Best Highlights from College Football Bowl Season

Jonathan McDanalContributor IIIDecember 20, 2012

Best Highlights from College Football Bowl Season

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    This bowl season started off with 33 games that were entertaining in completely different ways, and the postseason still has two matches in store for us.

    From the Gildan New Mexico Bowl to the Discover BCS National Championship, there should be plenty of highlights for all of us to munch on during the next month...and through the offseason, assuming this one is less eventful than last year's edition.

    Keep this article handy, and it will reward you with highlight reels from each bowl game as they are made available. Not all bowls will be relegated to one slide, and a truly impressive play would certainly earn a slide of its own.

    Beginning with highlights from the only three bowls with final scores, here are the postseason's best highlights in order of appearance.

    *Spoiler alert: Each slide will contain the game's result, either in the text or through the video highlight(s).

    *All game recaps not from memory are from the "box score" links on this ESPN.com page.

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Arizona Wildcats

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    The first bowl of the postseason provided us with the first nail-biter.

    When Arizona entered the fourth quarter trailing Nevada, the game looked like it was over. Many college football fans probably considered changing the channel when the Wildcats were down by more than a touchdown with less than a minute to go.

    Fast-forward to 3:20 to see the final minutes of the game.

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Toledo Rockets vs. Utah State Aggies

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    Utah State had a difficult act to follow after what happened in the New Mexico Bowl, but the Aggies certainly did their best to upstage the Wildcats.

    What Utah State did to Toledo was make the Rockets look like they did absolutely no planning or practicing before this game kicked off.

    While that certainly wasn't the case, take a look at the highlight reel to see what went down on the Smurf Turf.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: BYU Cougars vs. SDSU Aztecs

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    The Poinsettia Bowl thrilled fans of defensive football, and it looked an awful lot like a battle between two SEC powerhouses.

    This game entered the fourth quarter with San Diego State leading 6-3, and that's when Kyle Van Noy made his case for MVP. Jamaal Williams scored the lone offensive touchdown for BYU in the fourth quarter, but not before Van Noy had placed the Cougars up by four points.

    Check out the highlight reel to see what he did to the Aztecs. After that performance, it's difficult to see him returning for his senior season.

Beef O'Brady's Bowl: UCF Knights vs. Ball State Cardinals

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    Central Florida took on Ball State in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl on Friday, Dec. 21. The UCF Knights came out on top 38-17 in the clash, and there was one play that stood out as the best in the battle.

    The game was already in the hands of the Knights, the outcome was certain, and the Knights played like everything was riding on this one play. The play ate a full 10 seconds off the clock, and Blake Bortles scrambled for what seemed like minutes to keep the play alive.

    After his first receiver slipped (or was taken down, depending upon your interpretation), Bortles took off on what looked like a run. As he approached the line of scrimmage, J.J. Worton freed himself just enough to take a bullet in the end zone next to the sideline. That put the Knights up 35-10, and their defense did the rest.

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: ECU Pirates vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns

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    At this point in the game, ECU had come from behind to tie the game at 31. Terrance Broadway found Javone Lawson in the end zone, but that wasn't really special.

    What was special was the fact that Lawson caught the ball, rolled, lost the ball and still managed to yank the ball out of the air again to avoid the incompletion and put the Cajuns up by six points.

    Lawson's touchdown would play a key role in the win, as ECU had score 10 unanswered points prior to this touchdown. Lawson's effort sparked the Cajuns' 43-34 victory on Dec. 22.

MAACO Las Vegas Bowl: Washington Huskies vs. Boise State Broncos

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    Boise State and Washington put on a real show for folks in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22, right after the New Orleans Bowl. There were plenty of opportunities for Washington to win, but there was one play that sealed the fate of the Washington Huskies.

    That was Keith Price's interception in the last minute of the game. Price had moved the ball a couple of times, and the Huskies only needed to get into field-goal range. Price had a man in the desired area of the field, but he got too focused on him and didn't notice Jeremy Ioane in position to jump the route.

    Ioane jumped the route, and ended the game with Boise State on top 28-26.

Sheraton Hawaii Bowl: Fresno State Bulldogs vs. SMU Mustangs

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    A pick-six is a marquee highlight in any game that it occurs. That's even if it's "only" a 15- or 20-yard return. When something like SMU's return happens, it's a highlight that will probably hang around on the reel for a few weeks.

    Taylor Reed's pick-six may end up being one of the top highlights of the year. A 69-yard return in any fashion is impressive, whether it's a punt, a kickoff or an interception. Reed's boomerang may not have been game-changing, but it was certainly the best play of the match.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: WKU Hilltoppers vs. Central Michigan Chippewas

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    Western Kentucky was down 17-7 with 6:56 left in the second quarter, and the Hilltoppers hadn't scored since the 9:37 mark in the first quarter.

    In the meantime, Central Michigan had scored a touchdown and a field goal since WKU's last score. The momentum was fully on the Chippewas' side of the ball.

    Western Kentucky blazed down the field in five plays, and the Hilltoppers faced a third-and-two from the CMU six. WKU called a timeout to gather its thoughts, and came up with this play.

    It was a six-yard touchdown strike from Kawaun Jakes to Jack Doyles right hand as Jakes was quickly running out of scrambling room and looked like he was going to have to trash the play.

    The momentum swung to WKU, and the Hilltoppers rode that wave to a 21-17 lead later in the game. Central Michigan would pull out the win 24-21, but this play gave the Hilltoppers the confidence to stay in the game.

Military Bowl: Bowling Green Falcons vs. San Jose State Spartans

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    For the Military Bowl highlight, we have to skip ahead to the third quarter. Bowling Green was trailing San Jose State 10-6, and the Spartans were on the move. They had run two plays for a total of 15 yards, and things did not look good for the Falcons.

    Charlie Walker broke through San Jose State's offensive line, blew up the quarterback and forced a fumble. That set the Falcons up for the go-ahead touchdown.

    The Falcons would eventually fall to San Jose State 29-20, but this giant sack would change the game from a boring slaughter to an entertaining battle in under 10 seconds.

Belk Bowl: Duke Blue Devils vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

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    This highlight from the Belk Bowl comes to you from the "Physics Hackers" vault, and you can see why.

    Duke was up 16-10, and the Bearcats had just scored a touchdown before handing Duke a three-and-out. Duke's Will Monday lined up to punt, and just killed the ball.

    He kicked the ball, it landed next to the sideline, rolled from the 19 to the five and took a left turn so Duke could down it on the two. The ball rolled in Duke's favor so much that the Cincinnati returner stopped chasing it because it was heading toward the end zone.

    Cincinnati would still score on the ensuing drive, but the 79-yard punt will likely stand as the longest of the 2012-2013 bowl season.

    Duke would go on to tie the game at 34 with 7:24 left in the game.

Belk Bowl: Duke Blue Devils vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

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    As mentioned at the end of the previous slide, Duke tied this game at 34 with less than eight minutes to go. Duke drove the ball to the Cincinnati five, fumbled it and Cincinnati recovered it. Facing a 95-yard field, Cincinnati went to work. After a nine-yard rush, an incomplete pass and a two-yard carry for a first down, the highlight came up.

    Brendon Kay hit Travis Kelce in-stride at the Cincy 42, and Kelce ran the remaining 58 yards untouched into the end zone to put the Bearcats up by seven with 44 seconds to go.

    Duke's final attempt to tie the game looked good when it crossed the 50, but a Cincinnati 55-yard pick-six iced the game. Duke lost 48-34.

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl: UCLA Bruins vs. Baylor Bears

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    Baylor got out to a 14-0 lead in the Holiday Bowl, and UCLA responded by getting Baylor in a third-and-nine situation. It looked like UCLA might be able to stop the bleeding.

    Baylor had other things in mind. Nick Florence took the third-down snap, dropped back and found Tevin Reese. Reese caught the ball and followed the sideline to finish off the 55-yard strike that put the Bears up by 21.

    Baylor crushed UCLA 49-26.

AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl: Ohio Bobcats vs. Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

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    After the first score, Ohio was never fewer than seven points ahead of ULM. The Bobcats rolled to a 45-14 victory over the Warhawks, and this highlight was the play of the game.

    On third-and-eight, Tyler Tettleton tossed a ball 28 yards to Chase Cochran. Cochran ran the other 40 yards to the end zone to put the Bobcats up by 14.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Virginia Tech Hokies

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    Virginia Tech vs. Rutgers was a defensive battle that only had five scores: three touchdowns and two field goals in overtime and another three-pointer in overtime.

    Virginia Tech was down 10-3 with just over 11 minutes left in the game. Rutgers had the ball and was attempting to mount some sort of offensive attack. (The Knights' only touchdown at that point was a sack-fumble combo that they picked up in the end zone 17 seconds into the game.)

    Gary Nova threw a bomb on third-and-10, and it was grossly overthrown. It landed directly in the waiting arms of Antone Exum. Exum returned the ball to the 21, and Logan Thomas hit Corey Fuller to tie the game with 10:56 left to play.

    Nobody else scored in regulation, and Virginia Tech went on to beat Rutgers 13-10 in overtime. All of that was made possible by the Exum interception return.

Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. TTU Red Raiders

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    Minnesota and Texas Tech were tied at 31 with 55 seconds to go. The Golden Gophers had the ball, facing third-and-seven from their own 33. Philip Nelson let one fly toward the left sideline, and the pass bounced into the air straight to D.J. Johnson.

    Johnson returned the pick for 39 yards, and the Red Raiders kicked the winning field goal just seconds later. Texas Tech 34, Minnesota 31.

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force Falcons vs. Rice Owls

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    After Rice got out to a quick 7-0 lead, Air Force turned on the afterburners and posted two touchdowns within four minutes of each other to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.

    Rice's quarterback, Taylor McHargue, took a helmet-to-helmet hit with 5:15 left in the first half. He got his bell rung, and he passed the torch to freshman Driphus Jackson.

    Jackson responded by leading the Owls to a 33-14 victory, but that performance was sparked by this 22-yard touchdown strike to Jordan Taylor. That boost in confidence would help Jackson to a 15-of-21 performance with two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse Orange vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

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    Syracuse was up 3-0 after a 25-yard field goal with 5:21 left in the first quarter in Yankee Stadium. Syracuse and West Virginia would take turns doing nothing until the eight-minute mark in the second quarter.

    Syracuse turned the ball over on downs at the West Virginia one, and the Mountaineers were backed up in the end zone for the first-and-10. Syracuse came into the end zone, blasted Geno Smith and gave the stadium what it had missed since baseball season: a 5-0 score that looked MLB-esque.

    Syracuse would go on to hold the lead for the entire game, and the final score was 38-14 in favor of the Orange.

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Navy Midshipmen vs. Arizona State Sun Devils

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    Navy got destroyed by Arizona State, and the final score showed that. Arizona State was up 34-7 at halftime due to the longest offensive touchdown of the game with 55 second left in the first half.

    Taylor Kelly found Rashad Ross for a 52-yard score to put the Sun Devils up by 27. The final score was 62-28 in favor of the Sun Devils.

Valero Alamo Bowl: Texas Longhorns vs. Oregon State Beavers

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    Texas struggled mightily against the Oregon State Beavers, but pulled out the 31-27 comeback victory. That would not have been possible if the Longhorns hadn't run the play of the game to tie it at 10 at the start of the second quarter.

    Texas had only put up three points through the first 15 minutes, and the Longhorns desperately needed something to change. The 'Horns called a Marquise Goodwin reverse that worked. He scampered 64 yards to the end zone to breathe life back into a stifled Texas offense.

    *Goodwin was also the receiver on the 36-yard, game-winning touchdown at the end of the fourth quarter. That can be seen at the one-minute mark in the highlight video.

Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl: TCU Horned Frogs vs. Michigan State Spartans

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    Michigan State lost four games this season by three points or fewer, and the Spartans lost a fourth game by only four points. With 2:42 left in the game, TCU hit a 53-yard field goal that made it look like Sparty was going to watch another one slip away.

    That's when Sparty's luck changed. The Michigan State drive stalled on the 30, and it was up to Dan Conroy to save the day. Conroy nailed a 47-yard field goal to put Michigan State ahead by one point with 1:01 left in the game.

    The Spartans would hold on in the final minute to win the game 17-16.

Music City Bowl: NC State Wolfpack vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

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    The highlight from the Music City Bowl comes to you courtesy of the losing team. Vanderbilt scored a touchdown to go up 21-7, and things looked bleak for the NC State Wolfpack. NC State needed a huge boost to the scoreboard, and it needed it quickly.

    With an offense that couldn't find the end zone until more than 20 minutes had ticked off the clock, a sustained drive to the end zone seemed unlikely. Tobias Palmer lined up to receive the Vanderbilt kickoff, and he returned it for 94 yards.

    Palmer's touchdown brought the score back to within seven, and NC State was back in the game big-time. Vanderbilt would go on to win 38-24, but Palmer's trip to the house was easily the highlight of the game.

Hyundai Sun Bowl: USC Trojans vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

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    Silas Redd scored USC's only points of the game, and it was on a great heads-up play with less than a minute remaining in the first half.

    Max Wittek tossed a short pass to the running back, and it bounced off his hands. The bounce forced the waiting Georgia Tech defender to hesitate, and that freed Redd up just enough. He snatched the ball back out of the air and ran down the right sideline to the end zone.

    USC would go on to lose the game 21-7, and that ensured Redd's touchdown catch as the most interesting thing to happen in the match.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Iowa State Cyclones

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    At the time, Iowa State had already scored on a highlight-worthy, 31-yard pick-six to put the score at 10-0 in favor of the Cyclones. Tulsa scored once to bring the game within three points, and then this happened.

    Sam B. Richardson found his go-to receiver, Ernst Brun, Jr. for a 69-yard touchdown that put the Cyclones 10-points ahead with 3:46 left in the first half.

    Little did Iowa State know that was the last points it would score in the game. Tulsa would shut the Cyclones out in the second half and steal a 31-17 victory.

Chick-fil-A Bowl: LSU Tigers vs. Clemson Tigers

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    Clemson was down by two points and had the ball on the 20 with 1:39 left in the game. The orange Tigers also had all three of their timeouts because of the LSU coaches' calling three straight passing plays instead of forcing Clemson to stop the clock with them.

    None of that seemed to matter, as LSU forced Clemson into a fourth-and-16 from its own 14. Clemson was about to lose the game by two points, thanks to LSU's stifling defense.

    Tajh Boyd had something else in mind. He delivered a 26-yard bullet to DeAndre Hopkins for the most memorable first down of the game. Without that completion, the game-winning field goal would never have happened.

TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Northwestern Wildcats

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    The Northwestern Wildcats kicked off to Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs assumed that meant they would have the first opportunity to score. They were wrong.

    Northwestern's Quentin Williams jumped a route and led the game off with a huge 29-yard pick-six that set the tone just 47-seconds in. This was the longest scoring play of the game, and it was the first of four passes that the Wildcats would rip away from the Bulldogs.

    Northwestern dominated Mississippi State, and handed the Bulldogs a 34-20 loss.

Heart of Dallas Bowl: Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Purdue Boilermakers

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    Oklahoma State took on Purdue on Jan. 1, and it wasn't a contest. Oklahoma State shredded the defense all day long, and the Cowboys defense apparently got jealous in the locker room at halftime.

    Justin Gilbert and Daytawion Lowe teamed up to score one for the defense. Gilbert tackled O.J. Ross and stripped the ball. Lowe grabbed it and returned it 37 yards for the touchdown. That return was tied for the longest scoring play of the game, and the other 37-yard play was on offense.

    Oklahoma State steamrolled over the Purdue Boilermakers for a 58-14 win.

Capital One Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Nebraska and Georgia had fought a brutal battle, and the teams were knotted at 31 halfway through the third quarter. Georgia had driven just past midfield to the Nebraska 49, when the game just broke open for the Bulldogs.

    Aaron Murray flashed a pump-fake, withdrew the ball and threw a 49-yard bomb to Chris Conley. Conley fell into the end zone with a 'Husker wrapped around his ankles, and that was the beginning of the end for Nebraska. The 'Huskers had no luck against the Georgia defense after that, and the Bulldogs posted a 45-31 victory.

Outback Bowl: Michigan Wolverines vs. South Carolina Gamecocks

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    Michigan was leading South Carolina 22-21 at this point in the game, and the Wolverines had the ball again. On a crucial fourth down, Michigan moved the ball roughly three-and-a-half yards, and the Wolverines got a favorable spot. The refs brought out the chain gang to measure, the ball was clearly short, and the ref awarded a first down anyway.

    That was the wrong thing to do. South Carolina challenged the spot, and the spot was upheld. This apparently ticked Jadeveon Clowney off, and this highlight happened on the next play from scrimmage.

    "South Carolina deserves to have it, and they do!" —Announcer proving that the first-down call was garbage. Here is a gif of the measurement if you would like to see for yourself.

    South Carolina would ride the rage wave to a 33-28 victory off the backup quarterback's game-winning touchdown strike late in the fourth quarter.

Rose Bowl Presented by VIZIO: Stanford Cardinal vs. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Stanford squeaked out a 20-14 win in the Rose Bowl over Wisconsin on Jan. 1, and Stanford wasted no time getting to the end zone. The play immediately before the Cardinal scored their first touchdown was one of the best plays of the day. (If not for Jadeveon Clowney's gargantuan hit, it would have been the best.)

    This play was a picture-perfect execution of misdirection, and the quarterback wasn't even involved. Freshman running back Kelsey Young took the snap and pitched the ball to wide receiver Drew Terrell. Terrell launched a pass just within reach of another wide receiver, Jamal-Rashad Patterson.

    Patterson made the leaping, backward-facing, fingertip snag to pluck the ball from the air. He released the ball so he could get a better grip on it, and he hit the ground with complete control. This one is certainly one of the best catches of the entire season, not just the bowl stretch.

Discover Orange Bowl: Florida State Seminoles vs. Northern Illinois Huskies

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    Florida State spent the first half of the Jan. 1 bowl making the Northern Illinois defense look great. The Seminoles were up by only four points with 3:57 to go in the half.

    E.J. Manuel took the snap at the six and scrambled to keep the play alive. He ran toward a clearing near the right sideline and took a shot to the end zone. Rashad Greene leapt up and made an incredible catch and followed it up with an amazing landing to put the 'Noles up 14-3.

    Florida State would eventually win 31-10, but not before struggling in every quarter except the fourth.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators vs. Louisville Cardinals

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    Louisville was the underdog in the Sugar Bowl by two touchdowns, and the Cardinals were expected to need all kinds of misdirection to beat the No. 3 Florida Gators.

    That's what makes this highlight so entertaining. Florida was not expected to need plays like this, but the Gators were down 24-3 with 13 seconds to go in the fist half. They lined up on a fourth-and-goal from the one in what looked like a desperation formation.

    In all honesty, that's exactly what it was. Florida had been owned by Louisville from the get-go, and the Gators really needed this score. Matt Jones took the hand-off and found the end zone on his one-yard dash.

    It was one of the easiest-looking yards the Gators would gain in the game, as Louisville would hold the mighty Gators to just 111 rushing yards on the night.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators vs. Louisville Cardinals

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    Florida had not scored since the trick play at the end of the first half, and the Gators were down 33-10 halfway through the fourth quarter. Louisville had just kicked a field goal to put the Gators 23 points behind.

    Andre Debose did not give up on his team, and he played with more intensity on this play than anyone else on the field for the rest of the game. Florida needed three touchdowns and a field goal or three touchdowns with successful two-point conversions to win the game. (They could have afforded to miss one conversion and still tied the game with two-pointers after the other two touchdowns.)

    Debose fielded the kickoff just inside the end zone, and he ran it back 100 yards for Florida's biggest touchdown of the game. He almost tied Florida's entire rushing performance with this trip to the house.

    Debose got 100 yards on this return, and the Gators only managed 111 rushing yards in the entire game.

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida Gators vs. Louisville Cardinals

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    The best highlight of the game is similar to the best highlight of the Mississippi State vs. Northwestern game. Northwestern got a pick-six off the Bulldogs with 47 seconds gone in the first quarter, and the Wildcats went on to own the Bulldogs for the rest of the game.

    Louisville did the same thing, only it was 32-seconds faster. With only 15 seconds off the clock, Louisville's Terell Floyd intercepted Jeff Driskel's first pass and ran the pick 38 yards to the house.

    It was Florida's first play from scrimmage, and Louisville set the tone with that play. From that moment on, Florida would be playing from behind. Louisville held on to the lead for the entire game, and Florida's rally in the fourth quarter would fall well short.

    Louisville would stomp the Gators 33-23, but that final score doesn't reflect the domination the Cardinals had over Florida.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Kansas State Wildcats

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    Oregon joined the bowl season's elite few teams to set the tone in the first minute of the game with this play. Kansas State kicked off to the Ducks, and Oregon took the opportunity to start the game with a gigantic highlight.

    De'Anthony Thomas fielded the kick on the Kansas State six, and gave Oregon great field position...for a two-point conversion. Thomas's return sparked the fire for Oregon, and the Ducks never looked back.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Kansas State Wildcats

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    After the 94-yard kickoff return, not much could make a highlight reel for the Ducks. Once again, De'Anthony Thomas would disagree emphatically.

    He refused to wait until after the first quarter, and he refused to wait until Oregon got into the red zone. Thomas caught a short screen and ran straight toward the end zone. Kansas State defenders attempted to deny him the touchdown, but he would drag them along with him.

    He got brought to the ground, but he was lying on one of the defenders and got the ball into the end zone before he was officially ruled down.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl; Oregon Ducks vs. Kansas State Wildcats

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    Kansas State had come back from a 15-0 deficit to make the score 15-10 in favor of the Ducks. The Wildcats pulled out a trick play in hopes of snatching a touchdown and taking the lead.

    Oregon got pressure on the passer, and that allowed Brian Jackson to get to the receiver just in time to smack the ball out of his hands just like a basketball center blocks a dunk. It was truly impressive, as you can see.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks vs. Kansas State Wildcats

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    This play is probably the only one of its kind that a person will see in easily a decade. Oregon scores a touchdown (calm down, that's not the play), and the extra point is blocked.

    The blocked extra point is caught in the field of play, run back into the end zone by the defense, and the ball-carrier is downed in the end zone.

    Excerpt from the video: "On the previous play, we have an unusual ruling: The ball was blocked, caught, carried back into the end zone and declared dead by the defense. That play results in a one-point safety."

    If you've never seen one of those, here's your chance.

AT&T Cotton Bowl: Texas A&M Aggies vs. Oklahoma Sooners

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    Johnny Manziel opened up a can on Oklahoma, and it started with his second major run of the game. He had already rushed for a 24-yard gain on a previous third-and-three, but this time he was facing a third-and-nine.

    He drops back to pass, an Oklahoma defender breaks through the line, and he does what he does best. He scrambled back and out to the left and took off toward the first-down marker. After he crossed it, he aimed out-of-bounds and caused a Sooner near the goal line to back off.

    As soon as that happened, he redirected a bit and tight-roped into the end zone. That started a long night of Manziel highlights that could barely be contained in the featured two-minute video.

    This was clearly the best highlight of the night, and it's the second-best of Manziel's season.

Discover BCS National Championship: Notre Dame vs. Alabama

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    Alabama was up 21-0 at this point in the game, and the announcers were chattering about how "Saban would probably be happy to run out the clock and go to the locker room up 21-0."

    This was just a few plays later on the same drive. Eddie Lacy camps out as the safety valve, McCarron reads through his patterns, horoscope, "little black book" and his patterns one more time. He dumps it off to Lacy, who earns his old nickname "Circle Button."

    Alabama 28, Notre Dame 0 at halftime.

Discover BCS National Championship: Notre Dame vs. Alabama

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    Notre Dame's first drive of the second half looked as if the Irish had figured the Tide out. Notre Dame marched down the field, and the Irish were closing in on the goal line. From the 36, Everett Golson tossed a great pass to DaVaris Daniels.

    Daniels is set up with a pass that will hit him almost perfectly in stride, but Golson didn't realize that Dee Milliner was as good as he is. Milliner jumps up and bats the ball away, content to break up a pass.

    Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had something else in mind entirely. Clinton-Dix makes a stunning grab to wrest the momentum back in favor of the Tide. From the first angle, it doesn't even look like it's possible to make that a legitimate pick.

    This was the story of the Irish's night. They could get something going, but not for long. Alabama would trade scores with Notre Dame in the second and third quarters.

    Final score: Alabama 42, Notre Dame 14.