Idaho Coach Robb Akey's Victory Fist Pump
The Humanitarian Bowl was a fireworks display. 85 total points scored, 990 combined yards of offense. Both the Idaho Vandals and the Bowling Green Falcons had at least 240 yards passing and 150 yards rushing. This production on offense could not have been expected from a first half in which the Falcons were dominating both sides of the ball after the halfway point of the first quarter. Despite severely outgaining the Vandals, the score was tied at 14 at half. From the Idaho score right before halftime till late in the 3rd quarter, the Vandals controlled the game scoring 21 unanswered points. The Idaho players and coaches were celebrating on the sidelines. This was a team which had not seen a bowl game since 1998. It was too early to cheer. The star Falcons WR Freddie Barnes had already broken the NCAA record for catches in a season in the first half and scored a TD. In a wild 4th quarter which saw the two teams put up 38 points, Barnes pushed his new record for catches out to 155. Out of the 17 total passes he caught for 219 yards, Barnes hauled in two more TD passes in the 4th quarter giving him 19 on the season. There was none bigger than the 51 yard bomb Tyler Sheehan tossed him on a blown coverage assignment. Barnes was unbelievably wide open and crossed the goal line with 32 seconds left to put the Falcons ahead. The Vandals weren't done. Their leading WR Max Komar had been shut out during the game even though 6 passes were thrown his way. He took the Falcons kickoff to the Idaho 32. Vandal QB Nathan Enderle chucked the ball 50 yards downfield and it was caught by Preston Davis. The Idaho offense then proceeded not to use either of their 2 remaining timeouts, ran an incomplete pass play and took crucial time off the clock leaving only 8 seconds on the board. It made no sense at the time, why wouldn't Idaho Coach Robb Akey take a timeout before they ran the play? The Vandals had absolutely no answers for the Falcons passing attack in the 4th quarter. When Enderle hit Komar in the end zone on a pass with 4 seconds left, it all made sense. So did Akey's decision to use his last timeout and go for the 2 pt conversion and the win. Bowling Green hadn't exactly been stopping his offense either he victoriously told sideline reporter Heather Cox. Going for the win instead of overtime was a show of postseason gusto that is sorely missing in the college game. Teams go for 4th down conversions in these bowl games and break out trick plays more often than in the regular season, why not go for the win when you have a shot? This was certainly the most entertaining bowl so far (especially in contrast with the snoozefest Holiday Bowl which was also played on Wednesday).
Final Score: Idaho 43, Bowling Green 42.
Colt McCoy isn't wearing an Arizona uniform, but the manner in which Ndamukong Suh tosses him to the ground sums up how the Nebraska v. Arizona game went. Nebraska earned its first shutout in the program's 46 game bowl history. Their 33-0 pasting of the Wildcats was also the only shutout in a Holiday Bowl. Arizona mustered 109 yards of offense in the game, most of it on the final drive. Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini left in his starters and they stopped a 4th and 3 near the goal line at the end of the game to preserve the goose egg. Nebraska was just 4 yards shy of 400 yards of offense, with 223 coming on the ground. Little did the Huskers know at the time that Zac Lee's 4 yard TD scramble following an INT of Arizona QB Nick Foles very early in the 1st quarter would be all the offense they needed to win this game. Nebraska didn't even score in the 4th quarter and this Holiday Bowl could not end fast enough. Arizona was completely unprepared for the Huskers defense and was unable to force Zac Lee into throwing mistakes or slow down Nebraska's freshman RB Rex Burkhead who carried the ball 17 times for 89 yards. Zac Lee added 65 yards on 18 rushes. Roy Helu only had 3 carries but it didn't hurt Nebraska. Arizona Coach Mike Stoops apologized for the performance saying "we certainly didn't show up in any way." Ndamukong Suh and the Husker defense showed up all over the place. Although Nebraska only recorded 2 sacks, the relentless pressure and 7 passes broken up forced Arizona's QB's to finish 10/31 passing for 46 yards and an INT.
The two wins today improve my bowl picks to 5-6, Lincoln moves to 5-2.
Updated Bowl Challenge Standings
MWC 3-0 1.000 Pt. differential: 41
Sun Belt 1-0 1.000 (Dwight Dasher swagger boost override) Pt. differential: 10
Big East 2-0 1.000 Pt. differential: 23
Big 10 1-0 1.000 Pt. differential: 6
SEC 1-1 .500 Pt. differential: 16
Big 12 1-1 .500 Pt. differential: 9
C-USA 2-2 .500 Pt. differential: 8
Pac 10 2-3 .400 Pt. differential: -47 (not a typo)
WAC 1-2 .333 Pt. differential: -41
ACC 1-3 .250 Pt. differential: -11
MAC 0-3 .000 Pt. differential: -14