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SI's All-Bowl Team

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Posted: Wednesday January 12, 2000 10:22 AM

By Ivan Maisel

Sports Illustrated Although only one postseason game truly mattered, players performed well enough in 19 of the 24 bowls to earn spots on our select roster


Wide receivers: Memo to the Downtown Athletic Club: Please return Heisman Trophy ballot number 147 to Sports Illustrated ASAP. This voter, uh, discounted Florida State's Peter Warrick , who in the Seminoles' 46-29 Sugar Bowl victory caught six passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns and added a two-point conversion. Virginia Beach native Plaxico Burress wanted to play for Gators coach Steve Spurrier but didn't have the grades to get into Florida, so he attended Fork Union Military Academy and migrated to Michigan State. In the Citrus Bowl the 6'6" junior posted up the Gators' 5'8" cornerback Robert Cromartie for touchdown catches of 37, 21 and 30 yards and finished with 13 catches for 185 yards in the Spartans' 37-34 victory. Asked about Burress after the game, Spurrier said, "I can't comment on that. The university is in charge of admissions, not me.... I guess I did just comment on it."

Left tackle: Watch out, Big Ten. Illinois capped its season by routing Virginia 63-21 in the Bowl. Junior Marques Sullivan was the standout on an offensive line that cleared the way for Illinois's 325 yards and six touchdowns on the ground against the Cavaliers. All five Fighting Illini starting linemen return next season.

Left guard: It goes without saying that Utah senior Luis Park is the best Brazilian-Korean-American to play college football in this or any other year. Park, born in Brazil of Korean parents who emigrated to California, led the way for the Utes' Mike Anderson to rush for 254 yards, the sixth-best postseason performance ever, in a 17-16 Las Vegas Bowl victory over Fresno State.

Center: Nebraska sophomore Dominic Raiola showed in the Fiesta Bowl that he could be the next great Cornhuskers lineman. Raiola led a rushing attack that ground out 321 yards against a Tennessee defense that had been giving up 89.6 yards per game on the ground. Nebraska closed out the 31-21 win by running the ball on its last 23 snaps.

Right guard: The play that turned the tide in the Rose Bowl started with a hole created by Wisconsin junior Dave Costa . On the second snap of the second half, Ron Dayne churned through Costa's wake and rumbled 64 yards before being dragged down from behind. Two plays later Dayne scored, and the Badgers took the lead for good in their 17-9 defeat of Stanford.

Right tackle: Ole Miss senior Todd Wade , all 6'8", 315 pounds of him, smothered any Oklahoma player who attempted to lay his hands on Rebels quarterback Romaro Miller in the Independence Bowl. The All-SEC tackle is the reason that Miller likes to roll to his right. Miller rolled all night, passing for 202 yards and two touchdowns in the Rebels' 27-25 victory.

Tight end: After Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter's pass into coverage deflected off two Purdue defenders, redshirt freshman Randy McMichael pinned the ball against his helmet and then gathered it in. The resulting touchdown, with 1:19 to play, tied the Outback Bowl and completed Georgia's comeback from a 25-0 deficit. The Bulldogs won the game with an overtime field goal.

Quarterback: With the speed of a tailback and the elusiveness of a president, Virginia Tech's Michael Vick put on the best performance by a freshman in a national championship game since who? Dare we say Michael Jordan? We dare.

Running backs: Dayne got his 200 yards against the Cardinal in typical fashion: a yard here, a yard there and then boom! In four bowl games with Wisconsin, Dayne rushed for 728 yards on 106 carries. Sophomore Cortlen Johnson ran through and around Boston College for 201 yards and two touchdowns in Colorado's 62-28 victory in the Bowl.

Kicker: Ole Miss junior Les Binkley , who made 14 of 16 field goals in the regular season, ignored the timeout that the Sooners called to ice him and kicked a 39-yarder to win the Independence Bowl.

Kick returner: Alabama sophomore Freddie Milons showed during the Crimson Tide's 35-34 overtime loss to Michigan in the Orange Bowl why he's the leading candidate to replace Warrick as the college game's most exciting player. In the second quarter Milons set up a touchdown with a 23-yard punt return, and later he took one 62 yards for a score.


Ends: TCU junior Aaron Schobel already holds the school's career record for sacks with 24 1/2, and he got three more that won't be added to that mark in the Horned Frogs' 28-14 defeat of East Carolina in the inaugural Mobile Alabama Bowl. Southern Mississippi senior ADALIUS THOMAS closed out his career with three second-half sacks as the Golden Eagles shut down Colorado State and won the Liberty Bowl 23-17.

Tackles: Wake Forest senior Fred Robbins was the anchor of the most improved defense in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, and he looked the part in making three sacks in the Demon Deacons' 23-3 victory over Arizona State in the Aloha Bowl. Arkansas senior D.J. Cooper , who grew up in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite, made all five of his tackles in the Cotton Bowl behind the Texas line of scrimmage, a big reason the Longhorns finished with minus-27 rushing yards. The Razorbacks romped 27-6.

Linebackers: Penn State junior Lavar Arrington knew the Alamo Bowl would be his last college game, so he put on a show. The Butkus Award winner made 14 tackles, one short of his single-game high this season. Arrington's one sack of Texas A&M quarterback Randy McCown paled beside the three interceptions he forced by hitting McCown as he threw. Clemson sophomore Keith Adams , who led the nation in tackles with 176, added seven more in the Tigers' 17-7 loss to Mississippi State in the Peach Bowl. In Miami's 28-13 Gator Bowl victory, MVP Nate Webster made 14 tackles in leading a Hurricanes defense that held Georgia Tech's Joe Hamilton without a touchdown pass for the first time this season.

Cornerbacks: Wisconsin sophomore Jamar Fletcher limited Stanford All-America wideout Troy Walters to three first-half catches in the Rose Bowl and didn't get called for pass interference—even when he probably should have drawn a flag. Clemson quarterbacks Brandon Streeter and Woodrow Dantzler threw five interceptions against Mississippi State in the Peach Bowl, and senior Robert Bean didn't get a single one. But Bean did make eight tackles, break up three passes and block a field goal in the Bulldogs' victory.

Strong safety: Nebraska senior All-America Mike Brown 's leaping interception at the Huskers' goal line halted Tennessee's first serious scoring threat in the Fiesta. Brown also finished with seven tackles.

Free safety: Marshall senior Rogers Beckett returned his second interception of BYU quarterback Kevin Feterik 16 yards to the Cougars' one-yard line, setting up the Thundering Herd's final touchdown in its 21-3 Motor City Bowl victory.

Punter: Minnesota's Ryan Rindels didn't rank in the top 50 nationally or in the top half of Big Ten punters after averaging 41.0 yards per kick during the regular season. Tell that to Oregon. Rindels averaged 46.1 yards per punt, dropped one at the Ducks' one-yard line and had a net punting average of 40.7 yards in the Gophers' 24-20 loss in the Sun Bowl.

Coach: No kidding: A Pac-10 team won with defense. Oregon won the Sun Bowl by holding Minnesota to 96 rushing yards. A big share of the credit should go to the Ducks' defensive coordinator, Nick Aliotti , who a year ago was forced out of the same job at UCLA because of the Bruins' defensive shortcomings.

Issue date: January 10, 2000

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