5 Hardest Hits from 2011-2012 College Football Bowl Season
Perhaps it's the sadist in us all, but every college football fan enjoys seeing a big hit. And this bowl season provided a number of instances of players really getting de-cleated.
Now that the 2012 BCS National Championship Game has come and gone and we no longer have bowl games to watch, here's a list of the five hardest hits from the last month to keep you entertained.
[Note: Holly Rowe's hit on her fellow reporter after the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl just missed the cut]
2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Stanford Cardinal vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys
Most of the entertainment in the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl was provided by the two teams' offensive playmakers. Justin Blackmon had 186 receiving yards and three touchdowns, while Andrew Luck played perhaps the best game of his career completing 27-31 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns.
However, one of the game's best highlights was this hit by Oklahoma State Cowboys safety Markelle Martin on Stanford Cardinal receiver Ty Montgomery in the first quarter. Montgomery would get payback with a long 53-yard touchdown reception on the Cardinal's next drive, but Martin and the Cowboys would ultimately get the last laugh with the overtime victory.
2011 Insight Bowl: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Oklahoma Sooners
The Oklahoma Sooners may have gotten the best of the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl with a 31-14 win, but Iowa safety Jordan Bernstine got a little payback on Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones with this hit.
Bernstine was defended by the announcers, but still received a penalty since the hit was helmet-to-helmet on a sliding quarterback.
2011 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Nevada Wolfpack vs. Southern Miss Golden Eagles
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles had a very successful season in 2011. They upset Case Keenum and the Houston Cougars to win the Conference USA Championship and then capped off a 12-2 season with a victory over the Nevada Wolfpack in the Hawaii Bowl.
However, Golden Eagles freshman running back Jamal Woodyard fell victim to one of the worst hits of the bowl season when he was smashed by Wolfpack safety Duke Williams at the tail end of this 41-yard run in the fourth quarter. Woodyard was the leading rusher for Southern Miss as a freshman, but was unfortunately injured on the play.
2012 Allstate BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. LSU Tigers
With the way that the Alabama Crimson Tide mercilessly pounded the LSU Tigers last night in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game, I thought it only fair to include a clip of an Alabama player getting pounded by an LSU defender.
Early in the second quarter as the Crimson Tide was driving into Tiger territory (on their way to their second field goal), Alabama wide receiver Darius Hanks was nailed on this short screen pass by LSU linebacker Ryan Baker.
With the pithy performance the Tigers had on offense (seriously, those guys only had 92 yards), this is about the only highlight LSU had all night. But it was a heck of a hit.
2012 Capital One Bowl: Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
This isn't a hit in the traditional sense, but there were a number of hits involved in this play in the 2012 Capital One Bowl. First Alfonzo Dennard hit Alshon Jeffery, then Jeffery hit Dennard back with a two-handed shot to the facemask.
Of course, the Nebraska Cornhuskers and South Carolina Gamecocks were each hit with offsetting personal foul penalties. Both were hit even harder when the Gamecocks lost their star wide receiver and the Cornhuskers lost their shutdown cornerback (both players are projected first-round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft).
At this point in the game with just two minutes left in the third quarter, the Gamecocks were clinging to a mere three-point lead. But South Carolina would dominate the final period and walk away with a 30-13 victory.
It's likely that with his temper Bo Pelini wanted to hit Dennard even harder than Jeffery did after this stupid mistake and the Cornhuskers' ugly loss.