If you are a fan of college football and the bowl season, it is because of games like we saw Friday Night in the Orange Bowl game. The Michigan Wolverines, who had every reason to mail this one in after narrowly missing the College Football Playoffs, learning that star player Jabril Peppers couldn’t go right at kickoff and falling behind 20-3 instead fought back and finally took their first lead of the game with just under 2:00 left at 30-27.
The FSU defense that had dominated the game all night was starting to wear down in the fourth quarter and Wilton Speight, who took a beating all night form the Noles pass rush, led the Wolverines on a 15-0 run in the fourth to take the lead.
But the Seminoles, who had been hitting on big plays all night long such as the Orange Bowl record 92-yard touchdown pass play from Deondre Francois to Nyqwan Murray in the first half and a 71-yard Dalvin Cook run on a third and 22 that led to another touchdown early in the fourth quarter, had one more big play in them. The ensuing kickoff was returned up the middle all the way to the 35 yard line by freshman Keith Gavin. This led to another touchdown pass from Francois to Murray to put FSU back up 33-30. The extra point would give a four point lead, but it was blocked and returned for two points to cut the Seminoles lead to one point.
But the FSU defense found their second wind (or maybe their third or fourth wind) and would not allow the Wolverines to gain a single yard to move into field goal range. They clinched the win with an interception on fourth and 11 and the Seminole fans celebrated a thrilling win.
If the other New Year’s Six bowls are as exciting as this was, we are in for a great weekend. This bowl season is more than making up for the dud we had last year with several blowouts until we got to the Championship Game between Clemson and Alabama. We’ve had overtime games such as the Army-North Texas game and South Carolina-South Florida game. We’ve seen huge comebacks such as the Virginia Tech-Arkansas game and South Carolina-USF and many big plays.
So now we are set to watch the College Football Playoffs between Alabama and Washington and Clemson vs Ohio State. With the two “second best” Big 10 vs ACC game we saw on Friday, it would seem the Ohio State Clemson game should be a great one.