The sound of stunned silence was even noticeable during the television broadcast.
The nearly sold out crowd at the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., most of whom were there to watch South Alabama play in its first-ever bowl game, had just seen the Jaguars take the lead late in the fourth quarter against Bowling Green only to give it right back on a 78-yard bomb that ultimately sealed the game.
Bowling Green, which led almost the entire game, escaped with a 33-28 win in the most exciting bowl game on the inaugural day of the 2014-15 bowl season.
With 1:20 remaining, South Alabama running back Terrance Timmons scampered three yards to give the Jaguars a 28-27 lead, its first lead of the game.
But the moment lasted all of two plays as Bowling Green quarterback James Knapke found receiver Roger Lewis on a 78-yard bomb down the middle of the field. Lewis broke one tackle before heading into the end zone.
South Alabama threw an interception and then ran into Bowling Green’s punter on the ensuing possession to end the game.
Knapke’s heroics weren’t exactly unforeseen.
Every time South Alabama tried to creep back into the game, Bowling Green seemingly had an answer. However, the expediency with which Bowling Green answered South Alabama’s lead-taking score was flabbergasting, especially since South Alabama had held the Bowling Green offense mostly in check in the fourth quarter.
Both of these teams limped into the bowl game with losing streaks. The Jaguars had lost four of their last five and Bowling Green had lost three straight. But the Falcons jumped on the Jaguars early and kept them at arm’s length most of the game.
Bowling Green finishes the season with eight wins, its third season of at least eight wins in the past four years, while South Alabama falls to 6-7.
Knapke, who threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns, was named the bowl’s MVP.
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