The Daily Gamecock

Florida State snaps SEC's national title streak

Central Florida lights up Baylor in Fiesta Bowl

BCS National Championship – Jan. 6
(1) Florida State 34 vs. (2) Auburn 31

In one of the most exciting BCS championships ever, as well as the swan song for the BCS era, Florida State was able to hang on to complete its perfect season and claim the title. With a little over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Auburn junior running back Tre Mason put the Tigers in front 31-27 with a 37-yard touchdown run. However, FSU’s redshirt freshman quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston led the Seminoles on a 75-yard touchdown drive. With 13 seconds remaining, Winston capped off the drive with a two-yard scoring pass to sophomore receiver Kelvin Benjamin. It is Florida State’s first BCS national title since 1999, when legendary coach Bobby Bowden was at the helm. Auburn’s magical season falls just short of a title, but with a young team, the Tigers will be poised to contend again next year.

Sugar Bowl – Jan. 2
(6) Oklahoma 45 vs. (7) Alabama 31

Perhaps still reeling over its stunning loss against rival Auburn, Alabama received another shock from Oklahoma. Freshman quarterback Trevor Knight turned in his best performance as a Sooner, throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns. Oklahoma built a 31-17 halftime lead that the Crimson Tide could not overcome. In his final game for the Crimson Tide, senior quarterback A.J. McCarron had 387 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. True freshman Derrick Henry emerged as a potential star for the Tide at running back, gaining 100 yards on eight carries and two total touchdowns, highlighted by a 61-yard score in the fourth quarter. With the loss, Alabama fell to No. 7 in the AP poll, while Oklahoma reached No. 6 to finish the year.

Music City Bowl – Dec. 30
Ole Miss 25 vs. Georgia Tech 17

Junior quarterback Bo Wallace helped Ole Miss move to 8-5 on the year after throwing for 256 yards and a touchdown. Wallace also scored twice with his feet and gained 86 yards on 13 carries. The Rebels contained Georgia Tech’s difficult triple option offense, allowing just 151 rushing yards on 49 carries. The Yellow Jackets had to turn to a passing game in the fourth quarter, which usually does not bode well for them. The Music City Bowl was no exception as Tech’s sophomore quarterback Vad Lee completed only five of 17 passes in the loss.
Liberty Bowl – Dec. 31
Mississippi State 44 vs. Rice 7
The Mississippi State offense exploded for 533 total yards and helped move the Bulldogs to over .500 for the season. Sophomore quarterback Dak Prescottes had one of his best collegiate games, throwing for 283 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for 78 yards and two scores. Prescott will have to take the momentum from this game into next season if the Bulldogs hope to make bigger strides next year.

Chick-Fil-A Bowl – Dec. 31
(18) Texas A&M 52 vs. (23) Duke 48

It was a memorable final performance for Texas A&M redshirt sophomore quarterback Johnny Manziel in his last collegiate game. Duke built a 38-17 lead going into halftime, but last season’s Heisman Trophy winner made one last splash for the Aggies. Several outstanding plays from Manziel helped dwindle the Blue Devils’ lead to 48-45. Then with just over three minutes left in the game, senior defensive back Toney Hurd Jr. intercepted Duke quarterback Anthony Boone’s pass for a 55-yard touchdown. Manziel threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns to add to his 73 yards rushing and one touchdown on the ground. Manziel declared for the NFL Draft several days after helping the Aggies finish the season at No. 18 in the polls.

Gator Bowl – Jan. 1
Nebraska 24 vs. Georgia 19

A depleted Georgia squad could not finish the season ranked, after falling to Nebraska in the Gator Bowl. Senior quarterback Aaron Murray tore his ACL, forcing junior Hutson Mason to step in for the Bulldogs. Mason threw for 320 yards and a touchdown, and had a chance late to win the game for the Bulldogs. However, senior tight end Arthur Lynch dropped a fourth-down pass in the red zone that would have put Georgia in a great position to win. Sophomore running back Todd Gurley finished his up-and-down season with 86 yards on 21 carries as well as seven receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. If Gurley stays healthy next season, he has a solid chance to be a Heisman candidate for the Bulldogs.

Outback Bowl – Jan. 1
(14) LSU 21 vs. Iowa 14

LSU was also among the SEC teams without its starting quarterback available as senior Zach Mettenberger missed the contest with a torn ACL of his own. With his absence, the Tigers leaned heavily on the run, which turned out not to be all that bad. Sophomore running back Jeremy Hill had 216 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns. Freshman Anthony Jennings did enough to allow LSU to win, but completed less than half of his passes and only compiled 82 yards in the air. With the victory, LSU finished the season at No. 14 in both major polls.

Cotton Bowl – Jan. 3
(5) Missouri 41 vs. (17) Oklahoma State 31

Finishing off strong after an SEC Championship loss, Missouri outlasted its former Big 12 rival, Oklahoma State, 41-31. The Tigers were down 31-27 with five minutes remaining, but were able to score twice, including a 73-yard fumble return to seal the victory. It was a rough final performance for Missouri senior quarterback James Franklin. He only completed 15 of 40 passes and threw an interception with no touchdowns. Freshman Maty Mauk took some snaps in place of Franklin and managed to throw one touchdown. In his final game before declaring for the NFL Draft, junior running back Henry Josey sparked Mizzou with 12 carries for 92 yards and three touchdowns. Missouri finished just behind South Carolina at No. 5, while Oklahoma State dropped to No. 17 in the AP poll.

BBVA Compass Bowl – Jan. 4
(24) Vanderbilt 41 vs. Houston 24

Vanderbilt continues to make strides in the SEC with two consecutive seasons finishing at 9-4. The win over Houston put the team at No. 24 in the AP Poll to finish the year. However, the Commodores lost a key component in their recent success a few days after the victory when head coach James Franklin accepted the coaching vacancy at Penn State. With the loss of Franklin as well as two seniors in quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels and receiver Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt must fight to stay out of rebuilding mode.


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