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Archive for December, 2007

BYU Outlasts San Diego State

On Saturday, the Brigham Young Cougars pounded out 305 yards on the ground — 161 of them by super frosh running back Harvey Unga — on their way to a 48-27 Mountain West Conference victory over San Diego State (4-8, 3-5) in San Diego.

Unga scored three touchdowns — two rushing and one receiving — on 26 touches to pace the Cougar offensive attack. Junior RB Fui Vakapuna, who has missed much of the season with leg injuries, added 97 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

BYU’s defense struggled early in the game trying to contain Aztec QB Kevin O’Connell (33-55, 288 yards, three TDs (two rushing), one INT), but the group made adjustments and contained him in the second half. Meanwhile, the Cougar offense began to eat up the clock and distance themselves on the scoreboard.

The victory gave MWC champion BYU (10-2, 8-0) its second straight undefeated conference season and ninth consecutive win in 2007.

Doak Walker Award Preview

The three finalists for the 2007 Doak Walker Award are Darren McFadden of Arkansas, Mike Hart of Michigan, and Ray Rice of Rutgers.

About the Award

The Doak Walker Award honors college football’s premier running back. In addition to game time performance, candidates for the Doak Walker Award must demonstrate leadership and exhibit the characteristics of sportsmanship and fair play associated with Doak Walker.

The award is named after three-time Southern Methodist University Mustangs All-American running back and 1948 Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker, who is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The winner of the 2007 Doak Walker Award will be announced on December 8, 2007.

Award Finalists

Darren McFadden, Arkansas Razorbacks

A junior from Little Rock, Arkansas, McFadden rushed for 1,725 yards on 304 rushing attempts (5.7 yards per carry) and accounted for 20 touchdowns this season. He is the SEC leader in total rushing yards and yards per game (143.8 ypg) and has scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and passing in 2007. McFadden is the only running back in SEC history other than Herschel Walker to rush for 1,000 yards as a freshman, sophomore and junior. McFadden was the recipient of the Doak Walker Award in 2006.

Mike Hart, Michigan Wolverines

A senior from Syracuse, New York, Hart rushed for 1,232 yards and 12 touchdowns in only nine games this season, and ranks sixth nationally in rushing yards per game (136.9). He is Michigan’s all-time leading rusher, and was a finalist for the Award in 2006.

Ray Rice, Rutgers Scarlet Knights

A junior from New Rochelle, New York, Rice has rushed for 1,732 yards and scored 20 touchdowns in 2007. He is the Big East’s leading rusher and ranks third nationally in total rushing yards and rushing yards per game (144.3). In three career games against teams ranked in the AP top ten, Rice averaged over 150 yards on the ground. Rice was a semifinalist for the award in 2006.

Who should win?

McFadden. There simply isn’t a better running back in college football this season, and that’s saying a lot because there are several great ones who will advance to the NFL along with the Razorbacks’ #5.

Davey O’Brien Award Preview

The finalists for the 2007 Davey O’Brien Award are Tim Tebow of Florida, Chase Daniel of Missouri, and Dennis Dixon of Oregon.

About the Award

The Davey O’Brien Award honors the nation’s top collegiate quarterback. O’Brien, a Texas native, is a legendary sports hero at the high school, college and professional levels. O’Brien led the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs to their first undefeated season, including a 15-7 victory over Carnegie Tech in the Sugar Bowl, and the national championship. O’Brien was named to 13 All-America teams and became the only college football player to win the Heisman, Maxwell and Walter Camp trophies in the same year.

After graduating from TCU, O’Brien signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL. In his rookie season, he passed for 1,324 yards in 11 games, breaking fellow TCU alum, Sammy Baugh’s, NFL record and was named first-team quarterback on the National Football Leagues’ All-Star Team. He retired after the 1940 season to join the FBI. His success on the gridiron was transformed into a life of service and success in the public sector. The Davey O’Brien Foundation honors his memory and continues to inspire athletes to live up to their greatest potential through this Award, as well as other awards and scholarships at the high school level.

Award Finalists

Tim Tebow, Florida Gators

Tebow is the first quarterback in college football history to both pass and rush for 20 touchdowns in a season. He passed for 3,132 yards and 29 TDs (217 for 317, 68.5 percent completion rate) against only six interceptions during 2007. He rushed for 838 yards and 22 TDs on 194 carries during the season, making him one of the most dangerous dual threat quarterbacks in the college game.

Chase Daniel, Missouri Tigers

Daniel helped lead the Tigers to the Big 12 Northern Division title and a temporary #1 ranking in 2007. He passed for 4,170 yards and 33 touchdowns against 10 interceptions (372 – 534, 69.7 percent completion rate). He averaged 320.8 yards per game passing, and 7.8 yards per pass attempt.

Dennis Dixon, Oregon Ducks

Dixon’s season was cut short by a knee injury three weeks before the end of the season. Prior to his injury, Dixon had led Oregon to a #2 national ranking and the Ducks were in sole possession of the Pac-10 title race, having defeated top challengers Arizona State and USC. In 10 games, he threw for 2,136 yards and 20 TDs against only 4 interceptions (172 – 254, 67.7 percent completion rate). Dixon also carried the ball 105 times, good for 583 yards and 9 touchdowns.

Who should win?

Tebow. The feat of passing for 29 TDs and rushing for another 22 in the same season is extraordinary, and Florida would not have been able to compete for the SEC title without Tebow at the helm. It should be noted that Dixon would have won this award had he remained healthy and Oregon remained atop the Pac-10.

Heisman Squabble 2007

What happens when you let two senior editors go at it over a simple little disagreement like who should win this year’s Heisman Trophy?  RealFootball365 decided to lock our resident wordsmiths in a room together with their laptops to see if the proverbial pen is truly mightier than the sword.

View from the East: In Praise of Tebow

Darrell Laurent, Sr. Editor, RealFootball365.com

For those whose argument for picking University of Arkansas running back Darren McFadden over University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow in this year’s Heisman Trophy voting is “Hey, Tebow still has two years to win it,” consider the cautionary tale of Adrian Peterson.

Peterson burst upon the college football world like a comet in 2004, finishing second to Southern Cal QB Matt Leinart as a Heisman finalist. More Heismans were certainly in his future, everyone thought, but it was not to be. Injuries waylaid the University of Oklahoma running back in 2005 and 2006, costing him large chunks of both seasons.

Based on his rookie pro season, Peterson should be a force in the NFL for years to come. His college career, however, peaked in Year One.

It could be the same with Tebow, whose rough-and-tumble style leaves him vulnerable to far more punishment than the average quarterback. The sophomore from St. Augustine is only one badly torn ACL away from losing his iconic freak of nature status and becoming an average pocket passer with reduced mobility.

Moreover, while current rules bar Tebow from turning pro before his senior year, that could change at any time.

Yet there’s a better reason for picking Tebow over McFadden, as good a season as “Run-DMc” had: Touchdowns. The primary goal of football is to score more than the other team, and Tebow scored like no one else in Southeastern Conference history — 22 rushing touchdowns (an SEC record), 29 through the air. In all, Tebow accounted for 3,970 yards and 51 touchdowns. Mind boggling.

McFadden was hands down the best running back in the country this season, and his 321 rushing yards against South Carolina was a performance for the ages. But touchdowns? He scored 15 — and since both he and Tebow played in the same conference against many of the same teams, the comparison is valid.

The numbers speak for themselves. And like the Gator-chomping faithful in Gainesville, they shout: “Tebow!”

The West knows best: The sweetest music on the gridiron is Run-DMc

Todd Erickson, Sr. Editor, RealFootball365.com

“Not so fast, my friend!”  (Geez, I can just hear Lee Corso whispering in my ear right now…).

Listen, you know we wouldn’t even be debating this year’s Heisman if Dennis Dixon’s knee remained intact against Arizona four weeks ago.  The Quacks would be Pac-10 Champs instead of chumps.  Yes, they would be ranked Numero Uno in the nation right now and packing their bags for the national title game in New Orleans.

Instead, without their fallen leader, they’re a sorry flock of lame (as in unranked) Ducks, staring at their fourth loss in a row against a bullish group from South Florida in the Sun Bowl.  Yee-ha, look out El Paso, here we come!

So, let’s talk turkey here.  The true heir to this year’s Heisman is, sadly, out of the picture.  I agree that Tebow had a monster year.  He deserves every award he has already won, but not the Heisman.  I’d like to see what the kid does next year.  If he delivers a repeat performance, then I’m on his bandwagon faster than Les Miles can change his mind about going to Michigan. Or, faster than Kirk Herbstreit can apologize to Les Miles about going to Michigan.  Faster than—aw, forget it.  I just want to see that this kid isn’t a one trick pony.  That’s not asking too much, is it?

My man, #5 Darren McFadden, is not an overnight sensation.  He had another monster season in 2007.  Note the emphasis on the word “another.”

Unlike Tebow, who was cutting his teeth as a situational signal caller last year in the Swamp, Mc5 was busily working on rewriting the Arkansas and SEC record books.  He didn’t finish second in the Heisman voting last year for nothing.  But let’s talk about his accomplishments this year, when everyone has been designing their defenses to stop him.

McFadden rushed for 1,725 yards this year.  Do you have any idea where that ranks in the hallowed halls of SEC single season rushing accomplishments?  Only Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson rushed for more yards in a single season.  In Walker’s 1982 Heisman season, he rushed for 27 more yards than Darren did this year.  In Bo Jackson’s Heisman season, he rushed for 61 more yards.  2007 was clearly a Heisman caliber season for McFadden.

Granted, Tebow is an iron man, and I sympathize with you wanting to hand him the hardware while he’s healthy, but if you want to play the sympathy card, then give it to Dixon.

As for Tebow, there’s a reason for his pay dirt rhyme.  Sure, he accounted for a load of Gator touchdowns this year, but did you realize he was involved in 65 percent of their offensive plays?  McFadden was involved in less than 37 percent of Arkansas’ offensive plays.  Let him lug the rock that same percentage of touches in the Razorback offense this year and you’d see some off-the-chart TD figures from this Little Rock native, too.

But, you gotta give a guy like Darren a rest every once in a while.  Because when he scores on the ground, it’s from an average of 18 yards out.  Mr. Tebow cashed in all those six-pointers from an average of just over 4 yards from the goal line.  Big difference.

I could go on and on with the stats to prove D-Mac’s the most outstanding player in college football this season, but I’ll leave you with one more accomplishment to consider.

The best players respond accordingly in the big games.  Against five ranked opponents this season, Darren averaged 172 yards on the ground.  He broke the SEC’s single game rushing record against South Carolina with 321 yards, and in the Razorback’s stunning upset of #1 ranked LSU, he rushed for 206 yards.

My friend, I suggest you Tebow your selection and play it back at this time next year because the 2007 Heisman Trophy belongs on Darren McFadden’s mantle.

AP Top 25 Postseason Bowl Preview

The bowl season is finally here. Hallelujah! If you’re a Top 25 ranked team right now, or on the cusp of the rankings with a shot to make it on the season’s final list, winning your bowl game means a lot more than just capping off this season with a “W.”

If you’re a Top 25 ranked team right now, or just on the cusp of the rankings with a shot to make it on the season’s final list, winning your bowl game means a lot more than just capping off this season with a “W.” Pollsters will reference your final ranking (or not) when the preseason rankings are compiled in late summer. And like it or not, having that preseason ranking means a lot regarding how far up the polls you can ascend, and how quickly, once the wins start rolling in during 2008.

Here’s a quick summary of where the AP Top 25 teams stand as the bowl season commences this Thursday in San Diego. Get out your chips and dip and settle in for some great football over the next three weeks…

NO. 1 LSU TIGERS (11-2). Play Ohio State in the BCS Championship game. Football is a religion in both Louisiana and Ohio, but this season’s Endgame is being played in one of the Bayou State’s cathedrals, the New Orleans SuperDome. That, alone, adds about 10 points to LSU’s score. OSU junior LB James Laurinaitis is a junior Dick Butkus, but the Buckeyes haven’t faced many mobile quarterbacks like LSU’s Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux.

NO. 2 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (11-1). Play LSU in the BCS Championship game. The Bucks never had it so easy, sitting back and watching the previous top 3 teams falter in the final analysis of the regular season. Some might call this a lucky team, but there really isn’t anyone more worthy to play in the NC game against LSU. Besides, it’s a great story about redemption…not only for Ohio State, but for the Big Ten, in their seemingly annual quest to prove whether or not the SEC is really the big enchilada in college football.

NO. 3 OKLAHOMA SOONERS (11-2). Play West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl. Now that Bob Stoops has simmered down a bit, perhaps the Sooners will be able to focus on the bowl game they deserve and stopping West Virginia’s Pat White, Steve Slaton, and freshman phenom, Noel Devine (8.6 yards per carry). Sooner Nation should be relieved that the Mountaineers’ (former) head coach Rich Rodriguez will not be leading WVU on the sidelines for this game. That will be an extra advantage for Stoops’ troops.

NO. 4 GEORGIA BULLDOGS. (10-2). Play Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia didn’t get any love by pulling this BCS bowl matchup because everyone expects them to win, but if they don’t, then they’re the laughing stock of the SEC and ruling elite in college football. Hawaii is going to score on the Bulldog defense, and Colt Brennan is going to get his passing yards. But Georgia will also put a bite on the Hawaii defenders with playmakers like quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno. Whoever gets the ball last might win.

NO. 5 VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (11-2). Play Kansas in the Orange Bowl. Kansas had a weak non-conference schedule and didn’t have to deal with Oklahoma during the regular season, which does not bode well for a matchup with bowl-tested Tech. Plus, as talented as he is, freshman Jayhawk quarterback Todd Reesing has never seen anything like the quickness and ferocity of a Hokie defense led by Vince Hall, Xavier Adibi and Brandon Flowers.

NO. 6 USC TROJANS (10-2). Play Illinois in the Rose Bowl. It’s hard to believe these two programs have never played each other in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. Too bad this isn’t a Big Ten champion Illini team, but don’t let that, or the 13-point spread favoring the Trojans fool you. If Illinois can go into Ohio State’s gridiron cathedral and emerge victorious then they have a shot at upending the Trojans inside the holiest Temple of College Football. Most folks would tell you that USC was playing some of the best football in the college game at the end of the regular season. The big question mark is whether or not the layoff will affect their momentum.

NO. 7 MISSOURI TIGERS (11-2). Play Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. There used to be a day when it was a huge honor to play in the Cotton Bowl. It should still be like that, but here you have a bunch of Tigers by the tail if you think they are looking forward to playing a chilly winter contest in Dallas over where they might have been … conversely, Arkansas is ecstatic to get the Cotton Bowl bid after just barely making the Top 25 by the skin of their Razorback tusks. Mizzou’s advantage, if there is one, is that Houston Nutt will be replaced by an interim coach for this matchup.

NO. 8 KANSAS JAYHAWKS (11-1). Play Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. This game will set the tone for the Jayhawks next season and we think it might be good and bad. Bad in the sense the Jayhawks will probably get blown out of Miami, thanks to a weak schedule and overnight flight into the BCS bigtime. Good in the sense that a good old-fashioned butt kicking on national TV will strengthen their resolve to get it right next year. The bottom line is Kansas has to thank their lucky stars they are in this bowl game because a 3-loss Florida team led by Heisman winner Tim Tebow would have packed more of a wallop on the field and in the TV ratings against the Hokies.

NO. 9 FLORIDA GATORS (9-3). Play Michigan in the Capitol One Bowl. The great unknown here is the Gator defense, which will have to contain a veteran and multi-faceted Michigan offense. On the other hand, a rebuilt Wolverine stop unit will be faced with Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin. Add that the Wolverines are in a coaching vacuum, and it looks pretty good for the Gators.

NO. 10 HAWAII WARRIORS (12-0). Play Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It’s really difficult to see June Jones’ boys winning on the road against a stout Bulldog team that doesn’t have to venture very far away from their comfort zone, but stranger things have happened this year. If Hawaii manages to pull off a repeat of last year’s Fiesta turned Miracle Bowl and win this one, then AP pollsters better have the cojones to vote a 13-0 team from a non-BCS conference as the #1 team in the nation. Period.

NO. 11 WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (10-2). Play Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. This could be one of the more intriguing matchups among the BCS bowls. A lot depends on the self-motivational ability of the Mountaineer players without head coach Rich Rodriguez stalking the sidelines with them in Arizona next month. R2 had unfinished business following WVU’s embarrassing home loss to Pitt that knocked them out of the NC picture, but apparently, he’d rather start anew in Ann Arbor than see how he could finish off the ’07 season against OK and what he could pull off with a pretty loaded deck of senior talent next year in Morgantown. Meanwhile, it’s the trainers’ job to keep Pat White healthy.

NO. 12 ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS (10-2). Play Texas in the Holiday Bowl. ASU might be disappointed in losing out on a BCS bowl bid, but the Holiday Bowl is the best consolation bowl they could have landed in. There isn’t a better bowl game outside of the BCS power grid than this one. It’s steeped in the history of thrilling, last second victories and San Diego is a beautiful city. The climate is wonderful for football in late December, and then there’s the opponent. The Devils gotta love the idea of getting to take a crack at Mack & Co. in the postseason.

NO. 13 ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI (9-3). Play USC in the Rose Bowl. Is the number 13 bad luck or good luck? Those that stare superstition in the face and laugh at such nonsense say it just doesn’t matter. Anyway, the #13 Illini will be playing their 13th game of the season as 13-point underdogs to a team many believe is finally beginning to live up to their preseason numero uno ranking. That’s scary in it’s own right. Well, Zook and his boys have already upset a #1 team in their own crib this season, so don’t expect them to roll over for the Trojans on New Year’s Day. The Illini will look forward to dining at college football’s classiest bowl season training table where they will feast on the finest grain-fed, prairie-raised natural prime rib at the legendary Lawry’s Beef Bowl. It’s college football’s oldest pre-game tradition, now in its 52nd year. (To put that into perspective, the Lawry’s Beef Bowl has been around longer than 28 of the 32 bowl games being played this year!)

NO. 14 BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES (10-3). Play Michigan State in the Champs Sports Bowl. Except for a season-ending upset of Penn State, the Spartans beat the teams they were supposed to beat and lost to the teams they were supposed to lose to. They’re supposed to lose to Boston College, which has a veteran cast on both sides of the ball and an NFL first-round quarterback in Matt Ryan.

NO. 15 CLEMSON TIGERS (9-3). Play Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (We always thought the South Carolina Gamecocks should host this every year). The Auburn Tigers shut down Tim Tebow and Darren McFadden, the two leading Heisman candidates. That’s something for Clemson Tiger quarterback Cullen Harper to think long and hard about.

NO. 16 TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (9-4). Play Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl. The team to pick in a bowl game is usually the team that was hottest at the end of the regular season. That’s a wash here, though — Tennessee won five of its last six, Wisconsin four of its last five (including an upset of Michigan). Vol QB Erik Ainge should give the Badgers trouble, though. Wisconsin knocked off favored Arkansas and Auburn in the previous two Capital One Bowl games, so they know how to get the job done in the Outback against the Vols.

NO. 17 TEXAS LONGHORNS (9-3). Play Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl. Few teams are as familiar with the Holiday Bowl in the past decade as the Longhorns. They’ve been visiting just about as often as BYU did when the bowl first began back in 1978. This matchup is one of the best in this year’s bowl game lineup. Don’t miss it.

NO. 18 WISCONSIN BADGERS (9-3). Play Tennessee in the Outback Bowl. This is one of those great Big Ten – SEC bowl matchups that seem to surprise the prognosticators every year. Last year, Arkansas was figured an easy winner over the Badgers in their January 1 clash, but Wisconsin proved the Big Ten can clearly hang with the SEC. And, that was a repeat of their upset over Auburn the year before. They get another shot at proving the pundits wrong with Tennessee this season. Sooner or later, the SEC might want to stop messing with the Badgers.

NO. 19 BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS (10-2). Play UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl. This will be a very interesting game to watch as the Cougars get another shot at former teammate Ben Olson, the runaway QB who ditched his teammates following a church mission to play for what he thought was going to be a better program. True, the Bruins did prevail in their regular season clash at Rose Bowl Stadium, 27-17, but BYU clearly outplayed them in every facet of the game except turnovers (plus 2) and penalties (115 yards in setbacks). This is one of those must win games for BYU while it really doesn’t matter what happens to the Bruins at this point, besides finding a new head coach. Interesting side note: Had the Cougars defeated UCLA earlier this season, they would have qualified for a BCS bowl game.

NO. 20 CINCINNATI BEARCATS (9-3). Play Southern Miss in the PapaJohns.com Bowl. Except for a couple of uncharacteristic losses to Louisville and Pitt in the middle of the season, the Bearcats could have reached a much better bowl. They’ll take it out on Southern Miss.

NO. 21 VIRGINIA CAVALIERS (9-3). Play Texas Tech in the Gator Bowl. Al Groh’s team lived on the edge this season, winning three games by a point. Considering that they made Virginia Tech’s Sean Glennon look very good in the season finale, one wonders how a young secondary will deal with Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree, and Texas Tech’s flying circus.

NO. 22 AUBURN TIGERS (8-4). Play Clemson in the Chick-fil-A-Bowl. A battle of Tigers — sounds like something Michael Vick might enjoy. Auburn has a fierce defense, but the offense didn’t always show up this fall. The Plainsmen tainted their season early with losses to South Florida and Mississippi State, but were — and are — a threat to anybody.

NO. 23 SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS (9-3). There has to be more to Oregon than Dennis Dixon, right? If not, the Bulls’ Matt Grothe and George Selvie might wind up validating their 6.5-point edge in the spread.

NO. 24 BOISE STATE BRONCOS (10-2). Play East Carolina in the Hawaii Bowl. How psyched are Bronco fans for this game after heading into BCS territory last year? Well, ticket sales to BSU fans was abysmal as of a few days ago … something like 830 tickets sold. Bronco fans better hope their team doesn’t play with the same interest against the Pirates. It should be an easy win for BSU, but only if they bring their A game.

NO. 25 ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (8-4). Play Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. Generally speaking, teams whose coaches have recently left don’t do well in bowls. Generally speaking, however, these teams don’t have Darren McFadden in their backfields. Missouri has to get over a high-profile embarrassment at the hands of Oklahoma.

Utah and Navy Kick Off Bowl Season in a Barnburner

Utah’s Joe Dale intercepted a Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada pass with 37 seconds left to seal a thrilling 35-32 win over Navy in the San Diego Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday night.

It was Utah’s seventh consecutive bowl game victory, tying the Utes with Boston College for the lead among all Division I programs.

The first bowl of the 2007 postseason was a tale of two halves. The Midshipmen led 10-7 at halftime, with defense dominating on both sides of the ball.

Navy built its lead by another touchdown just three minutes into the third quarter, but the Utes roared back with two scores within four minutes of each other to take a 21-17 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

The game snowballed throughout the final frame when Utah QB Brian Johnson scored on a 19-yard scramble at the 12:47 mark to stretch his team’s lead to 28-17. Navy would not back down and Kaheaku-Enhada promptly connected with Shun White on a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-23. Kaheaku-Enhada then busted through the Utah line for a two-point conversion, bringing Navy within a field goal.

Utah then mounted a 68-yard drive that chewed up five minutes, but running back Darrell Mack was stopped on fourth and goal on the Navy 1-yard line. The Midshipmen could only punch the ball out to their 9-yard line and failed on fourth and 2 with 2:17 remaining. Mack got the call three times in a row before he hit paydirt, giving Utah a commanding 35-23 lead with only 1:20 remaining on the clock.

The Naval Academy refused to surrender and 15 ticks off the clock later, Kaheaku-Enhada hit Zerbin Singleton deep for a 58-yard scoring strike, making it 35-32 Utah.

Navy then executed a textbook onside kick and with momentum on itsside, 55 seconds on the clock, and favorable field position at its own 42-yard line, fans braced for a miracle finish.

Instead, Singleton slipped on the turf while making a quick cut on his route and Kaheaku-Enhada’s pass sailed right into Dale’s waiting arms.

College football fans can only hope the rest of this season’s bowl games will be as exciting as the second half of the Poinsettia Bowl.