Apologies for getting this post up a little late. We decided it would be easier to wrap today’s early games into one recap since there was a common theme — the Big Ten/SEC matchup — but as I’m sure many of you saw, Michigan State and Georgia got selfish and went into overtime (aka “derp mode”).
Speaking of which, let’s get to the Outback Bowl first.
No. 12 Michigan State rallied from a 16-0 halftime deficit to defeat No. 18 Georgia in three overtimes by a final score of 33-30. The Big Ten can thank Mark Dantonio and crew for making sure the Big Ten didn’t go winless on New Year’s Day bowls (yes, we know it’s technically Jan. 2, but you get what we’re saying) for the second straight year.
Or, maybe they should thank Georgia coach Mark Richt, who decided to go conservative and take a kneel down to give Blair Walsh a shot at a 42-yard game-winning field goal in the first overtime.
It didn’t work out.
Walsh missed, and after three more field goals were swapped, Walsh had a 47-yard attempt blocked.
The Big Ten finally won a New Year’s Day game and can now smugly play THIS VIDEO of Kirk Cousins preaching the virtues of student-athlete’s responsibility with at least some sense of accomplishment.
The rest of the early games, though? Ehhh…..
No. 10 South Carolina appeared to have defeated No. 21 Nebraska just before halftime when receiver Alshon Jeffery reeled in a Hail Mary jump ball for a touchdown. The Cornhuskers didn’t score at all after the first quarter and lost 30-13. To add insult to injury, Jeffery was awarded the MVP of the game even after he was ejected for fighting with Nebraska CB Alfonzo Dennard.
It was just that kind of game.
Florida was able to hang on to beat Ohio State in the Gator Bowl 24-17. Neither offense was able to do too much — sound familiar? It’s pretty much been the story for both teams all year — but the Gators did avoid their first losing seasons since 1979. Ohio State, I’m sure, is ready to put 2011 behind them and get started with the Urban Meyer era ASAP.
And speaking of moving on, No. 24 Penn State is ready for a new era after getting knocked around by No. 20 Houston in the TicketCity Bowl 30-14. With Rob Bolden being asked to lead the Nittany Lions offense by himself, Penn State struggled early and couldn’t recover.
Nor could they contain Case Keenum, who racked up 532 yards through the air in his final game with UH.
One angle of Penn State’s game today is that the Nittany Lions are still looking for a head coach to replace Joe Paterno. Interim coach Tom Bradley has interviewed for the job, although we have no reason to believe he stands a chance at getting it.
Yes, it was a rough day for the Big Ten, which is currently keeping pace with its 39.4 winning percentage in bowl games since 2000. Wisconsin will have a chance to turn around the Big Ten’s fortunes at least a little bit tonight if they can get a Rose Bowl win over Oregon, but it’ll be the beginning of 2013 before the conference gets another chance to perform better.