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Who scored knockouts in the non-BCS bowls? Here's a game-by-game review, plus projections on which programs will be on the rise? and on the decline[down arrow] in 2010
Kyle Padron passed for 460 yards as SMU[up arrow] and second-year coach June Jones whipped Nevada[up arrow] 45--10 in the Hawaii Bowl. The game was played in the same stadium where Jones coached for nine seasons at Hawaii. Aloha Stadium was also the site of the Mustangs' last bowl appearance, in 1984.
Mike Ford of South Florida[up arrow] had the best two quarters of any running back this bowl season, rushing for 189 yards on 19 carries in the second half of the Bulls' 27--3 thumping of Northern Illinois[down arrow] in the International Bowl. Ford carried just once in the first half (for 18 yards), but with the teams deadlocked 3--3, USF coach Jim Leavitt put the game in the hands of the 6'2", 225-pound junior.
Missouri[up arrow] entered the Texas Bowl with the nation's 12th-ranked rushing defense, but Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs (right) ran the triple option to perfection, scampering for 166 yards and three touchdowns in a 35--13 victory. Navy[up arrow] piled up 385 yards on the ground and held the ball for 40:54.
Redshirt sophomore John Clay ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns as Wisconsin[up arrow] held off Miami[up arrow] 20--14 in the Champ Sports Bowl, then delighted Badgers fans by announcing that he would return in 2010.
A chant of "one more year" rang out at the Emerald Bowl after junior wideout Damian Williams hauled in 12 passes for 189 yards as USC[up arrow] beat Boston College[down arrow] 24--13. Williams made a jaw-dropping, 49-yard catch between three defenders that set up Matt Barkley's game-clinching quarterback sneak.
In the Interim
Trailing Michigan State[up arrow] by four points in the fourth quarter of the Alamo Bowl, Texas Tech interim coach Ruffin McNeill benched Taylor Potts, who had passed for 372 yards before injuring his nonthrowing hand. Junior Steven Sheffield drove the Red Raiders to touchdowns on their next two possessions, twice converting on fourth down for the score that gave Tech[up arrow] a 41--31 victory. Afterward, McNeill lobbied to have the interim tag removed.