SI's All-Bowl Team
Only a handful of them were vying for the national title, but each of these players was -- for one game -- No. 1 at his position, thus earning a spot on our postseason roster
By Ivan Maisel
Wide receivers: This season Ole Miss ranked ninth in the nation in passing defense, but nobody told West Virginia junior Antonio Brown . He caught six passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns in the Mountaineers' 49-38 victory in the Music City Bowl. Once North Carolina State spotted Minnesota a 24-0 lead in the Micronpc.com Bowl, sophomore Koren Robinson went to work. He finished with seven receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown, added a 19-yard score on a reverse and gained 151 yards in kick returns as the Wolfpack rallied to win 38-30.
Tackles: Senior Elliot Silvers opened one hole after another on the weak side as Washington pummeled Purdue into submission, 34-24, in the Rose Bowl. In rushing for 268 yards, the Huskies nearly doubled the average (139.1 yards) that the Boilermakers gave up during the season. North Carolina State senior Jarvis Borum , a 6'7", 341-pounder known as Big Earth, held Minnesota defensive end Karon Riley, the 1999 Big Ten sack leader, to two tackles and no sacks in the Micronpc.com Bowl.
Guards: Nebraska senior Russ Hochstein bulldozed the left side of the Northwestern defensive line as the Huskers rushed for 476 yards in winning the Alamo Bowl 66-17. In his 45th start for Michigan, senior Steve Hutchinson helped create the holes through which Anthony Thomas rushed for most of his 182 yards and his two touchdowns in the Wolverines' 31-28 defeat of Auburn in the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Center: Georgia junior Curt McGill made four knockdown blocks and didn't allow a pressure of quarterback Cory Phillips in the Bulldogs' 37-14 rout of Virginia in the Oahu Bowl. McGill also threw two important blocks -- one at the line, one downfield -- on Terrence Edwards's 40-yard first-quarter touchdown run on a reverse.
Tight end: Sophomore Jeremy Shockey caught two of the biggest touchdown passes of the season for Miami -- the winning score against Florida State in October and the first touchdown in the 37-20 defeat of Florida in the Sugar Bowl. Shockey had four catches for 47 yards against the Gators.
Quarterback: Junior Brad Lewis of West Virginia completed all seven of his first-half attempts for 216 yards and four touchdowns to give the Mountaineers a 35-9 lead over Ole Miss in the Music City Bowl. Lewis, who had only eight touchdown passes during the regular season, threw for 318 yards and five TDs against the Rebels.
Running backs: South Carolina coach Lou Holtz knew how to motivate sophomore Ryan Brewer , a native of Troy, Ohio, before the Gamecocks played Ohio State in the Outback Bowl. Holtz reminded Brewer, who had rushed for 7,656 yards at Troy High, that Buckeyes coach John Cooper had passed on him. After playing wideout all season, Brewer returned to the backfield to gain 109 yards and score two touchdowns on 19 carries and catch three passes for 92 yards and another touchdown in the Gamecocks' 24-7 win. The last thing a tackler trying to gain traction on a snowy artificial surface needs is Texas A&M junior Ja'Mar Toombs bearing down on him. The 6-foot, 275-pound Toombs became the first two-time SI All-Bowl selectee in the three-year history of this mythical team by rumbling for 193 yards and three touchdowns in the Aggies' 43-41 overtime loss to Mississippi State in the Independence Bowl.
Ends: Because of Nebraska senior Kyle Vanden Bosch , Northwestern left tackle Leon Brockmeier will remember the Alamo Bowl. Three of Vanden Bosch's five tackles were behind the line, and he swatted down one pass in the Huskers' rout. If Tennessee freshman quarterback Casey Clausen can resist the urge to burn the videotape of his Cotton Bowl performance (seven completions in 25 attempts, three interceptions), he'll see Kansas State senior Chris Johnson sack him twice in the Wildcats' 35-21 win.
Tackles: Mississippi State senior Willie Blade , after making 16 tackles in regulation, including four behind the line of scrimmage, made his best Independence Bowl play in overtime. He sliced up the middle and blocked a Texas A&M point-after attempt that was returned 85 yards for a defensive two-point conversion, the final margin in the Bulldogs' win. Thanks to David Pugh , Virginia Tech didn't need to blitz Clemson to control the line. The 6'3", 271-pound junior, who had one sack and two hurries of Tigers quarterback Woody Dantzler plus four other tackles, spent the day in the Clemson backfield as the Hokies' defense led the way to a 41-20 Gator Bowl victory.
Outside linebackers: Oregon State senior Darnell Robinson forced two turnovers to fuel the Beavers' 29-point third quarter in their 41-9 Fiesta Bowl thumping of Notre Dame. Marshall junior Michael Owens scored a safety by tackling Cincinnati tailback Ray Jackson in the end zone, blitzed his way to two sacks and had 11 tackles, three for a loss, in the Thundering Herd's 25-14 triumph in the Motor City Bowl.
Middle linebacker: Southern Mississippi freshman Rod Davis stalked TCU Heisman finalist LaDainian Tomlinson for four quarters in the Mobile Alabama Bowl, and it paid off with a 28-21 upset victory. Davis made 14 tackles, including 10 of Tomlinson, who rushed for a season-low 118 yards.
Cornerbacks: Oregon junior Rashad Bauman stands only 5'8", but he held 6'5" Texas freshman Roy Williams to just two catches in the Ducks' 35-30 victory in the Holiday Bowl. Bauman also made five tackles, and his interception at the Oregon 15-yard line with 1:24 remaining sealed the win. After Reche Caldwell of Florida burned Miami for six catches and 110 yards in the first half, sophomore Phillip Buchanon got busy. Caldwell caught no passes in the second half, and Buchanon's fourth-quarter interception set up the Hurricanes' final touchdown in their Sugar Bowl victory.
Strong safety: The last of senior John Howell 'seight tackles helped Colorado State seal its 22-17 Liberty Bowl victory over Louisville. On fourth-and-seven at the Cardinals' 40, Howell stopped quarterback Dave Ragone for a one-yard gain with 3:46 to play.
Free safety: Oklahoma senior J. T. Thatcher made sure no Florida State receiver filled the shoes of academically ineligible Marvin Minnis as quarterback Chris Weinke's go-to guy. Thatcher, who recovered quickly from a jarring hit in the first half of the Orange Bowl, had six tackles and broke up two passes in the Sooners' 13-2 victory.
Kicker: Miami sophomore Todd Sievers made three field goals, but none were as long as the 50-yard extra point he booted following two 15-yard penalties after Miami's last TD.
Punter: Boise State senior Jeff Edwards averaged 42.6 yards on seven punts, but it was his 22-yard run on a fake punt early in the fourth quarter that set up the touchdown that broke open the Broncos' 38-23 Humanitarian Bowl win over UTEP.
Returner: East Carolina generously lists senior Keith Stokes at 5'8", 180 pounds. Take away an inch and 10 pounds, and you'll have the guy who floored Texas Tech in the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl the first two times he touched the ball. His 37-yard kickoff return to start the game set up the Pirates' first touchdown, and his 71-yard punt return for a TD minutes later set the tone for their 40-27 victory. Stokes finished with 187 return yards and 266 all-purpose yards.
Coach: Fresno State's Pat Hill kept his players focused after they fell behind Air Force 34-7 in the Silicon Valley Bowl, and when the Bulldogs pulled to within 37-34 he disdained a 33-yard field goal attempt with 14 seconds to go and called for a fake kick. The ensuing pass fell incomplete, but what kid wouldn't want to play for a coach like that?
Issue date: January 8, 2001