NCAA Football News

Bowl Schedule 2013-14: Highlighting Best Clashes of the New Year

If some of the results from early bowl games are any indication of what's to come, then college football fans better get ready for the upcoming matchups.

The bowl season started off right on Dec. 21, when Colorado State won a thrilling matchup against Washington State, 48-45, and the excitement has continued through the most recent clash of Utah State and Northern Illinois. Utah was victorious, 21-14, and Jordan Lynch showed that he may not be ready for the big show after all.

The biggest matchups of the bowl season are still to come, and the slate of January affairs will help college football fans to start the new year and finish their season on a high note.


The Remaining Schedule

Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman Marshall vs. Maryland Dec. 27 @ 2:30 p.m. ESPN Texas Syracuse vs. Minnesota Dec. 27 @ 6 p.m. ESPN Fight Hunger BYU vs. Washington Dec. 27 @ 9:30 p.m. ESPN New Era Pinstripe Rutgers vs. Notre Dame Dec. 28 @ Noon ESPN Belk Cincinnati vs. North Carolina Dec. 28 @ 3:20 p.m. ESPN Russell Athletic Louisville vs. Miami Dec. 28 @ 6:45 p.m. ESPN Buffalo Wild Wings Kansas St. vs. Michigan Dec. 28 @ 10:15 p.m. ESPN Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Middle Tennessee vs. Navy Dec. 30 @ 11:45 a.m. ESPN Franklin American Mortgage Music City Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech Dec. 30 @ 3:15 p.m. ESPN Valero Alamo Texas vs. Oregon Dec. 30 @ 6:45 p.m. ESPN National University Holiday Texas Tech vs. Arizona St. Dec. 30 @ 10:15 p.m. ESPN AdvoCare V100 Boston College vs. Arizona Dec. 31 @ 12:30 p.m. ESPN Hyundai Sun Virginia Tech vs. UCLA Dec. 31 @ 2 p.m. CBS AutoZone Liberty Rice vs. Mississippi St. Dec. 31 @ 4 p.m. ESPN Chick-fil-A Duke vs. Texas A&M Dec. 31 @ 8 p.m. ESPN Gator Georgia vs. Nebraska Jan. 1 @ Noon ESPN2 Heart of Dallas North Texas vs. UNLV Jan. 1 @ Noon ESPNU Capital One Wisconsin vs. South Carolina Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m. ABC Outback LSU vs. Iowa Jan. 1 @ 1 p.m. ESPN Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO Michigan St. vs. Stanford Jan. 1 @ 5 p.m. ESPN Tostitos Fiesta Baylor vs. UCF Jan. 1 @ 8:30 p.m. ESPN Allstate Sugar Alabama vs. Oklahoma Jan. 2 @ 8:30 p.m. ESPN Discover Orange Clemson vs. Ohio St. Jan. 3 @ TBD ESPN AT&T Cotton Missouri vs. Oklahoma St. Jan. 3 @ 7:30 p.m. FOX BBA Compass Houston vs. Vanderbilt Jan. 4 @ 1 p.m. ESPN GoDaddy Arkansas St. vs. Ball St. Jan. 5 @ 9 p.m. ESPN VIZIO BCS National Championship Florida St. vs. Auburn Jan. 6 @ 8:30 p.m. ESPN


Capital One Bowl

Wisconsin and South Carolina figure to compete in one of the more competitive games of the bowl season, but the Capital One Bowl should be won by the Badgers.

The New Year's Day matchup features one of the premier rushing teams in the country in Wisconsin and one of the more clutch teams in South Carolina. Sure, a loss to Georgia early in the season wasn't good for the perception of the team, but a double-overtime win against Missouri and a convincing win against Clemson on Nov. 30 have put the Gamecocks in good position entering their Jan. 1 contest.

That being said, Wisconsin has too much firepower in the run game to be taken down by South Carolina's No. 14-ranked defense.

Melvin Gordon and James White headline the attack. Both have run for at least 1,300 yards and combine for 25 touchdowns. Corey Clement and Jared Abbrederis combine for over 600 more yards and nine more touchdowns.

The Gamecocks will try to force Joel Stave to become the offensive leader. If they can do that, then they stand a good chance of winning. If not, then Wisconsin will rack up yards on the ground and win.


Discover Orange Bowl

Braxton Miller can't be a one-dimensional quarterback against Clemson; otherwise Ohio State will come up short in this year's Discover Orange Bowl.

Primarily a threat on the ground, Miller showed off his legs against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game. He rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns, but the Spartans held him to just eight completions and 101 yards through the air. He completed just 38.1 percent of his passes and averaged 4.8 yards per completion.

That type of production won't get it done against a top-notch Clemson defense.

Brandon Rink of provides interesting statistics in regards to Clemson's defensive pressure:

Clemson makes no bones about its pressure prowess: No. 1 in tackles for loss (113) and No. 22 in sacks (33). But facing this kind of attack throws a wrench into the typical plan.

The attack Rink is referring to is the dual-threat ability of Miller. If Clemson can contain his run game and force him to be a pocket passer, then its chances of success in the Orange Bowl go up—way up. Watching their game plan unfold on the gridiron will be exciting to watch.


VIZIO BCS National Championship Game

No breakdown of compelling January matchups would be complete without the BCS title game, pitting undefeated Florida State against Cinderella-story Auburn.

Via Daniel Uthman of USA TODAY Sports:

"We've gotten the matchup everybody wants to see," said Bill Hancock, the BCS executive director. "We felt we'd get the two best teams, and we did."

It took the Tigers two spectacular victories against Alabama and Missouri to make it to the final BCS title game in college football history, and they appear to be the team of destiny. Heisman finalist Tre Mason has carried them over the past several games, and his performance on the ground against an aggressive Seminoles defense will dictate how well the offense performs.

The Seminoles' offensive game plan begins and ends with Heisman winner Jameis Winston. If he can pick apart the Tigers defense, then Florida State should win. He's simply too good and too consistent to pick against.

Then again, teams of destiny often overcome a ton of obstacles on their way to titles. Auburn started that journey with a game-ending miracle against the Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl, so maybe we'll see more of the same in this one.

This game has too much potential to pass over.

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College Football Bowl Picks 2013: Picking Bowl Season's Most Intriguing Games

It's the most wonderful time of the year. No, not because of the holiday season. It's college football bowl season!

There is truly nothing more exciting than curling up on the couch with your favorite beverage and some nachos and just binging on football.

The games so far have been fantastic—see Colorado State's last-minute comeback against Washington State. But the games are only going to get better from here. Below, we'll pick every remaining bowl game before focusing on three of the most intriguing games of the bowl season.


Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas vs. Oregon

It's Mack Brown's final game, leaving him with one last chance to cement his legacy. He already is a Texas legend, as evidenced by this billboard that fans created (via BuzzFeed Sports):

While Longhorn players will undoubtedly feel motivated to win one for Brown, Oregon is the much better team. Even though the Ducks faltered down the stretch, losing two of their last four, they still averaged 46.8 points per game, which is third in the nation. Texas, meanwhile, gives up 25.5 points per game, which is 56th in the nation. 

Furthermore, Texas has a porous run defense, giving up 180.3 yards per game. That means that De'Anthony Thomas, Byron Marshall and Tyler Tyner will go off.

Remember, this is a Texas team that has lost two of its last three and only has one win against a Top-25 team. 

So while it will be closer due to the extra motivation of sending Brown off properly, Oregon is just too talented and Texas' run defense is not good enough.

Final Score: Oregon 31, Texas 21


AdvoCare V100 Bowl: Arizona vs. Boston College

If anyone loves old-fashioned, ground-and-pound football, then look no further.

This game features two of the best running backs in the game—Arizona's Kadeem Carey and Boston College's Andre Williams.

Here's how the two stack up:

Williams got the Heisman nod, but voters really did overlook Carey, who is a fantastic player and probably the better pro prospect.

Both teams are going to stick to the run and for good reason, since both run defenses aren't that great. BC gives up 154.2 yards per game, while the Wildcats give up 169.6 per game.

To me, this game comes down to which team has the better overall offense, and that's Arizona. The Wildcats average 32.8 points per game, while the Eagles average 28.4. 

I think both of these sterling running backs will have huge games, but Arizona has enough other weapons to pull out the victory.

Final Score: Arizona 34, Boston College 24


Rose Bowl Game Presented by VIZIO: Michigan State vs. Stanford

This is another old-fashioned football game, featuring two teams that love to run the ball and stop the run.

However, Michigan State is at a distinct disadvantage, since star linebacker Max Bullough is suspended for the contest, according to ESPN:

In a statement to reporters, coach Mark Dantonio was evasive as to why Bullough was suspended (via Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free-Press):

Max Bullough has been suspended for the remainder of the season for a violation of team rules. It is extremely disappointing for all parties involved. We will stay focused and close ranks as we prepare for Stanford on January 1 in the Rose Bowl. Max will forever remain a Spartan and valued member in this team’s achievements. We will have no further comment on this issue.

Bullough, the third team All-American, had 76 tackles and 9.5 for loss this season. He is the cornerstone of this fantastic defense, the heart and soul, and the second-best player, behind stud corner Darqueze Dennard.

This absolutely affects the Michigan State defense, a unit that only gives up 12.7 points per game and only 80.8 rushing yards per game, which is best in the nation.

That should mean that Tyler Gaffney will have a monster game. The senior has 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. He may tear off a few runs like this one:

Stanford coach David Shaw told Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle that Bullough is a "great player. I'm sad for him. As a senior, he's going to miss out on this opportunity."

Shaw, however, must be happy that Gaffney will have bigger holes to run through. I think Gaffney could run for 150-plus yards.

Michigan State will keep it close, but Stanford has just enough firepower to pull it off. 

Final Score: Stanford 21, Michigan State 10

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Pinstripe Bowl 2013: Full Preview for Rutgers vs. Notre Dame

Yankee Stadium will host the 2013 Pinstripe Bowl between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Dec. 28, providing one of the most interesting games before the BCS matchups are underway.

"Interesting" doesn't necessarily mean this is the juiciest upcoming clash, because the Irish (8-4) have had a severe letdown this season coming off a trip to last season's BCS national title game.

Rutgers will be partaking in this bowl for the second time in three years, having won 2011's edition 27-13 over Iowa State, which was the last game coached by Greg Schiano before his move to the NFL.

In Kyle Flood's second year as Schiano's successor, he saw his team's regular-season record fall from 8-4 to a meager 6-6. If not for a 31-6 triumph over South Florida in the final game, the Scarlet Knights would not have been eligible for a bowl bid.

The winner of this showdown at the historic venue in the Bronx will end the year on a high note and set the tone for the future.

Flood weighed in on what a victory would mean after practice on Thursday, Dec. 26, per's Josh Newman:

I think winning always helps recruiting. I think once you turn the page on the season, you’ve turned the page. The team will be different and the offseason will be different because the team is different. Winning, whether it’s in the the regular season or the bowl season, winning never hurts your program and winning always helps recruiting.

Plenty is at stake here despite the diminished 2013 status of these programs, so let's take a look at when and where to catch the game along with a preview as to how it will play out.

Note: Team statistics are courtesy of Individual defensive stats were obtained via



Blueprint for Rutgers Victory

One thing the Scarlet Knights can hang their hats on is the ability to swarm to the football and stop opponents from running the football.

Given how suspect and turnover-prone Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees is at times, the success Rutgers has will depend heavily on continuing to build on its biggest strength, which has yielded the nation's No. 4 rush defense.

Opponents have gained less than three yards per carry on the Scarlet Knights, but only three teams have allowed more yards through the air than Rutgers (311.4 yards per game).

Rutgers is tied for 24th in sacks with 32 as a team, though, which somewhat makes up for a vulnerable secondary.

There is clear talent on that side of the ball within the front seven, particularly between linebackers Steve Longa and Kevin Snyder, along with stout defensive tackle Darius Hamilton (10 tackles for loss).

Having said that, the tone must be set on offense. The running back tandem of Paul James and Justin Goodwin (combined 14 rushing TDs) has to get going early to alleviate the burden for senior signal-caller Chas Dodd to shoulder the load.

If all of that can happen, the Scarlet Knights have a decent chance at pulling off the upset at a favorable location with regard to proximity from Piscataway.


Blueprint for Notre Dame Victory

Anything involving Rees putting the ball in the air isn't usually a promising proposition. The Scarlet Knights can get after the quarterback, but Rees is facing a very favorable matchup and has the weapons to exploit Rutgers on the back end.

Tight end Troy Niklas is a matchup nightmare at 6'7" and 270 pounds. Savvy receivers TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels have made plays all season, helping Rees to a career-best 8.01 yards per attempt.

The Irish also have a backfield stocked with talent between freshman phenom Tarean Folston, gritty junior Cam McDaniel and the electrifying big-play threat George Atkinson III.

With that superior depth, they should get Rees going early and often and then wear down the Scarlet Knights late in the game by pounding the rock.

Asked how he'd call the game, head coach Brian Kelly sprinkled in some humor in poking fun at passing game coordinator Mike Denbrock:

Chances are, Kelly's previous offensive genius will shine through and allow the Irish to put enough points on the board to secure a win. As long as Notre Dame's 76th-ranked rush defense isn't gashed too severely, its outlook to win is promising.


Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Rutgers 17

The Irish should have some trouble defending the run, but eventually Rutgers' shortcomings will shine through.

A big kicker in this game will be the Scarlet Knights' lack of discipline that has resulted in a -9 turnover margin for the season and an average of 6.75 penalties per game. Those are primary culprits behind their mediocre record.

Rees will want to end his polarizing Notre Dame career on a high note, and Kelly will ensure that happens.

Although the spread won't be covered and the game should be close through the first half, the Irish will find a way to prevail thanks to better talent, depth and a huge edge Rees has at the quarterback position over his counterpart in Dodd.

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Bowl Games 2013-14: College Football Showcases That Will Come Down to the Wire

It's officially bowl season with college football teams around the country locking up in showcases to wrap up their respective campaigns. But once the calendar turns to January, the competition really heats up with the top teams taking the field in college football's marquee matchups.

While there are certainly some blowouts in the making, there are also a host of games that figure to be decided in the final stages of the game. Here's a look at the remaining bowl schedule and analysis of three contests with evenly matched teams.


Capital One: No. 9 South Carolina (10-2) vs. No. 19 Wisconsin (9-3)

Both of these teams fell short of their big expectations, but it leaves us with a explosive non-BCS matchup that will pit two powerful teams against each other.

South Carolina has won five straight contests, but a 23-21 loss to Tennessee earlier in the year kept the the team on the outside of the BCS picture. Meanwhile, Wisconsin's regular season ended with a 31-24 loss to Penn State in the first year with coach Gary Andersen.

The main focus of this matchup will be on the impressive Wisconsin running game clashing with South Carolina's stout defensive front.

Behind another batch of big, athletic linemen, the Badgers ranked second in the nation with a 6.6 yards-per-carry average. Melvin Gordon (1,466 yards, 12 TDs) and James White (1,337 yards, 13 TDs) create the best backfield duo in the nation, but they will face a stiff test against South Carolina.

The Gamecocks are led by possible 2014 NFL No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney and All-American tackle Kelcy Quarles. Clowney became an instant phenomenon on New Year's Day 2013 with his crushing hit, and you can assume his motor will be turned up for this one.

In its three losses this year, Wisconsin has faced tough rushing defenses like Ohio State, Arizona State and Penn State. While South Carolina doesn't stack up with OSU, it compares favorably to ASU and Penn State, and it should be able to slow down Wisconsin. Badgers receiver Jared Abbrederis (73 catches, 1,051 yards, seven TDs) is a threat, but Wisconsin isn't built to win through the air.

On the other side of the ball, efficient quarterback Connor Shaw (2,135 yards, 21 TDs, one INT) and tailback Mike Davis (1,134 yards, 11 TDs) have enough firepower to get the job done for a Gamecocks victory.

Prediction: South Carolina wins 27-24


Cotton: No. 8 Missouri (11-2) vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State (10-2)

The selection committee for the Cotton Bowl picked two longtime rivals that have history dating back to 1915. The two schools were also conference foes in the Big Eight and Big 12 Conferences before Missouri joined the SEC in 2012.

Both of these teams suffered heartbreaking losses late in the season, with Oklahoma State losing its chance to win the Big 12 title by virtue of a 33-24 defeat to Oklahoma in the Bedlam rivalry game. Missouri missed out on a BCS bowl when it was walloped 59-42 by Auburn in the SEC Championship.

Still, coach Gary Pinkel deserves a lot of credit for the job he's done with Mizzou this year.

Quarterback James Franklin (2,255 yards, 19 TDs, five INTs) leads a balanced Tigers offense that also features tailback Henry Josey (1,074 yards, 13 TDs) and a trio of big wideouts in L'Damian Washington (47 catches, 853 yards, 10 TDs), Dorial Green-Beckham (55 catches, 830 yards, 12 TDs) and Marcus Lucas (55 catches, 646 yards, two TDs).

Think Missouri is pumped up for this game? Check out how excited the players were to receive their Cotton Bowl swag:

Oklahoma State also has a well-rounded offense, but I suspect Franklin will outplay inconsistent Cowboys QB Clint Chelf (1,792 yards, 15 TDs, six INTs), who will have a long day against Missouri defensive end stars like Michael Sams and Kony Ealy.

Prediction: Missouri wins 31-27


Orange: No. 7 Ohio State (12-1) vs. No. 12 Clemson (10-2)

This much-anticipated BCS matchup is expected to be a shootout, as these two schools possess some of the most potent offenses in the country.

Leading the way for both teams are a couple of talented quarterbacks in Clemson's Tajh Boyd (3,473 passing yards, 29 passing TDs, nine rushing TDs, nine INTs) and OSU's Braxton Miller (1,860 passing yards, 22 TDs, five INTs, 1,033 rushing yards, 10 TDs).

These two teams are also very similar on the defensive end in terms of points allowed per game, as Clemson (21.1) holds a slight edge over OSU (21.3). But Ohio State has a more complete attack with elite running back Carlos Hyde (1,408 yards, 14 TDs), who I suspect will run rampant against a Clemson defense that ranks 51st against the run (152.6 yards allowed per game).

Boyd and the Clemson offense will certainly put up some points, but Miller, Hyde and Buckeyes should be able to squeak by in a shootout. In the end, Ohio State is a more complete team than Clemson and should win this BCS bowl, which is something of a consolation after the Buckeyes lost out on a chance to play in the national championship.

Prediction: Ohio State wins 42-38

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Holiday Bowl 2013: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

The No. 14 Arizona State Sun Devils and Texas Tech Red Raiders will meet from Qualcomm Stadium on Dec. 30 for the 2013 Holiday Bowl, where both high-powered offenses will look to turn things around to close their seasons.

Todd Graham and the 10-3 Sun Devils were a major disappointment in the Pac-12 title game to end the season, as the Stanford Cardinal won and will play in the Rose Bowl. Arizona State must settle for this bowl, where its all-time record is 0-3.

Things have been much worse for Kliff Kingsbury and the 7-5 Red Raiders, a team that has lost five straight and now has serious question marks at the quarterback position.

A shootout is surely in store between two top-30 offenses, so do not miss out on a bowl infamous for wild endings.


When: Monday, Dec. 30 at 10:15 p.m. ET

Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, Calif.

Television: ESPN

Live Stream: ESPN3

Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)

  • Over/Under: 71.5
  • Spread: Arizona State (-14)


Sun Devils Injury Report (via USA Today)

Red Raiders Injury Report (via USA Today)


Can Red Raiders Right Sinking Ship?

A string of five losses is far from the biggest concern for Texas Tech entering the late-December showdown with Arizona State.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield, owner of 2,315 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and the title Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year after winning the job as a walk on, informed the team earlier in the month that he intends to transfer to Oklahoma, per College GameDay on Twitter:

This means Kingsbury is forced to choose between Davis Webb and Michael Brewer. As Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal illustrates, that is a tough thing to do at the end of a season:

Webb appeared in nine games this season and threw for 2,315 yards and 16 scores, while Brewer attempted just 10 passes.

No matter who is under center, the Red Raiders offense must play at a high level to both mask a miserable defense and overcome a Sun Devils offense that ranks in the top 10 with an average of 41 points scored per game.



Arizona State's dynamic duo of quarterback Taylor Kelly (3,510 yards and 28 touchdowns) and receiver Jaelen Strong (71 catches, 1,094 yards and seven scores) will find it rather simple to torch the Texas Tech defense that ranks No. 90 with an average of 31.2 points allowed.

Other than that, Arizona State needs to simply keep playing its game for the school to win for the first time in the bowl. Brad Denny of 3TV reports another alarming stat in the Sun Devils' favor:

Arizona State is simply the better team, has no distractions to worry about and has plenty to prove.


Final Score: Sun Devils 38, Red Raiders 28


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Alamo Bowl 2013: TV Info, Spread, Injury Updates, Game Time and More

The 2013 Valero Alamo Bowl between the No. 10 Oregon Ducks and Texas Longhorns is littered with intriguing storylines—both on the field and off thanks to notable names both staying and going after the showdown from the Alamodome.

The 8-4 Longhorns lost two of three in ugly fashion to close the year and miss out on a Big 12 title. For additional salt in the wound, the Longhorns are serious underdogs here in what will be coach Mack Brown and quarterback Case McCoy's final game with the school.

Things are much more positive for the 10-2 Ducks, as the team will see quarterback Marcus Mariota return next season. While great news, it is but a Band-Aid to disguise the fact Oregon went .500 in its final four to close the season and miss out on the Pac-12 title.

So will it be Texas closing one era on a positive note and beginning another with a bang, or will Oregon prematurely start what is sure to be another national-championship hunt next season?


When: Monday, Dec. 30 at 6:45 p.m. ET

Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas

Television: ESPN

Live Stream: ESPN3

Betting Lines (via Vegas Insider)

  • Over/Under: 67
  • Spread: Oregon (-14)


Ducks Injury Report (via USA Today)

Longhorns Injury Report (via USA Today)


Can Texas Overcome Distractions as Two Mainstays Partake in Final Game? 

By now, collegiate fans know Mack Brown is on his way out after 16 years in Austin highlighted by 158 victories and a national championship after an undefeated season in 2005.

Brown told the media, via ABC News, that the Alamo Bowl would be his last game with the school in the hopes the program can turn things around:

It's been a wonderful ride. Now, the program is again being pulled in different directions, and I think the time is right for a change. I love the University of Texas, all of its supporters, the great fans and everyone that played and coached here ... It is the best coaching job and the premier football program in America.

I sincerely want to get back to the top and that's why I'm stepping down after the bowl game. I hope with some new energy, we can get this thing rolling again.

Brown is far from the only loss with McCoy on his way out, too. The senior threw for 1,885 yards with 11 touchdowns and interceptions. He will now be asked to duel Oregon's Mariota, who at one point was a top Heisman contender and leads the nation's No. 3 overall offense that averages 46.8 points per game.

The Longhorns have a tall task indeed, especially thanks to a wealth of distractions, a disappointing year and an unusually long layoff between games.



The narrative that Texas will come out emotionally charged to fight for its departing coach is nullified with the news that the Ducks will be losing defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti as well, per CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman:

As Andrew Greif of The Oregonian illustrates, both teams are on equal footing as a result:

Aliotti, who has spent 21 seasons with the Ducks in three different stints, has his defense playing at a high level. That is arguably the main reason Texas does not stand a chance Monday. The unit ranks No. 25 with an average of 21.6 points surrendered per game.

ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit puts it best:

Mariota (3,412 yards and 30 touchdowns) and the Ducks offense will have no problem scoring on a Longhorns defense that ranks outside of the top 50. McCoy and the Longhorns have scored more than 40 points just three times in 2013.

A fourth journey over the threshold is simply not in the cards.


Final Score: Ducks 48, Longhorns 28


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2013 Fight Hunger Bowl: 10 Things We Learned in Washington's Win over BYU

The Washington Huskies (9-4) came into tonight's game with interim head coach Marques Tuiasosopo and were able to beat the BYU Cougars (8-5) impressively by a score of 31-16. 

Washington only accrued 319 yards of total offense in this game. However, the Husky defense stepped up and shut out BYU in the second half. Bishop Sankey led Washington with two rushing touchdowns on the evening. 

Taysom Hill played exceptionally well in the loss. He threw for 293 yards and rushed for 133 more. He just didn't get a ton of help on the evening, outside of wide receiver Cody Hoffman. 

Here are 10 things we learned in this contest. 

Begin Slideshow

Cyler Miles Looking Like He Can Finish the Job Keith Price Started at Washington

Washington's 31-16 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl defeat of Brigham Young was a combination of fond farewells and strides into the program's future—particularly so at quarterback, with the symbolic torch-passing from outgoing senior Keith Price to redshirt freshman Cyler Miles. 

The transition began before Friday's bowl win, as Price's battles with injuries in the regular season thrust Miles into the starting lineup. Circumstances against BYU were similar: Price suffered a rib injury in the third quarter that required an X-ray, per sideline reports. 

For a career as illustrious—and frankly, as important to re-establishing Washington football—as Price's, the ending was anti-climatic. He provided a few vintage Price moments against BYU, connecting with one of his favorite targets, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, on a touchdown pass. That came just a few snaps after he broke off a 20-yard rush to move the Huskies into Cougars territory.  

Price had his hard-earned and well-deserved moment in the spotlight, helping the Huskies to their first postseason win since 2010 and the first of his career. But in the fourth quarter, the gap between two eras of Washington football was bridged. 

Miles came on with the Huskies enjoying a 12-point cushion, but the outcome was hardly decided. The Huskies went three-and-out on his first possession, but his second salted away the victory. 

Two plays in particular send Miles and Washington into the 2014 offseason with visions of what next season can be. First, he converted a third-down opportunity on a quick read to wide receiver Kevin Smith. Two snaps later from midfield, he broke past the line and accelerated beyond the second level, rolling off 32 yards on a rush that set up an eventual Travis Coons field goal. 

The carry prompted plenty of favorable comparisons on social media, including this of a former national champion from Associated Press reporter Ralph Russo: 

Asking Miles to take Washington to the heights Vince Young elevated Texas is expecting a lot. However, the redshirt freshman quarterback is taking over a much different Huskies football program than the one Price inherited three years ago. 

It might be easy to overlook in a season that Washington scored its most victories since 2000 this is a program still just five years removed from going winless. When Price and the other departing, fifth-year seniors committed as recruits, they were committing to a vision. 

Price was integral in turning Washington's vision into a reality. So was junior running back Bishop Sankey, who may or may not have played his final game with the Huskies. 

If Friday was Sankey's final collegiate appearance, he ended his career in style, scoring a pair of touchdowns. 

Because of their efforts, the underclassmen returning to kick off the Chris Petersen era do so with a solid foundation in place. John Ross is among those young Huskies. The freshman wide receiver drew comparisons to Oregon's do-everything junior De'Anthony Thomas before the season, and Friday he lived up to the billing with a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. 

Junior defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha will be a senior leader for Washington's new era, and he set a resounding tone in San Francisco by sacking BYU quarterback Taysom Hill three times. His efforts garnered Defensive Most Valuable Player of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. 

But more than anyone else, Miles will take up the mantle for the next phase in Washington Huskies football. And thanks to Price and Co., the team he'll lead is in position to accomplish something special. 

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BYU vs. Washington: Score, Grades and Analysis from Fight Hunger Bowl 2013

Washington closed out 2013 on a three-game winning streak after defeating BYU 31-16 in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Friday, Dec. 27.

The Huskies executed on offense when they had to and shutout the Cougars in the second half, zeroing in on dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill.

Led by quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey, Washington set the tone early on in the first quarter, driving the ball 71 yards on 12 plays for the game's opening touchdown (11-yard TD run by Sankey). The impressive scoring drive would be a sign of things to come.

BYU finally responded a few minutes into the second quarter as Hill punched it in from one yard out to cap off an 88-yard drive. Unfortunately for the Cougars, the celebration wouldn't last more than a few moments as Washington's John Ross returned the ensuing kickoff 104 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, per ESPN College Football on Twitter:

BYU would answer with a pair of field goals. However, another Sankey touchdown run late in the second quarter stretched the Huskies' lead to eight points.

Despite bogging down in the red zone on multiple occasions, the Cougars would carry momentum into the locker room at halftime after tacking on a third Justin Sorensen field goal at the second-quarter buzzer. 

At the halftime break,'s Martin Rickman pointed out the harsh irony for BYU:

The Huskies couldn't have dreamed of a better start to the second half. After receiving the opening kickoff of the third quarter, Washington drove 62 yards in 10 plays to take a commanding 28-16 lead. The drive was capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Price to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. 

Following the Huskies' score, The Seattle Times' Adam Jude introduced a unique stat: 

Washington's offense would struggle from that point on before suffering a major blow early in the fourth quarter when Price was forced off the field with a rib injury, per ESPN Pac-12 on Twitter:

Cyler Miles would replace Price under center. The freshman's inexperience quickly became obvious, but an impressive 32-yard run by Miles late in the game put Washington in position to extend its lead to 15 points.

The Cougars would have their chances to get back in the game, but were unable to cash in, racking up just 128 total yards of offense in the second half thanks to some exceptional halftime adjustments and a dominant performance from the Huskies' defense.

Washington linebacker John Timu would put the finishing touches on the Huskies' stellar defensive effort with an interception in the waning moments. The junior defender was arguably Washington's best player on the night, turning in a 17-tackle performance, his best of the season.


Key Player Grades

Keith Price, QB, Washington: B

Washington senior signal-caller Keith Price wasn't perfect on Friday, but he didn't have to be as the Huskies' running game was successful and the defense delivered. Price will want his lone interception back, but he should be commended for his toughness.

In the end, he completed 16 of 21 passes for 112 yards and a key touchdown. Price also picked up 27 yards on seven carries. 


Taysom Hill, QB, BYU: A

Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill racked up tons of yards through the air and on the ground in BYU's loss. Unfortunately, Hill was the entire offense for BYU, accounting for 431 of the team's 473 total yards. 

He'll be wishing he found the end zone more than once on the trip back to Provo, Utah.


Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington: A

Sankey wasn't overwhelming in limited action on Friday (4.6 yards per carry), but he did make some highlight-reel plays, including his second-quarter touchdown run from 11 yards out, per analyst Bucky Brooks: 

The junior running back would finish with 96 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries and 10 yards receiving on three receptions out of the backfield.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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Alamo Bowl: Fresh Texas vs. Oregon Preview

All eyes will be on the Valero Alamo Bowl game between the Texas Longhorns and the Oregon Ducks, but not necessarily because of the great matchup on the field. The college football nation will be anxiously waiting to see if the Longhorns can send Mack Brown off into the sunset with a win in his final game coaching at Texas.

Brown holds a 10-4 bowl-game record and is 0-1 against Oregon in his 16-year career as the Longhorns' leader. But ending his career in Austin on a high note will not be an easy task against the stacked Oregon Ducks, who appeared to be a favorite to play for the BCS National Championship before losing to Stanford early in November.

Can the Longhorns upset the well-balanced Ducks? Let's take a look.


Who: Texas (8-4) vs. No. 10 Oregon (10-2)

What: Valero Alamo Bowl

When: Monday, Dec. 30, 6:45 p.m. ET

Where: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas


Radio: ESPN Radio

Spread: Oregon (-14), as of Friday, Dec. 27 (per

Last meeting: Dec. 29, 2000, Holiday Bowl

Last outcome: No. 8 Oregon 35, No. 12 Texas 30


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Nebraska Football Recruiting: Updates on 2014 Commits and Targets

The Nebraska football coaches hit the ground running between Nov. 30 and Dec. 15. With the 2014 recruiting cycle coming down to the homestretch, head coach Bo Pelini and his staff had a lot of work to do.

By the end of the two-week continuous hop from place to place, Nebraska has secured 19 players in its 2014 class as of now.

Pelini felt the surge in recruiting went well, as he told Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star:

The reception we got on the recruiting trail was very good. I like the way it went. I thought we got a lot done. We covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. And we're going to have to do the same when the middle of January hits and it (recruiting) opens back up again.

Pelini and his staff can’t make face-to-face contact with recruits until Jan. 15, but the Huskers expect to head back out for a second surge as soon as possible. The Husker staff has always favored the home visits prior to signing day, as it tends to make the biggest impact.

With the new rule preventing coaches from home visits during this dead period, Pelini is focused on winning the bowl game. Beating Georgia in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1 could secure plenty of recruits.

After all, as the Lincoln Journal Star’s Christopherson pointed out, only a dozen of Nebraska’s 26 recruits committed after the Huskers lost to Georgia in last year’s bowl game.

Needless to say, there is a lot riding on this year’s rematch with the Bulldogs and the success of Pelini and staff come Jan. 15.


Note: All 2013 stats via 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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