One of the new features we’re rolling out for the 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational here at STAT BOX STORIES this year is a fan vote for Game of the Season. When gamers play 35 Bowl Games in NCAA Football and real-life gives us 35 more “takes” on the games of Bowl Season, there can be a lot of memorable results which come about for fans of college football. This year, we’re taking some time to recognize the more intriguing games of Bowl Season; read on for the nominees!
The first game up for vote is the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, where the Arizona Wildcats and Nevada Wolf Pack started Bowl Season off on the right foot with a double-overtime thriller. After Nevada came back late in the fourth quarter to force overtime, Arizona scored a touchdown on their second possession of the extra time to take home the win.
Next up is the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, where the Knights of UCF managed to outlast a furious 22-point rally by the Ball State Cardinals in the fourth quarter to hold on for a postseason victory. A two-point conversion pass fell incomplete after Ball State’s final touchdown; a conversion which would have forced overtime had it been good.
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit featured one of the more intriguing results of the Bowl Season; the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Central Michigan Chippewas combined for 17 points each in regulation; in overtime, WKU scored 20 points and CMU scored 22 points! The Chippewas prevailed in the third overtime when they managed to convert the two-point rush attempt for the win.
With Baylor involved in the postseason, expectations were high for an offensive onslaught in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl; the Bears lived up to those expectations, taking a 27-17 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Bruins of UCLA, however, fought back to score 18 unanswered points—starting with a safety—to take home a 35-27 win.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas wasn’t necessarily expected to be too competitive, but the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Texas Tech Red Raiders ended the game separated by a field goal converted by Texas Tech K #48 with 1:10 remaining in the game. Texas Tech rallied from an early 14-point deficit and Minnesota had to overcome a fourth quarter deficit to set up the dramatic conclusion.
In a game of multiple Hail Mary completions for touchdowns, the Rice Owls and Air Force Falcons truly came down to the wire in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Air Force completed a 67-yard pass to end the first half, while Rice broke a 21-21 tie with no time left in the fourth quarter on a 54-yard pass.
With 1:59 remaining in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl, the Vanderbilt Commodores had just taken a 17-0 lead over the NC State Wolfpack. NC State would go on to score 21 unanswered points over the rest of the game, the final touchdown coming on a pass with 9 seconds remaining in the game to score the unexpected comeback win.
In the Chick-fil-A Bowl, a battle of Tigers and “Death Valley” denizens with LSU and Clemson, the ACC school scored points on two interception returns, a 106-yard kickoff return, and a field goal to outlast the SEC powerhouse and win by a touchdown despite not scoring any points on offense.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl was a battle of ranked teams, but just barely; the #21 Louisville Cardinals were given little chance to compete against the #3 Florida Gators. In the game playthrough, however—just as in real life—Louisville did more than show up in New Orleans, taking home a win in both the game and reality. In the game, Louisville overcame a 28-17 deficit in the fourth quarter—scoring on an interception return, two-point conversion, and then a touchdown pass—to take home a 32-28 upset win.
The Arkansas State Red Wolves’ bid for their first Bowl Game win as a FBS school seemed in jeopardy in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, as they trailed the Kent State Golden Flashes 23-10 at the end of the third quarter. Arkansas State would go on to score the final 21 points of the game—including the only punt return for a touchdown in the entire 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational—to earn themselves a 31-23 come-from-behind win.
Those are the stories of some of the closest games of the 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational; which one do you think is the Game of the Season? Vote in the poll below, and the winner will be announced in one week on Wednesday, January 16th.