Category Archives: Bowl Games



#2 Clemson Tigers (14-0) vs #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (14-0)


Coach: Dabo Swinney

Clemson Players to watch:

***Freshman QB Trevor Lawrence (6-5/205)

Lawrence is 6-foot-6 and blessed with a powerful arm, extraordinary field vision and remarkable poise.
Photo: New York Post

In the CFP Semi-Final/Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic Trevor Lawrence completed 27 of 39 pass attempts for 327 yards and three touchdowns, including 19 of 26 for 264 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Justyn Ross in the first half alone.

**Sophomore RB Travis Etienne (5-10/210)

Against Notre Dame, Travis Etienne ran for 109 yards on 14 carries, including a 62-yard touchdown run that pushed him past Wayne Gallman’s 2015 mark for the most rushing yards in a single season.

Senior DE Austin Bryant (6-5/265)

Austin Bryant’s two sacks and six total tackles were one of the main sparks of a defensive effort that only allowed three points to a Notre Dame team averaging over 33 per game this season.

***Freshman WR Justyn Ross (6-4/205)

True freshman wide receiver Justyn Ross has had Clemson fans talking since he walked on campus, but he made his first national splash with an outstanding game at the Cotton Bowl. Ross caught 6 passes for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns, averaging a whopping 24.7 yards per catch against the Fighting Irish.



Coach: Nick Saban

Alabama Players to watch:

**Sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa (6-1/216)

Tagovailoa is looking to take home gold for a second consecutive year, this time in Alabama-Clemson IV. 
Photo: Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

Tua Tagovailoa finished the Capital One Orange Bowl with a blistering 236.7 QB rating. He hit on 24 out of 27 passes for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns. During the Orange Bowl, Tagovailoa set a new UA school record of 3,671 passing yards in his career with a chance to add to that total on January 7th in Santa Clara, California.

*Junior RB Josh Jacobs (5-10/212)

Jacobs rushed for a team high of 98 yards against the Sooners. He also caught 4 passes for 60 yards. One of the most memorable plays of the game was when Jacobs bulldozed Oklahoma defensive back Robert Barnes on a 27-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass from Tagovailoa that put Alabama ahead by four scores 2 minutes into the second quarter.

**Sophomore WR DeVonta Smith (6-1/175)

Smith will be long remembered in College Football Playoff National Championship lore for catching Tagovailoa’s 41-yard bomb on a streak down the sideline to secure the Crimson Tide with its 17th national championship against Georgia in 2018. In this year’s CFP semi-final against Oklahoma, Smith pulled in 6 receptions for 104 yards and 1 touchdown.

***Sophomore FS Xavier McKinney (6-1/197)

McKinney was named the Defensive MVP of the Orange Bowl. Against Oklahoma’s gunslinging QB Kyler Murray, McKinney totaled five tackles to go along with a game-high four pass breakups.


RELATED: Nick Saban recalling a play he ran when he was 15 years old is peak football nerdery | Christopher Powers The Loop •  January 3, 2019


2019 National Championship Game
#2 Clemson vs. #1 Alabama
8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Levi’s Stadium
Santa Clara, California



North Dakota State (14-0) vs Eastern Washington (12-2)



Coach: Chris Klieman

North Dakota Players to Watch:

Senior QB Easton Stick (6-2/221)

Some observers believe Stick has the same football savvy as Wentz, now a key part of the Philadelphia Eagles. Photo: The College Sports Journal

Easton Stick owns school records for total offense, passing touchdowns and total touchdowns will try for his 50th career victory Saturday when the top-ranked Bison begin their quest for their seventh FCS title in eight years. In his career, Stick has thrown for 8,495 yards and 86 touchdowns.

*Junior FS James Hendricks (6-1/209)

James Hendricks came to North Dakota State as a highly touted quarterback who had put up monster numbers at Bemidji High School (Mn). At first he was reluctant to switch positions, but now that he has, the North Dakota State junior has been named Second Team All-Missouri Valley.

Senior OC Tanner Volson (6-4/306)

Senior center Tanner Volson has played in 58 games during his Bison career. Volson is known for being technically sound, in both, the run and passing game. On Dec 20th, Volson was named the top offensive lineman in the Football Championship Subdivision with his selection to the FCS Athletic Directors Association All-America Team.

***Sophomore LB Jabril Cox (6-3/227)

Jabril Cox can wreak havoc at linebacker, leading NDSU with 84 tackles to go with four sacks and four interceptions, two of which he’s returned for touchdowns.



Coach: Aaron Best

Eastern Washington Players to watch:

Senior PK Roldan Alcobendas (6-0/180)

Alcobendas won the Fred Mitchell Award, an honor given to the nation’s top collegiate place-kicker among FCS, NCAA II, III, NAIA and NJCAA teams.

Alcobendas is now EWU’s all-time leader in kicking points (271), hitting 30 of his 41 field-goal attempts and adding 181 extra points. He is 10 for 10 in field goals this season, one of three FCS kickers with a perfect mark. He’s also been a model of consistency on extra points, setting a school record for consecutive extra points made (85).

***Sophomore QB Eric Barriere (6-1/195)

After All-America starter Gage Gubrud was lost for the season five games into the 2018 campaign, Barriere has taken over to guide EWU into the NCAA Division I Championship Game in Frisco, Texas, on Jan. 5. He led EWU to an 8-1 record in his nine starts, including a current seven-game winning streak to improve EWU’s record to 12-2 and help the Eagles set a school record for points in a season with 623.

Senior NT Jay-Tee Tiuli (6-4/320)

Tiuli was the Big Sky Conference Defensive MVP in 2018 and earned first team All-Big Sky honors. This is also his first All-America honor, and he is the first interior defensive lineman (not including defensive ends) to earn All-America honors for the Eagles since Renard Williams earned honorable mention in 2011 and first team accolades in 2010. Update: Tiuli will NOT play in the Championship game.

Senior OC Richard Blackburn (6-2/285)

Blackburn earned his second All-America honor in 2018 after earning second team All-Big Sky Conference honors three-straight seasons from 2016-18.  The Eagles have now had 23 offensive linemen earn All-America accolades in 35 years in FCS (1984-2018), including 14 first team All-Americans. They have combined for 73 honors (37 first team, 19 second team, 5 third team and 12 honorable mention).


2019 D I Football Championship Game
North Dakota State vs. Eastern Washington
12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Toyota Stadium
Frisco, Texas

Sugar Bowl – Jan 1

#5 Georgia Bulldogs (11-2) vs #15 Texas Longhorns (9-4)



Coach: Kirby Smart

Georgia Players to watch:

**Sophomore LT Andrew Thomas (6-6/320)

Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas was named to the AP All-American Second Team.
Photo: 247Sports

Thomas has gotten the starting nod at left tackle for 12 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, only missing the Middle Tennessee State game with an ankle injury. He has anchored an offensive line that leads the SEC in Rushing Offense at 251.6 yards per game. The Bulldog’s offensive line unit were named a Joe Moore Award finalist for being one of the top offensive lines in the nation.

**Sophomore RB D’Andre Swift (5-9/215)

Swift started five of 13 games thus far and has gained a team-high 1037 yards on 155 carries, with 10 TDs – also a team high. Swift ias also a receiving threat out of the backfield, he has caught 27 passes this year for 257 yards and 2 tds.

*Junior RS/WR Mecole Hardman (5-11/183)

Hardman was named 2018 All-America First Team (kick returner); 2018 All-America Second Team (kick returner); and 2018 AP & Coaches’ All-SEC 2nd Team. He returned 13 kicks for 325 yards and 16 punts for 321 yards. He also caught 33 passes for 529 yards.

Senior LB D’Andre Walker (6-2/245)

Walker has started all 13 games to date, racking up 45 total tackles, while leading the team with 11.0 tackles for loss, 7.5 QB sacks and 14 QB pressures. He had a career-best seven tackles vs. Georgia Tech, including a second-quarter QB sack.

Senior CB DeAndre Baker (5-11/185)

Baker, as first team AP All-American, had decided NOT to play in the Sugar Bowl.



Coach: Tom Herman

Texas Players to watch:

***Freshman RT Samuel Cosmi (6-6/290)

Cosmi, a redshirt freshman, started the final 12 games of the season at RT.
Photo: 247Sports

Cosmi has graded out at 85-percent overall in 985 total snaps. He had 57 knockdowns and 68 first-down or touchdown blocks. He allowed just four sacks and eight pressures on 460 pass plays. He received votes and earned honorable mention as the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year from the league’s head coaches.

***Freshman S Caden Sterns (6-0/195)

Sterns, who was named the Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year and first team All-Big 12 by the coaches and Associated Press, is a true freshman from Cibolo, Texas. He had 62 tackles (46 solo) with three TFL, one sack, four interceptions and four pass breakups. His four INT are tied for the most ever by a Longhorn true freshman. He also has a blocked field goal against USC, which was returned for a touchdown.

Senior CB Kris Boyd (6-0/195)

Boyd, a native of Gilmer, Texas, also earned first-team recognition from the Big 12 coaches at defensive back. He has totaled 63 tackles (46 solo) with 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He has been a lock-down at the corner position, with 16 pass breakups and an interception. He also has a QB hurry, forced fumble and a fumble recovery on the year.

Senior DE Charles Omenihu (6-6/275)

Omenihu, who was named the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year and first team All-Big 12 by the coaches, has totaled 43 tackles with 16 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. His 16 TFL and 9.5 sacks are the most for a Longhorn since the 2013 season. His 9.5 sacks rank second in the Big 12 Conference. He enters the Sugar Bowl with at least one tackle for loss in nine straight games.


Allstate Sugar Bowl
Texas 28, Georgia 21
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans

Rose Bowl – Jan 1

#6 Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1) vs #9 Washington Huskies (10-3)



Coach: Urban Meyer

Ohio State Players to watch:

**Sophomore QB Dwayne Haskins (6-3/214)

Haskins is a Pro-Style Quarterback with a Cannon for an Arm.
Photo: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Haskins has thrown for 4,580 yards and 47 touchdowns this season – both school and conference single-season records – while leading the Buckeyes to their second consecutive Big Ten title. In last Saturday’s championship game against No. 21 Northwestern, Haskins threw for a school-record 499 yards and five touchdowns on his way to being named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

*Junior OC Michael Jordan (6-7/310)

With Jordan manning at center, the Buckeyes are currently second nationally in total offense, averaging 548.8 yard per game, and No. 2 in passing yards per game (373.0). Their average of 43.5 points per game is No. 8 nationally. Ten times this year, Ohio State totaled 500 or more yards of offense, including 567 against Michigan and the nation’s No. 1-ranked defense.

*Junior DT Dre’Mont Jones (6-3/290)

Jones leads the defense with 12.0 tackles for loss, including 7.5 quarterback sacks. He has 36 total tackles plus five quarterback hurries. His three fumble recoveries include one for a touchdown vs. Maryland, and he also has a “pick-6” touchdown interception vs. TCU, making him the only Buckeye defensive linemen in at least 50 years with two touchdowns in one season.

Senior WR Parris Campbell (6-1/208)

Campbell, from Akron and St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, has caught the fourth-most passes in school history – 72 – for 903 yards and 11 touchdowns, which rank in the Top 5 in Ohio State single season history. He was named first-team Big Ten by the coaches.



Coach: Chris Petersen

Washington Players to watch:

Senior LB Ben Burr-Kirven (6-0/221)

Burr-Kirven was one of four finalist for the Lott Impact trophy.
Photo: The Spokesman-Review

Burr-Kirven, a senior linebacker from Menlo Park, Calif., was named the Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year last week and also was the conference’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year for football, making him the first man ever to win those two awards.

**Sophomore CB Bryon Murphy (5-11/184)

Murphy, a sophomore cornerback from Scottsdale, Ariz., was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus. A first-team All-Pac-12 pick, he was also the MVP of the Pac-12 Championship Game. Murphy leads the Huskies with is four interceptions.

*Junior S Taylor Rapp (6-0/207)

Rapp, a junior safety from Bellingham, Wash., earned first-team All-Pac-12 for the second straight season in 2018. He’s also a two-time, first-team Academic All-Pac-12 selection and was the Pac-12’s Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2016. He leads the 2018 Huskies in both tackles for loss and sacks.

**Sophomore RB Salvon Ahmed (5-11/191)

After this game, and Myles Gaskin moves on to the NFL, Salvon will be Washington’s next star running back. Salvon, like Gaskin, is really, really fast, running in the 4.3-4.4 range. He has overwhelming quickness and explosion in and out of breaks, and is capable of taking it to the house every time he touches the ball.


Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual
Ohio State 28, Washington 23
Rose Bowl
Pasadena, California

Fiesta Bowl – Jan 1

#8 Central Florida Knights (13-0) vs #11 Louisiana State Tigers (9-3)



Coach: Josh Heupel

UCF Players to watch:

*Junior LB Nate Evans (6-1/241)

Junior LB Nate Evans greets fans after the game.
Photo: Twitter/Nate Evans@OHthats_nate

Evans was named first team all-conference. He played in 12 games, starting nine. He was second on the team with 90 total tackles and recorded 2.5 sacks. Evans scored his first collegiate points on a 94-yard fumble recovery at ECU on Oct 20.  

*Junior CB Nevelle Clarke (6-1/185)

Clarke broke up a total of 12 passes, grabbed two interceptions; recorded a career-high 40 total tackles, 33 solo, and four for a loss of 18 yards on the season. 

**Sophomore FS Richie Grant (6-0186)

Grant led team in solo tackles with 64, 102 tackles, and six interceptions. He was named first team All-AAC and joined the Knights’ all-time list in most forced fumbles in a season with three, tied for eighth all-time.

*Junior OC Jordan Johnson (6-2/320)

Johnson started 12 games at center, earning first team all-conference honors. helping the Knights break the single-season rushing record.



Coach: Ed Orgeron

LSU Players to watch:

*Junior LB Devin White (6-1/260)

Linebacker Devin White has been named the winner of the Charles McClendon Award, which is presented annually to the most valuable player on the LSU football team.
Photo: Harris Highlights

White, who was the winner of the 2018 Butkus Award as college football’s top linebacker, led the Tigers with 115 tackles and 10.0 tackles for loss in helping LSU to a 9-3 overall mark and a berth in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on January 1 against UCF. White was a consensus All-America as well as being a first team All-SEC selection. White ran a 10.68 as a junior and before his senior year at the Nike Opening he ran a 4.49 at 6’1 255lbs, had a 39 inch vertical, and tossed the power ball 44 ft.

**Sophomore FS Grant Delpit (6-3/201)

Delpit was an unanimous All-America, becoming just the ninth player in LSU history to earn that distinction. He racked up 45 solo tackles with 28 assists, 5 interceptions and 5 sacks.

Senior QB Joe Burrow (6-3/215)

Burrow, a grad transfer from Ohio State, became the first player in LSU history to throw for 2,500 yards and rush for 350 yards in a season as he completed 198-of-345 passes for 2,500 yards and 12 TDs.

Senior RB Nick Brossette (6-0/2018)

Brossette is a talented local product who has shown the ability to bulldoze over would-be tacklers but also has the shiftiness to cut runs outside. He led the Tigers with 922 rushing yards and his 14 TDs ranked second in the league. 


PlayStation Fiesta Bowl
LSU 40, UCF 32
State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Glendale, Arizona

Citrus Bowl – Jan 1

Kentucky Wildcats (9-3) vs Penn State Nittany Lions (9-3)



Coach: Mark Stoops

Kentucky Players to watch:

Senior Jack/LB Josh Allen (6-5/252)

Senior Josh Allen was a consensus All-American.
Photo: WKYT

Allen has been a pass rush terror this season. With 28.5 career sacks and 14 sacks in 2018, he now holds UK’s career and single-season records. He leads the team with 84 tackles and paces the SEC in sacks, tackles for loss (18.5) and forced fumbles (5).

*Junior RB Benny Snell (5-11/223)

Snell recently announced his decision to turn pro, but he said he will still play in Citrus Bowl. Snell is just 107 yards away from becoming UK’s all-time leading rusher. He will most likely come out of the game once he breaks that record.

Senior OG Jervontius “Bunchy” Stallings (6-3/305)

Stallings was responsible for only one-half quarterback sack all year.  He totaled 170 blocks at the point of attack and had 55 knockdown blocks. His blocking efficiency has helped Snell reach his third consecutive 1,000-yard season.

Senior FS Mike Edwards (6-0/201)

Edwards capped his career in style with a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown on Senior Day vs. Middle Tennessee. Having started 43 consecutive games, Edwards ranked second on the team in tackles with 77, added nine tackles for loss, two interceptions, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and six pass breakups. He joined the 300-career tackle club as well this season. 



Coach: James Franklin

Penn State Players to watch:

Senior CB Amani Oruwariye (6-1/205)

Oruwariye accepted an invitation to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Photo: Curtis Chan/Flicker

Oruwariye ranks No. 17 in FBS and No. 4 in the Big Ten in passes defended with 1.3 per game. He was named first-team all-conference selection by the coaches and media. He was also named the team’s Co-Most Valuable Defensive Player, with Shareef Miller, at the team’s awards banquet.

Senior QB Trace McSorley (6-0/203)

McSorley holds Penn State’s career records for: wins (31), passing yards (9,653), passing touchdowns (75), pass completions (703), total offense (11,275), rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (29), touchdowns responsible for (104), 300-yard passing games (10) and 200-yard passing games (27).

*Junior RB Miles Sanders (5-11/211)

Sanders Ranks no. 2 in the Big Ten with 1,223 rushing yards. He’s averaging 101.9 rushing yards per game and has scored 9 touchdowns. He also owns the Penn State season record with 33 kickoff returns in 2016. Sanders was name second-team all-conference running back.

*Junior NG Robert Windsor (6-4/295)

Windsor has always been a player that was going to give 110% all the time, but this year he’s stepped up his game and turned himself into a complete defensive tackle. He’s registered 39 tackles (22 solo) with 10 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. This season, Windsor earned All-Big Ten honorable mention choice by coaches and media.


VRBO Citrus Bowl
Kentucky 27, Penn State 24
Camping World Stadium
Orlando, Florida

Outback Bowl – Jan 1

Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4) vs Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4)



Coach: Kirk Ferentz

Iowa Players to watch:

**Sophomore TE T.J. Hockenson (6-5/250)

Hockenson received the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in the nation.
Photo: The Gazette

Hockenson leads the Hawkeyes with 46 receptions for 717 yards and six receiving touchdowns. He also has one rushing touchdown. He averages 15.6 yards per catch. His career totals include 70 receptions for 1,037 yards. 

*Junior SS Amani Hooker (6-0/210)

Hooker was named Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year in the Big Ten. He ranks second on the team with 59 tackles (33 solo, 26 assists) and shares the team lead with four interceptions. He currently has seven pass break-ups and 3.5 tackles for loss.

**Sophomore WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6-1/175)

Smith-Marsette has been named the Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year. He is the first Hawkeye to be named Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year. The award bears the name of Iowa’s 1997 consensus All-American Tim Dwight. Smith-Marsette, a native of Newark, New Jersey, ranks second in the nation in kickoff returns with a 29.3 average on 19 returns.

**Sophomore DE A.J. Epenesa (6-5/277)

Epenesa, a native of Glen Carbon, Illinois, has recorded 9.5 sacks, 35 tackles and scored a touchdown on a fumble return. He also blocked a punt against Illinois and recorded a sack. Epenesa was a two-time Defensive Player of the Week Honoree. 

*Junior TE Noah Fant (6-5/241)

Fant has concluded his Iowa career after announcing he will enter the 2019 NFL Draft.



Coach: Joe Moorhead

Mississippi State Players to watch:

Senior S Johnathan Abram (6-0/210)

Abram was selected first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press.
Photo: DraftBlaster

The Columbia, Mississippi, product racked up 93 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, five pass breakups, two interceptions, once forced fumble and one fumble recovery over the year. Abram allowed a passer rating of 41.6 over his 40 targets this season according to PFF, which led all SEC safeties.

Senior OC Elgton Jenkins (6-4/315)

Jenkins, who claimed the Kent Hull Trophy last week as the top offensive lineman in the state of Mississippi, is a versatile veteran who has started 31 games in his career and can play all four positions on the offensive line. Jenkins anchors a unit that paves the way for a Bulldog run game that averages 226.4 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry.

Senior DE Montez Sweat (6-6/241)

Sweat led the SEC with 11.0 total sacks. He boasted 40 total pressures over the 2018 season, according to PFF, which was the second most in the conference among all edge defenders. He added 51 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and one forced fumbled.

**Sophomore LB Erroll Thompson (6-1/250)

Thompson closed the season ranking second on the Bulldog squad with 84 total tackles to go along with 8.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and two interceptions over his breakout sophomore campaign. He led all SEC linebackers with a 90.9 coverage grade, according to PFF.

*Junior NG Jeffery Simmons (6-4/300)

One of the most dominant defensive lineman in college football and winner of the 23rd annual C Spire Conerly Trophy, Simmons had declared for the NFL draft.


Outback Bowl
Iowa 27, Mississippi State 22
Raymond James Stadium
Tampa, Florida

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