FanHouse gathers around the TV to bring you insights from Bowl Season '08.
It was a tale of two halves Wednesday night in beautiful -- and for college football, magical -- San Diego. Oklahoma State dominated the first half in taking a 17-7 lead that could have been much larger. Particularly potent was receiver Dez Bryant, who hauled in nine first-half receptions and 13 overall before several leg injuries left him hobbled and eventually on the bench.
Oklahoma State's fate seemed to fade the moment Bryant found the pine. Riding behind an energizing kickoff return and some powerful runs from stocky quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, Oregon surged to a trio of third-quarter touchdowns -- all by Masoli -- to go ahead 28-24. Bryant was scuttled soon thereafter, and battered quarterback Zac Robinson slowly lost his effectiveness as Oregon dominated the rest of the way for a 42-31 victory.
Jumbo Oregon tailback LeGarrette Blount made the play of the game, and the game-winner, hurdling a defender and then stiff-arming another for several yards on a 29-yard touchdown. It was ridiculous, and the kind of man among boys stuff you feel fortunate to witness.
Oklahoma State wasn't without its chances, repeatedly venturing into Oregon territory in the first half before finding ways to stay out of the end zone. Their 468 total yards were no joke, and could have been higher if Oregon's intense hitting and physical play didn't significantly slow down both Bryant and Robinson who gutted things out but clearly weren't themselves.
The Cowboys actually stuffed Oregon on a 4th and goal play in the final quarter to buy themselves some time, but their fading offense failed to get a first down and punted, setting up another Oregon score.
Oregon's ground game was ridiculous in the second half, as a pair of Ducks went over 100 yards for the game with a third not far behind. Back Jeremiah Johnson went for 119 and a touchdown (9.9 average) including a 76-yard carry, quarterback Jeremiah Masoli had 106 himself (6.6 average) to go with the trio of third-quarter touchdowns and Blount trailed with 74 yards (10.6 average) and that ridiculous touchdown. Masoli repeatedly trucked defenders, inspiring his offense in a physical game for two sides not known for rough play.
Thats sort of how the Holiday Bowl works, and why annually it is among the top bowl games and probably deserves consideration for future BCS inclusion.
Television commentators were speculating that this could be Mike Bellotti's last game as Oregon's head coach. If so, it was a fantastic exit. Oregon already has a succession plan in place, with Bellotti moving into the athletic director's chair and offensive coordinator Chip Kelly taking over as head coach.
Bowl Season '08: Surprise! Oregon Emerges Victorious in Another Wild Holiday Bowl originally appeared on NCAA Football FanHouse on Wed, 31 Dec 2008 00:37:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.