College Football: Saturday's Bowl Dramatics Proved Small Bowls Can Do Big Things

Baily DeeterSenior Writer IIIDecember 18, 2011

Brett Baer and Louisiana-Lafayette celebrate a dramatic bowl victory.
Brett Baer and Louisiana-Lafayette celebrate a dramatic bowl victory.Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It's possible you still enjoyed yourself for a little while if you decided that you were too cool to watch the MAC, the WAC, the Sun Belt and the Mountain West in order to save TV time for the better bowls.

Then, when you heard about how those games ended, you threw a tantrum and decided to never be too cool for anything again.

Because the little bowls gave us excitement to kick off bowl season.

The number of combined points exceeded 46 in each game.

And while Temple blew out Wyoming in the opener, the final two games of the day had fans biting their nails.

Louisiana-Lafayette and San Diego State didn't sound like the most intriguing match-up. But Ragin' Cajun fans packed the Superdome, which made the New Orleans Bowl feel like a home game.

The Cajuns controlled most of the game. Darryl Surgent returned a punt 87 yards to the end zone and at one point Lafayette led 19-3.

But the Aztecs stormed back and Ryan Lindley hit Colin Lockett for a touchdown with 40 seconds left to give SDSU a 30-29 lead.

San Diego State's two-point conversion was nullified by a penalty (on the receiver who caught the ball) so Lafayette took over at their own 18 with 30 seconds to play.

After finding Javone Lawson for 13 yards, quarterback Blaine Gautier escaped the pocket and fired a 26-yard completion to Lawson.

A pass to Harry Peoples and a penalty on the Aztecs for trying to draw a false start set up Brett Baer for a 50-yard field goal.

Lafayette's kicking struggled all game but the snap and hold were good and Baer's kick squeaked through the uprights to light up the crowd and give the Cajuns a win for the record books.

Much like the New Orleans Bowl, Utah State fans turned Bronco Stadium into a home game-like atmosphere. Ohio fans were largely absent, as a small school across the country from Boise won't travel well.

Utah State dominated early and they led 23-10 in the third after Michael Smith's second touchdown run.

Ohio struck back though. After a brilliant touchdown catch by LaVon Brazill (in double coverage), the Bobcats were within a touchdown.

In the fourth, Ohio had 4th and 6 and 45 seconds left when Tyler Tettleton found Brazill on a lob pass for what was originally ruled a touchdown.

After review, however, they spotted the ball inside the 1 and Tettleton scrambled into the end zone with 14 seconds left.

Bobcats stormed the turf, while fans (those that were there) rejoiced in the stands.

Both games, though featuring less prestigious squads, gave us the thing we really wanted for Christmas: Bowl dramatics.

Maybe Florida International and Marshall will be a game to watch.