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August 2019
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‘College Football’ Articles

5 Bowl Games on New Year’s starts at 12 noon with Outback Bowl, Iowa taking on #18 Mississippi State

 

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida 2007 photo By Bernard Gagnon - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

The Outback Bowl at the home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Raymond James Stadium, will have a familiar team as one of the 2019 participants.

The Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big Ten know the bowl and stadium well as this will be their sixth appearance in 14 years in the West Florida city. Furthermore, Iowa is also familiar with Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead, in his first year, because he used to be the offensive coordinator of the Penn State Nittany Lions.

This game will feature two solid quarterbacks in Nate Stanley of Iowa and Nick Fitzgerald of the Bulldogs.

Both team also feature stout defenses.

The Bulldogs, 18th ranked and 8-4, have held opponents to single digit scoring five times. In the final four games, they gave up 36 points, but 24 of those was in the Alabama loss. But the best and unheard of statistic is they have given up 12 touchdowns in 12 games. Simply outstanding!

The Hawkeyes, also 8-4 on the season, comes into the game as the number 11 scoring defense in the country.

This looks like a game that will be low scoring a key turnover or big play will determine its outcome.

 

Tonight’s final bowl game pits NC State up against Texas A&M in TaxSlayer Gator Bowl

 

TIAA Bank Field Jacksonville, Florida 2018 photo By Excel23 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

 

NC State's record-setting QB Ryan Finley

The final college football game of the 2018 calendar year, with it being December 31, will be the TaxSlayer/Gator Bowl from Jacksonville, Florida.

The combatants will be the North Carolina State Wolfpack up against the Texas A&M Aggies. The question is can the Wolfpack explosive offensive move and solve the balanced defense of the Aggies, who have the nation’s number 2 rushing defense.

This will be the first meeting ever between the two schools.

NC State (9-3), from the ACC, has the nation’s #6 passing attack led by redshirt senior QB Ryan Finley. He is no doubt an NFL draft pick. He has accumulated 3,789 yards this season and has thrown for over 3,000 in each season at the Raleigh, North Carolina school. He has completed 67.9 percent of his passes, ranking 10th in the country. Some Wolfpack fans say he is the second coming of Philip Rivers, another NC State product at QB.

20th-ranked Texas A&M (8-4) from the SEC, has a top-40 passing game led by sophomore Kellen Mond. It doesn’t stop there. Their rushing attack is very dangerous with Mond leading the way there too with junior RB Trayveon Williams.

The two offenses are ranked very high nationally. NC State is 22nd in scoring and A&M is 29th. Their passing defenses are horrible with NC State ranked 119th and A&M 109th. It will boil down to who is more successful through the air tonight!

Nick Bosa’s Letter to Buckeye Nation

Nick Bosa in action (photo courtesy Ohio State Athletics)

 

Ohio State has always been my dream school.

Let me start this off by saying that. I got to go to my dream school — and I got to play football there for three amazing years. It’s something I’ll always treasure.

Before I say goodbye, though, I want to give a little background here — and talk about why I’m writing this letter right now instead of getting ready for the Rose Bowl. On one hand, it’s pretty simple: My season is over. I suffered a season-ending injury on September 15th against TCU. I knew right away that it was serious. I’d been trying to push through groin and abdomen issues since training camp, and the pain that I was feeling made it obvious that I’d re-aggravated those injuries and then some.

But even still, right? There’s serious, and then there’s season-ending. And not even in my worst idea of how bad I was injured did I think that my entire SEASON was at risk — or that my Ohio State career was FINISHED, right then and there, on the field at AT&T.

I remember sitting in Coach Johnson’s office after finding out that I’d need bilateral abdominal surgery. And man, we just started getting tears in our eyes….. because we knew what that type of surgery could mean. We knew it could mean I’d never play another snap in 2018. We knew it could mean the playoffs, Rose Bowl, Michigan game — off the table.

Most of all, though, we knew it could mean that my time as a Buckeye football player was over.

And when my surgeon confirmed all of that the following week….. what can I even say here, you know? I was CRUSHED.

I was just crushed. End of story.

That “dream school” thing — it isn’t talk.

There are so many teammates and coaches who made my time in Columbus the most incredible three years of my life.

Coach Meyer is someone who I can truly say got the best out of me — and I can never thank him enough for that. The same goes for Coach Mick, our strength guy. I owe both those men so much for how they’ve helped me to develop as a player and as a person.

Then there’s my position coach, Coach Johnson. I don’t even know how to put into words the appreciation I have for that man. He’s a one-in-a-million type of person — one of the most caring people I’ve ever been around. Coach J genuinely loves every single one of his players. We love him back.

And then last but for sure not least, I need to thank all of my D-line guys. Being in our D-line room, day-in and day-out, with some of my best friends…. I think I’m going to miss that the most. I will always be proud of everything that we accomplished on the field. But the bonds we built together in that room — those will last our lifetimes.

My family has a history with Ohio State. My mom, my uncle, and my brother Joey: all Buckeyes. So as a kid, growing up, Ohio State wasn’t just some “team we rooted for.” They were MY TEAM. OSU was like a part of me. And to be honest with you, by the time my official visit rolled around….. there wasn’t much recruiting to be done. I was basically a lock.

I was born to be a Buckeye.

And what an absolute rush it’s been, over these last few years, to get to accomplish what I was born to do.

What an absolute honor and privilege.

Right now I’m in Southern California, living with Joey, while I recover from my surgery and wait to begin my pre-draft training. Joey was recovering from his own injury when I first came out here, and I could tell that he was pretty down about it. Of course, I wasn’t in a great spot either. And one thing that’s been cool about this year is how we’ve gotten to be there for each other, and support each other in a way that just wouldn’t really have been possible if I’d been at school. So while it was tough leaving Columbus mid-semester, and I miss being around all my friends and teammates every day….. the chance to be with Joey, and to spend time with him as I recovered, that’s also meant a lot to me.

And I’ll tell you what: It’s just the craziest thing, man, being a Buckeye.

This school, this city, these fans…… there really is something SPECIAL about Ohio State. I’m not sure what the exact right word is: spirit, pride, I don’t know. But even 2,000 miles away — even all the way out here in California. You can feel it.

It’s just there.

And I think that has to be one of the best lessons I’ve learned — both over these last few months of ups and downs, and during my amazing three years in Columbus.

That it doesn’t matter what happens, or when it happens, or how, or why.

It doesn’t matter where you are in the entire world.

Ohio State is forever.

And when you’re a Buckeye?

You’re a Buckeye.

-Nick

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Defensive battle looming in tonight’s Holiday Bowl featuring Northwestern & Utah

 

SDCCU Stadium aerial view from the north side. 2005 Photograph © Minerva Vazquez via wikipedia commons

Tonight’s Holiday Bowl will feature two former linebackers as head coaches of their respective teams. Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern and Kyle Whittingham of Utah. Both of their teams share traits of their head coaches: toughness, confidence and discipline.

Both of these teams lost in their conference championship games; The Utes in the Pacific 12 and the Wildcats in the Big Ten. With a win, both of these teams would have played in the Rose Bowl.

Clayton Thorson (courtesy Northwestern)

This game is a tossup as who can win and who is favored. Northwestern, who dethroned annual Big Ten West Division champion Wisconsin this season, has been rolling for two months with a record of 8-2, losses to only Notre Dame and Ohio State. Utah is always tough in bowl games under Whittingham’s helm going 11-1. Take your pick?

The Wildcats have one of the best QB’s in the Big Ten in Clayton Thorson. If his offensive line keeps him off his back (34 sacks), he will pass the Utes to sleep. His consistent play  is the reason Northwestern at 8-5, has had national recognition all year. He is the only Big Ten quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards and rush for 20 touchdowns in his career. A senior, Thorson has started 52 straight games and has steadily climbed up the Wildcats and conference career passing charts.

As far as the defense, Northwestern has been the least penalized team all year in the FBS.

The 9-4 Utes, have one of the best red zone defenses in the country, ranking number 2.

Plenty of offensive fireworks expected in today’s Liberty Bowl between Oklahoma State and Missouri

 

Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium from the air 2009 photo By Zorin09, CC BY 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

The Liberty Bowl, one of the nation’s oldest and long-standing bowls, will have Oklahoma State and Missouri visiting the home of the late Elvis Presley, Memphis, Tennessee.

Both teams will have plenty of firepower, solid QB’s and RB’s.

Oklahoma State at 6-6, and a member of the Big 12 Conference, is a very talented team and one of those that has you scratching your head. Mike Gundy’s team pulled off upsets of Top 25 teams Boise State 44-21, Texas 38-35 and West Virginia 45-41. But then fell to their arch-rivals Oklahoma, Iowa State, Baylor and TCU. Go figure that! The Sooners and Cyclones I understand but not the Bears and Horned Frogs, two .500 teams, barely!

The Cowboys are led by QB Taylor Cornelius and WR Tylan Wallace.

Missouri, 8-4, a former member of the Big 12 before bolting to the SEC in 2011, Had a unexpectedly great season. They would have won out in their last six games if it weren’t for that heartbreaking game against Kentucky where they lost at the end, 15-14.

The Tigers are led by QB Drew Lock and RB Larry Rountree III.

Both teams have Top 50 rushing attacks.

Neither team has a defense worth talking about although, Missouri is 22nd nationally at rushing yards allowed per game, 122.9.

In this game, Lock and Cornelius will air out their arms!

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