Will the spotlight be too much for Seastrunk?
Not everyone will be celebrating college football’s 2013-14 bowl season.
For some, underwhelming performances and mistakes will put a damper on their year. For others, the spotlight will be too much to handle in their first real appearance this season.
All in all, it will be a time several players would soon like to forget.
Join B/R as we compile a list of some of the players guaranteed to let their respective teams down.
It'll be tough sledding for Jennings against the Hawkeyes.
The Matchup: Iowa (8-4) at No. 16 LSU (9-3), Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET on ESPN (Outback Bowl)
Anthony Jennings earned a spot in the hearts of Tigers fans everywhere by rescuing the team against Arkansas in the season finale.
With starter Zach Mettenberger injured, the freshman signal-caller orchestrated a 99-yard touchdown drive with less than three minutes remaining. The drive put LSU on top, 31-27, for good.
This time around, he won’t be as fortunate.
Through 12 games, the Hawkeyes rank No. 11 against the pass (182.4 YPG). The team only allows a meager 5.8 yards per attempt.
The Tigers could try to help Jennings by turning to running back Jeremy Hill and the rushing attack. However, Iowa is even stingier against the run—No. 17 while conceding just five rushing touchdowns.
If LSU is going to win this game, Jennings will have to throw the ball.
That can only mean disaster for the Tigers.
James has been integral to the ups and downs of the Bruins' 2013 season.
The Matchup: Virginia Tech (8-4) vs. No. 17 UCLA (9-3), Dec. 31, 2 p.m. ET on CBS (Hyundai Sun Bowl)
The Bruins’ season took a turn for the worst when running back Jordon James was on the sidelines with an injury.
After averaging a little more than 50 points per game with the junior in the lineup, UCLA’s offensive output has dropped to a modest 36.5 points per game. James has missed the majority of seven of the team’s last eight games.
Even in his return, James failed to dazzle—in the season finale against USC. He only rushed for 54 yards on 16 carries.
Don’t expect anything to change against one of the best run defenses in the nation.
Through 12 games, the Hokies rank No. 8 against the run (103.8 YPG). The team has given up eight rushing touchdowns while conceding a meager 3.10 yards per carry.
The Bruins might be favored to win this one, but it will be no thanks to James’ effort on the ground.
Can Lynch get it together against the Aggies?
The Matchup: Utah State (8-5) vs. No. 23 Northern Illinois (12-1), Dec. 26, 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl)
It’s no secret that quarterback Jordan Lynch can run.
The senior has rushed for 1,881 yards and 22 touchdowns on 274 carries thus far. That includes breaking the FBS record for rushing yards by a quarterback not once, but twice.
However, Lynch has shown vulnerabilities when it comes to throwing the ball. Over the Huskies’ last two games, the Chicago, Ill., native combined to throw 258 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on just 45.6 percent passing.
That’s not going to get it done against a better-than-expected Aggies defense.
Through 13 games, the unit ranks No. 12 in total defense (332.2 YPG), No. 10 against the run (107.4 YPG) and No. 56 against the pass (224.8 YPG). Utah State has conceded 16 passing touchdowns and just eight rushing touchdowns on a meager 2.81 yards per carry.
All in all, it won’t be the kind of farewell Lynch was hoping for in his final collegiate game.
Yards will be tough to come by for Davis (left).
The Matchup: No. 19 Wisconsin (9-3) vs. No. 9 South Carolina (10-2), Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET on ABC (Capital One Bowl)
For the majority of the season, running back Mike Davis has been integral to the Gamecocks’ success.
Through 11 games, the sophomore has rushed for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns on 194 carries. That includes topping the century mark in six of South Carolina’s first seven games.
However, Davis has struggled down the stretch, only accomplishing the feat once over his last four games.
It won’t be any easier for the Lithonia, Ga., native when he takes on a tough Badgers run defense.
Thus far, the unit ranks No. 6 against the run (101.3 YPG). Wisconsin has given up just seven rushing touchdowns on 3.20 yards per carry.
Furthermore, the team hasn’t allowed a touchdown on the ground in five consecutive games dating back to Oct. 19 against Illinois.
Needless to say, it’s going to be a rough afternoon for Davis in this one.
Beasley will be having a performance to forget against the Buckeyes.
The Matchup: No. 12 Clemson (10-2) vs. No. 7 Ohio State (12-1), Jan. 3, 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (Discover Orange Bowl)
Defensive end Vic Beasley got off to one heck of a start for the Tigers.
The junior racked up 20 tackles (12.0 for loss), 9.0 sacks and forced two fumbles over the team’s first six games. He was instrumental to Clemson’s 6-0 start and No. 3 ranking in the polls.
However, Beasley has since slowed down, tallying just 7.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in the team’s last six games.
That slide will continue against one of the top rushing attacks in the nation.
Through 13 games, the Buckeyes rank No. 3 in rushing offense (317.5 YPG). Behind the prowess of running back Carlos Hyde (183 CAR, 1,408 YDS, 14 TD) and quarterback Braxton Miller (153 CAR, 1,033 YDS, 10 TD), the team has found the end zone 42 times on the ground.
Furthermore, Ohio State has rushed for 270 yards or more in seven consecutive games.
Beasley and the rest of the Tigers defense will be in for a nightmare in this one.
Chelf (left) will once again find himself under pressure.
The Matchup: No. 13 Oklahoma State (10-2) vs. No. 8 Missouri (11-2), Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox (AT&T Cotton Bowl)
Quarterback Clint Chelf has had some great performances for the Cowboys in 2013.
More specifically, the senior threw for 567 yards, five touchdowns and one interception on 74.5 percent passing while rushing for another 70 yards and three scores in wins against Texas and Baylor. Oklahoma State won those games by a combined score of 87-30.
On the other hand, Chelf has put in some stinkers, completing less than 55 percent of his passes in five of his last seven starts.
Against the Tigers, it’s most likely going to be the latter that the Cowboys see.
Although Missouri ranks No. 101 against the pass (256.0 YPG), the team has given up just 16 passing touchdowns. At the same time, the Tigers have recorded 18 interceptions and haven’t allowed an opposing quarterback to top 260 yards in five consecutive games.
It’s not looking good for Chelf.
Seastrunk (center) will try to get back his thunder against the Knights.
The Matchup: No. 15 UCF (11-1) vs. No. 6 Baylor (11-1), 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN (Tostitos Fiesta Bowl)
Running back Lache Seastrunk has been a shell of his former self as of late.
The junior topped the century mark in seven of the Bears’ first eight games, finding the end zone 11 times during that span. Since then, he’s been hobbled with an injury and has failed to accomplish the feat—or score a touchdown—in each of his last three appearances.
Furthermore, in two of those games, Seastrunk was held under 4.0 yards per carry.
Against the Knights run defense, don’t expect his luck to turn around.
Through 12 games, the unit ranks No. 13 against the run (116.5 YPG). UCF has held opposing running backs to just 3.86 yards per carry.
In what should be a battle that is won on the ground, yards will be difficult to come by for Seastrunk.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.