Biggest Wins in Next Four 2007 Bowl Games Belong to East Carolina and Texas – Part 2

Here are the next 4 winners of this year’s 2007 college football bowl game results:

Las Vegas Bowl – Brigham Young Nips UCLA 17-16 on a Blocked Field Goal

Brigham Young, which led UCLA 17-13 at the half and went scoreless in the second half, barely managed to hang on to win 17-16 against UCLA in a game the Cougars should have lost.

After allowing the Bruins a 4th quarter field goal to make it 17-16, BYU’s defense went into the dumper behind K-Mart by allowing UCLA to drive 87 yards in the last 2 minutes to give the Bruins a chip-shot field goal on the final play of the game.

Unfortunately for UCLA and fortunately for Brigham Young, a 280-pound Cougar lineman-Eathyn Manumaleuna (I think his last name is Hawaiian and 6 syllables)-who could not jump out of paper sack, got his right mitt up and became an instant hero. He will go into the BYU folklore history if he is not already there.

The win was the 10th straight for the Cougars who finished the season at 11-2, not too shabby by any standard. BYU dodged a bullet earlier this season against Utah, converting on a 4th-and-18 play in their winning drive to seal a 17-10 victory.

The Bruins only lost 2 games in their first 7, one to Utah 44-6 on the road (gag, gag and gag) and the other to Notre Dame 20-6 at home in the Rose Bowl (good grief). UCLA then lost 4 of its last 5 games plus the Las Vegas Bowl to end at 6-7, a losing season. No wonder UCLA coach Karl Dorrell was pushed out the door before the Las Vegas Bowl even started.

Hawaii Bowl – East Carolina Beats Boise State by a Field Goal, 41-38

Speed killed Boise State’s magic this year as East Carolina, which motored to a 38-14 lead early in the 3rd quarter, darn near sent the game into overtime when their star and the game’s Most Valuable Player-Chris Johnson-fumbled while the Pirates were ready to ice the contest.

Johnson’s fumble was picked up and returned for a 47-yard touchdown to tie the game at 38 with 1:25 left to play. East Carolina managed to drive to the Broncos’ 17 yard line and a last play field goal by Ben Hartman sealed the deal.

All Chris Johnson had done up to his inadvertent fumble was set a NCAA bowl record with 408 all-purpose yards for the Pirates. He rushed for 223 yards, caught 3 passes for 32 yards and returned 6 kickoffs for 153 yards. Boise State, a 10.5-point favorite, managed just 3 yards in the 1st quarter while East Carolina racked up 181 yards behind Johnson’s 106 rushing yards.

If you saw this match-up, Chris Johnson ran by Boise State Broncos as if they were standing still. The Broncos looked like they had lost a saddle and were watching their horse run away. It was Don James, the Dawgfather, who said “speed kills” while he built the University of Washington into a powerhouse in the 1980s and early 1990s as the Huskies’ most successful coach.

Boise State had cruised to a 13-0 mark last year and stunned Oklahoma with a miracle 43-42 overtime victory in the Fiesta Bowl. This year was the 6th straight bowl appearance for the Broncos, who dropped to 10-3 while East Carolina rose to 8-5. If Hawaii wins its bowl game against the SEC’s Georgia Bulldogs, Bronco mania could be in trouble. I hear it is cold in the winter in Idaho.

Did I mention that Boise State was ranked 24th in the final AP Top 25 Poll, 24th in the final BCS Standings, and rated 28th by Sagarin? Sagarin rated East Carolina 75th in its final poll; this is why Boise State was a 10.5-point favorite.

Motor City Bowl – Purdue Beats Central Michigan by a Field Goal, 51-48

Purdue was lucky to get out of Dodge a winner when the Boilermakers traveled to Detroit to face the Mid-American Conference champion Central Michigan Chippewas in the Motor City Bowl. Thankfully, the Boilermakers’ Chris Summers put his foot to the pedal to kick a 40-yard, last play field goal as Purdue drove out of town on top, 51-48.

This was an exciting game for fans to watch unless you care about defense. The combined 99 points tied the second-highest total ever for a bowl game in regulation play, topped only by California’s 52-49 victory over Virginia Tech in the 2003 Insight Bowl.

The game showcased the quarterbacks. Purdue’s Curtis Painter set a school-record 546 yards passing on a 35-for-54 effort (65%) with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, both of which went off of receiver Dorien Bryant’s hands. Central Michigan’s Dan LeFevour completed 17 of 34 (50%) for 292 yards and 4 touchdowns, and picked up another 114 yards on 33 carries.

LeFevour’s 19-yard scoring pass to Bryan Anderson with 1:09 remaining tied the game at 48. LeFevour, a sophomore, finished the year with 27 passing touchdowns and 19 rushing touchdowns, almost matching Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow of Florida as the only major college player to have 20 each in a season.

Purdue, which has risen folding in important games to an art form, blew no less than three 21-point leads before Summers decided to win one for a change. The Boilermakers were favored to win by 9 points. Purdue finishes the year at 8-5 and Central Michigan dropped to 8-6.

Holiday Bowl – Texas Beats Arizona State 53-34 for 4th Straight Bowl Victory

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy fumbled 4 times but it was still not enough to slow down his Longhorn teammates as they outlasted Arizona State 53-34 to win the Holiday Bowl. McCoy was helped by the Sun Devils committing 5 turnovers.

Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter had a horrible night, going 18-of-32 for 187 yards and being sacked 4 times. McCoy threw for one score, ran for another and fumbled into the end zone and his teammate Jermichal Finley recovered for another score. McCoy was 21-of-31 (67%) for 174 yards and ran for 84 yards on 16 carries.

A stupid mistake by Texas coach Mark Brown’s stepson, Chris Jessie, marred the game but did not affect the outcome. Jessie touched an errant fumble by Arizona State that was a live ball and the Sun Devils capitalized on the error to score a touchdown. “That’s the most unusual play I’ve ever seen in college football,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said.

Texas led 28-10 at the half and was not about to be denied a victory. The win by Texas was its 4th straight in bowl competition and lifted its final record to 10-3 as Arizona State dropped to 10-3.

(Editor’s Note: This is the 2nd article of a series on the 2007 bowl game results.)

Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley