Saturday, January 24, 2009

2008 Champs Sports Bowl - Florida State Uses an MVP Punter & Heads Up Play to Rout Wisconsin, 42-13

If you thought for a moment that 79-year-old Bobby Bowden
was ready to retire as head coach of Florida State, forget
it, especially after his Siminoles routed Wisconsin 42-13
in the Champs Sports Bowl Saturday (12-27-08).

For Bowden, the victory over the Wisconsin Badgers was like
deja vu, a big-play offense and a
hard-hitting, nasty, opportunistic defense getting all over
the Badgers, sending them back into the hole they came
from. The Siminoles' special teams got in the Badgers'

When Florida State had to punt they had the right
player - Graham Gano, the Lou Groza Award winner as the
nation's best kicker. All Gano did was average 48+ yards on
5 punts and place 3 of them inside the 4, including 2 at
Wisconsin's 1-yard line.

Talk about backing your opponent up against the goal line,
Gano had just the right touch, earning him the MVP Award.
When, if ever, have you hear of a punter getting an MVP
Award in a bowl game?
On the defensive side, both Derek Nicholson and Dekoda
Watson returned fumbles for touchdowns, Nicholson's for 75
yards and Watson's for 51. Talk about excitement.

After both teams failed to score in the 1st quarter,
Florida State scored 2 touchdowns in each of the 2nd, 3rd
and 4th quarters.

Wisconsin was continually starting out deep in its own
territory and never really did get untracked. P. J. Hill
managed to gain 140 yards on 15 carries for the Badgers,
but quarterback Dustin Sherer completed only 4 of 9 for 55
yards during the first three quarters.

It was an ugly finish for Wisconsin's season. Early on the
Badgers were ranked as high as 9th in the AP Top 25 Poll,
but Wisconsin has always been overrated the last few years.
The loss left them at 7-6.
The win put Florida State at 9-4, the Siminoles first 9-win
season since 2004. Bobby Bowden is used to better, having
hit at least 9 wins in 17 of 18 years before tailing off in
recent seasons. Many of his key players return next year,
giving him no good reason to quit, even at 80.

The Champs Sports Bowl game was Florida State's
NCAA-leading 27th straight bowl game, improving Bowden's
personal bowl game record to 21-10-1. Bowden has 382 career
wins, just 1 short of Joe Paterno's 383 at Penn State, the
major college record. Paterno is 82 years young.

Both Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno will likely be carried
out of a football stadium on a stretcher when they quit
coaching. These guys are icons and extremely competitive.
Even though they would both deny it, each would like to go
down in history with the most wins ever, and they prove it
every year they return to the sideline.

"2008 Hawaii Bowl - Charlie Weis Era at Notre Dame Finally
Arrives, Irish Speed Past Hawaii, 49-21"
"So Who Are the Current Worst Players in Division 1-A
Football in the Nation?"
"Famous Quotes by Vince Lombardi, Knute Rockne and Lou
Holtz During Football's Annual Bowl Season"
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