransPerfect Music City Bowl win over Kentucky.
83. Bucky Irving, RB Oregon
The quarterbacks were the headliners, but the running back took over. Irving ran 13 times for 149 yards and two scores in the 28-27 win over North Carolina in the San Diego Country Credit Union Holiday Bowl.
82. Keaton Mitchell, RB East Carolina
QB Holton Ahlers and the passing game were the stars in the 53-29 win over Coastal Carolina in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl, but Mitchell was a steady force running 22 times for 127 yards and a score.
81. Justin Marshall, WR Buffalo
The Georgia Southern offense was supposed to explode, but it was the Buffalo passing attack that brought it home. Marshall caught 11 passes for 127 yards and a score, setting the tone early with his 32-yard touchdown grab in UB’s 23-21 win in the Camellia Bowl.
80. Zeke Rankin, PK Middle Tennessee
He missed one, but he hit a 49-yarder to go along with the game-winning 37-yarder with just over two minutes to play. He saved the offense making four of five field goal tries in the 25-23 win over San Diego State in the EasyPost Hawaii Bowl.
79. Chevan Cordeiro, QB San Jose State
In a losing cause, Cordeiro threw two big picks, but he connected on 26-of-44 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns and ran nine times for 50 yards and a score in the 41-27 loss to Eastern Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
78. Cooper DeJean, CB Iowa
A key part of the dominant Hawkeye defensive performance, he made seven tackles with a tackle for loss, a 14-yard pick six, and returned three punts for 34 yards in the 21-0 TransPerfect Music City Bowl win over Kentucky.
77. Jayden Daniels, QB LSU
The Tigers put this away fast thanks to Daniels. He completed 12-of-17 passes for 139 yards and a score, ran six times for a team-high 67 yards, and caught a five-yard touchdown pass in the 63-7 win over Purdue in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl.
76. Loic Fouonji, WR Texas Tech
The big receiver had a big night, leading the team with 100 yards on seven catches – and iced the game taking an onside kick 44 yards for a score – in the 42-25 TaxAct Texas Bowl win over Ole Miss.
NEXT: 100 Best Player of the Bowl Season Top 75
75. Trey Moore, DE UTSA
Moore tied for team-high six tackles, two sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and a broken up pass in the 18-12 Duluth Trading Cure Bowl loss to Troy.
74. Keshawn Banks, DE San Diego State
The main man for a defense that generated seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss and held Middle Tennessee to -66 rushing yards, he was tied for second on the team with seven tackles with two sacks and four tackles for loss in the 25-23 loss in the EasyPost Hawaii Bowl.
73. Taylor Powell, QB Eastern Michigan
After a rocky beginning he caught fire, completing 18-of-30 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown win an interception in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl win over San Jose State.
72. Luke Loecher, P Oregon State
He kept the struggling Florida offense pinned deep. He only punted three times, but he averaged 55.3 yards per kick with all three put inside the 20 in the 30-3 SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl.
71. Jett Johnson, LB Mississippi State
It was a defensive struggle, and Johnson was one of the standouts throughout the fight. He made a game-high 12 tackles with a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss in the 19-10 win over Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl.
70. Rasheen Ali, RB Marshall
It was a good finish in a rough season for the Herd rushing star. Khalan Laborn was the workhorse with 90 yards on 21 carries, but Ali ripped off a few bigger runs with a game-high 92 yards and a score in the 28-14 win over UConn in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
69. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR Ohio State
All year long he produced with Jaxon Smith-Njigba out, and he did it again with five catches for 106 yards and two scores in the 42-41 loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
68. Quinn Ewers, QB Texas
His Longhorns might not have pulled it out, but without much of a running game to help the cause he had a huge performance to make it interesting. He completed 31-of-47 passes for 369 yards and a touchdown in the 27-20 loss to Washington in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
67. KeSean Carter, WR Houston
He only made four catches, but his 41-yarder was a big one on the game-winning drive. His 112 yards on four catches with a touchdown led the way in the 23-16 win over Louisiana in the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl.
66. Quentin Johnson, WR TCU
The big-time playmaker made a big-time play. He caught six passes for a game-high 163 yards highlighted by a 76-yard touchdown in the 51-45 win over Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Fiesta Bowl.
65. Jacquez Stuart, RB Toledo
His performance was better than the stats. In the rain and muck, he powered away for 111 yards on 23 carries – his offense dominated the clock – in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl win over Liberty.
64. Dashaun Fenwick, RB Oregon State
Steady, he paced the Beaver offense with 107 yards on 21 carries in the 30-3 SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl win over Florida.
63. Eli Neal, LB Marshall
The biggest producer for a run defense that held up great early, but gave up a few big runs in the second half, Neal tied for the game-lead with ten tackles – seven solo stops – with 1.5 tackles for loss and a broken up pass – in the 28-14 win over UConn in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
62. Tyler Buchner, QB Notre Dame
Yeah, there were two very, very bad pick-sixes given up – and three interceptions in all – but he also completed 18-of-33 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 61 yards and two scores, in the 45-38 win over South Carolina in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.
61. Jared Verse, DE Florida State
The star pass rusher came through when needed in a nip-and-tuck battle, making a game-high 1.5 sacks with two tackles for loss and six stops in the 35-32 win over Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl.
60. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB Alabama
The do-it-all back once again pulled off a strong overall game to work the offense around. He averaged over five yards per carry with 76 yards on 15 carries and caught two passes for 66 yards in the 45-20 win over Kansas State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
59. Dadrion Taylor-Demerson, S Texas Tech
The Red Raider defense came up with a terrific performance in the 42-25 TaxAct Texas Bowl win over Ole Miss – Taylor-Demerson was one of the standouts who changed the game. He made eight tackles – seven of them solo stops – with a pick and a recovered fumble.
58. Matthew Salopek, LB Miami University
He made a game-high 15 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery in the 24-20 loss to UAB in the HomeTown Lenders Bahamas Bowl.
57. Mike Smith Jr., LB Liberty
In a game that came down to the running, Smith had to clean up a whole lot of messes with a game-high 16 tackles with half a sack and two tackles for loss in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl loss to Toledo.
56. Max Duggan, QB TCU
He threw two picks and only completed 14-of-29 passes, but his completions went for 225 yards and two touchdowns and he ran for 57 yards and two scores in the 51-45 win over Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Fiesta Bowl.
55. Sieh Bangura, RB Ohio
The steadying force in the gut-check win over Wyoming in the 30-27 overtime win over Wyoming in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl, he ran 25 times for 138 yards and a score and caught four passes for 18 yards.
54. Dorian Williams, LB Tulane
The Green Wave defense didn’t do a whole lot, but Williams was still a force making 17 tackles in the 46-45 win over USC in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.
53. Sam Hartman, QB Wake Forest
Now the ACC’s all-time touchdown pass leader, he threw three on a 23-of-36 passes for 280-yard passing day with a pick in the 27-17 Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl win over Missouri.
52. Emari Demercado, RB TCU
Michigan hadn’t allowed 150 rushing yards to any team all season. Demercado ran 17 times for 150 yards with a touchdown – highlighted by a 69-yard dash – in the 51-45 win over Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Fiesta Bowl.
51. Brenden Rice, WR USC
Caleb Williams spread the ball around, but Rice made the biggest impact among the receivers catching six passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns in the 46-45 loss to Tulane in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.
NEXT: 100 Best Player of the Bowl Season Top 50
50. Riley Leonard, QB Duke
The Blue Devil offense started well, took over in the second quarter, and kept things moving in the 30-13 win over UCF in the Military Bowl thanks to Leonard. He completed 19-of-28 passes for 173 yards and ran for a game-high 63 yards and two scores on ten carries.
49. Carlton Martial, LB Troy
The all-star tackling-machine came up with a game-high 14 stops in the 18-12 Duluth Trading Cure Bowl win over UTSA.
48. Kyrie Fisher-Morris, LB Oregon State
The game’s leading tackler made 11 tackles – seven of them solo – with a sack and three tackles for loss in the 30-3 SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl win over Florida.
47. Haaziq Daniels, QB Air Force
Everything worked almost perfectly with Daniels at the helm in the win over Baylor. He competed 4-of-7 passes for 103 yards and a score, and he ran 15 times for 81 yards and a touchdown in the 30-15 win in the Armed Forces Bowl.
46. Kevorian Barnes, RB UTSA
Taking over the running game, he ran 22 times for 138 yards with one catch for 10 yards in the 18-12 Duluth Trading Cure Bowl loss to Troy.
45. Clayton Tune, QB Houston
Tune came up with a late scoring drive to pull out a bowl win over Auburn last season. This time around he drove the team in the last few minutes – closing out with a game-winning touchdown pass – to finish 19-of-28 for 224 yards and three touchdowns with no picks. He also led the way with 44 rushing yards on 11 carries in the 23-16 win over Louisiana in the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl.
44. Luke Grimm, WR Kansas
Someone had to catch all the Jalon Daniels throws in the wild comeback attempt. Grimm was all but unstoppable, catching ten passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. It was his grab from 21 yards out with 41 seconds to play to force overtime in the 55-53 Liberty Bowl loss to Arkansas.
43. Nathanial Vakos, PK Ohio
His 46-yard field goal with four seconds to play forced overtime – it was his third field goal of the game after connecting from 43 and 45 yards out in the 30-27 win over Wyoming in the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl.
42. Rod Moore, S Michigan
It was a rough day overall for the Wolverine defense and Moore had to make too many plays. He was one of the brighter spots with a game-high 12 tackles – nine solo stops – with an interception in the 51-45 loss to TCU in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Fiesta Bowl.
41. Reddy Steward, CB Troy
Locked in a few key downfield battles, he made seven tackles with three broken up passes in the 18-12 Duluth Trading Cure Bowl win over UTSA.
40. Durrell Johnson DE Liberty
His team might have lost, and the defense couldn’t get off the field, but he did what he could with nine tackles – seven solo – a sack, and five tackles for loss in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl loss to Toledo.
39. Carlton Johnson S, Fresno State
The veteran defensive back led the way with a game-high ten tackles with a broken up pass and a tackle for loss in the 29-6 win over Washington State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl presented by Stifel.
38. Jermaine Brown, RB UAB
Stepping in for DeWayne McBride – the nation’s leading rusher – Brown ran 24 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns including the game-winner in the 24-20 win over Miami University in the HomeTown Lenders Bahamas Bowl.
37. Devo Bridges, DE Fresno State
Along with 8 tackles – 6 of them solo stops – he tied for a game-high two sacks in the 29-6 win over Washington State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl presented by Stifel.
36. Brian Branch, S Alabama
Fellow safety DeMarcco Hellams led the team and the game with 13 tackles, but Branch had a bigger all-around day with 12 tackles – 11 solo stops – with a sack, four tackles for loss, and a pick in the 45-20 win over Kansas State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
35. Coleman Bryson, S Minnesota
All seven of his tackles were solo stops, and his 70-yard pick six turned the game around. The big play put the Gophers in control for good in the 28-20 Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl win over Syracuse.
34. Holton Ahlers, QB East Carolina
East Carolina started hot and stayed there for a full four quarters in the 53-29 win over Coastal Carolina in the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl. Ahlers was the main reason, completing 26-of-38 passes for 300 yards and five scores with 48 rushing yards and a touchdown.
33. Daylen Gill, LB Southern Miss
All over the place, he led the game with 11 tackles with three sacks in the 38-24 win over Rice in the LendingTree Bowl.
32. Maurice Turner, RB Louisville
The workhorse on a day full of big rushing performances, he ran 31 times for 160 yards averaging 5.2 yards per carry in the 24-7 win over Cincinnati in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl.
31. Jake Haener, QB Fresno State
The veteran closed out his career completing 24-of-36 passes for 280 yards and two scores in the 29-6 win over Washington State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl presented by Stifel.
30. Dalvin Smith, WR WKU
One of three WKU receivers to get to 100 yards – Jaylen Hall hit 138 yards with a score and Malachi Corley caught 11 passes with two touchdowns – Smith caught six passes for 145 yards and a touchdown and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass in the 44-23 R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl win over South Alabama.
29. Xavier Nwankpa, S Iowa
The freshman picked a great time to have a standout performance after making just four tackles all year. He stepped up with eight tackles – seven solo – with a pick six in the 21-0 TransPerfect Music City Bowl win over Kentucky.
28. Johnny Wilson, WR Florida State
Jordan Travis spread the ball around, but his main man for the biggest plays turned out to be Wilson, who caught eight passes for 202 yards in the 35-32 win over Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl.
27. Trea Shropshire, WR UAB
With six catches for 183 yards – averaging over 30 yards per grab – and a touchdown, he set the tone early and needed attention the rest of the way in the 24-20 win over Miami University in the HomeTown Lenders Bahamas Bowl.
26. Brock Bowers, TE Georgia
Fine in the 42-41 win over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, he caught four passes for 64 yards. And then everything clicked on the biggest stage, catching seven passes for 152 yards and a score in the 65-7 win over TCU in the CFP National Championship.
NEXT: 100 Best Player of the Bowl Season Top 25
25. Shedeur Sanders, QB Jackson State
He couldn’t come though in overtime, but he got the team there. He completed 30-of-40 passes for 349 yards and four scores and ran for a touchdown in the 41-34 loss to North Carolina Central in the Cricket Celebration Bowl.
24. Dee Winters, LB TCU
The TCU defense might have struggled in the second half, but Winters was terrific throughout with seven tackles – all solo stops with three tackles for loss and a key interception for a touchdown in the 51-45 win over Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Fiesta Bowl.
23. Michael Pratt, QB Tulane
He might have been outplayed by Caleb Williams, but he came up with the big drives in the miraculous final minutes. He only completed 8-of-17 passes, but they went for 234 yards with two scores, and he ran 15 times for 83 yards, in the 46-45 win over USC in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.
22. Ivan Pace Jr., LB Cincinnati
He tried to do it all by himself with a game-leading 16 tackles with a sack in the 24-7 loss to Louisville in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl.
21. Emeka Egbuka, WR Ohio State
Good all season long, he raised his game in the biggest moment, making a game-high eight catches for 112 yards and a score in the 42-41 loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
20. Dylan Horton, DE TCU
There might not have been a whole lot of defense played in the epic shootout, but Horton had himself a game making six tackles with four sacks and a broken up pass in the 51-45 win over Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Fiesta Bowl.
19. Jammie Robinson, S Florida State
All over the field, he made a game-high 13 tackles – ten solo stops – with a sack and a fumble recovery in the 35-32 win over Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl.
18. Tyler Shough, QB Texas Tech
So that’s what he can do when healthy? Shough always had the talent, but he hasn’t been able to show it off enough thanks to a slew of injuries over his career. He was the man in the 42-25 TaxAct Texas Bowl win over Ole Miss, completing 24-of-39 passes for 242 yards and a score with a pick. He also came up with a game-high 111 rushing yards and two scores on 25 carries.
17. Jordan Ferguson, DE Middle Tennessee
Talk about doing everything, the 271-pound defensive end was second on the team with five tackles, came up with a massive tackle for loss late in the fourth quarter to all but end the game, picked off a pass, and caught a touchdown throw in the 25-23 win over San Diego State in the EasyPost Hawaii Bowl.
16. Diego Pavia, QB New Mexico State
Forget the stats – 17-of-29 for 167 yards and two touchdowns with one pick, and 65 rushing yards – the guy who was questionable for the game took a pounding, threw a key block when needed, and he converted third down after third down with his legs. Bowling Green knew what was coming, and couldn’t stop him when he converted three third downs in the final six minutes to run out the clock in the 24-19 win in the Quick Lane Bowl.
15. Jawhar Jordan, RB Louisville
Maurice Turner led the team in rushing yards, but Jordan was more explosive with 115 yards on nine carries with touchdown runs of 49 and 41 yards in the 24-7 win over Cincinnati in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl.
14. CJ Stroud, QB Ohio State
He might not have been able to pull it out, but he got the offense in a position for it all to come down to one kick. Brilliant, he completed 23-of-34 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns with no picks, and ran for 34 yards, in the 42-41 loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff Semifinal Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
13. Bryce Young, QB Alabama
He only completed 15 passes in his 21 tries, but he made them count throwing for 321 yards and five touchdowns – averaging over 15 yards per pass – in the 45-20 win over Kansas State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
12. Jordan Travis, QB Florida State
The Seminoles had a fight on their hands, but Travis was able to pull them through with a great fourth quarter and a massive game, completing 27-of-38 passes for 418 yards and two touchdowns with a pick in the 35-32 win over Oklahoma in the Cheez-It Bowl.
11. Brad Roberts, FB Air Force
The pounding Air Force fullback kept running up the middle to dare Baylor stop him and the rest of the offense – it didn’t work out well for the Bears. He carries it 37 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns in the 30-15 win in the Armed Forces Bowl.
NEXT: 100 Best Player of the Bowl Season Top 10
10. KJ Jefferson, QB Arkansas
It might have been a rough landing, but he kept his cool in the overtimes and got the win, finishing with 287 passing yards and two scores with a pick on a 19-of-29 day. He also ran 14 times for a game-high 130 yards and two touchdowns in the 55-53 triple-overtime win over Kansas.
9. Caleb Williams, QB USC
All he did was complete 37-of-52 passes or 462 yards and five scores with a pick. It wasn’t enough – his defense let him down – in the wild 46-45 loss to Tulane in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.
8. Davius Richard, QB North Carolina Central
Always under pressure, he completed 15-of-20 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown, and he ran 22 times for 97 yards and two scores in the 41-34 overtime win over Jackson State in the Cricket Celebration Bowl.
7. Jordan Mims, RB Fresno State
With big, gashing runs, he took over with 209 yards and two scores on 18 carries in the 29-6 win over Washington State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl presented by Stifel.
6. Tyjae Spears, RB Tulane
The USC run defense had its problems this year, and Spears got to have a turn. He ran 17 times for 205 yards and four scores in the 46-45 win over USC in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl.
5. Jalon Daniels, QB Kansas
He did everything but win the game. The main main in the wild comeback, he completed 37-of-55 passes for 544 yards and five scores with two picks, and ran 14 times for 21 yards and a touchdown in the 55-53 triple-overtime Liberty Bowl loss to Arkansas.
4. Reynard Ellis, LB UAB
He came up with a team-high 10 tackles with a half a sack, but it’s all about his tenth stop – that was the one that saved the game. He stopped Miami University’s Jalen Walker on the two-yard line on the last play in the 24-20 win over Miami University in the HomeTown Lenders Bahamas Bowl.
3. Austin Reed, QB WKU
Just when it seemed like he was off to Louisville, he came back to WKU and put away the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl vs South Alabama in a bit of a shocker, completing 36-of-55 passes for 497 yards and four touchdowns with a pick, and he ran four times for 25 yards in the 44-23 R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl win.
2. Frank Gore Jr., RB Southern Miss
Fantastic from start to finish, Gore Jr. set a bowl record with 329 rushing yards – the most by anyone this year – with touchdown runs of 64 and 55 yards. He also completed two of three passes for 19 yards and a score in the 38-24 win over Rice in the LendingTree Bowl.
1. Stetson Bennett, QB Georgia
All he did is engineer one of the most important and impressive drives in college football history. He completed 23-of-34 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns with a pick, and he ran for a touchdown. He saved his best work for last, cranking up a five-play, 72-yard final Bulldog drive completing the comeback to win the College Football Playoff Semifinal Peach Bowl 42-41 over Ohio State.
He took his game up another notch when it mattered most completing 18-of-25 passes for 304 yards and four scores, and ran for 39 yards and two touchdowns in the 65-7 win over TCU in the CFP National Championship.