New Year Filled with Exciting College Football Bowls

It is officially 2022, and I am hoping this year will be great. I wish everyone a blessed year filled with prosperity and happiness. Now, I don’t know about everyone else, but I’d say the bowl game slate for January 1st was a pretty nice way to start off the year. These games did not disappoint, the competition in these matchups were unbelievable. We started the day off down in Tampa where Penn State and Arkansas fought for the Outback Bowl trophy and ended with the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

Penn State WR Parker Washington dodging an Arkansas tackle.

The Outback Bowl

The Nittany Lions were the Big Ten representative of this game, while the Razorbacks showed up for the SEC. Arkansas came into this game 8–4, Penn State 7–5, both schools hungry to close out their seasons strong. Arkansas was ranked 21st in the CFP rankings and 22nd in the AP poll. The Razorbacks closed at a -3.5 point favorite and the total closed at 51. This game started out quite slow, with the first points of the game not being scored until Arkansas Fr. RB Raheim Sanders ran 3 yards and into the end zone at the end of the 1st quarter. Penn State answered with Sr. Sean Clifford throwing to So. WR Keandre Lambert-Smith for a 42 yard TD and a Jake Pinegar FG to give the Nittany Lions a 10–7 lead at the half. However, they would not lead again as the razorbacks scored 17 unanswered points in the 2nd half. Arkansas So. QB KJ Jefferson did not have a great night passing (98 yards and an interception), but he did lead the Razorback offense in rushing yards with 110 yards and 1 TD in 20 carries. Sr. De’vion Warren led Arkansas in receiving yards tallying 33 over 3 catches. Penn State’s QB Sean Clifford threw for 195 yards, a TD, and 2 interceptions, and also led the Nittany Lions in ground yards with 46 in 12 carries. Parker Washington led the PSU receiving core. The sophomore wideout hauled in 7 receptions for 98 yards. The Razorbacks got the best of the Nittany Lions in this one, as they beat Arkansas 24–10. They covered the 3.5 point spread and the total went under by a landslide.

Kentucky QB Will Levis attempting a throw through Iowa’s defense.

The Vrbo Citrus Bowl

This game featured №15 Iowa from the Big Ten and №22 Kentucky from the SEC. The Citrus Bowl hosted two teams very similar in strength, with Kentucky coming in at a small favorite of 3 points and the O/U at 43.5. This game went back and forth, with the Wildcats taking a 10 point lead at halftime, then losing by 4 in the 4th quarter, and finally coming out victorious with a Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushing TD to put them up for good. Kentucky QB Jr. Will Levis threw for 233 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT while Iowa’s Jr. Spencer Petras went for 211 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INTs. Petras’ interceptions really hurt the Hawkeyes in this one, one of them killed what could have been the game-tying or game-winning drive for Iowa. Kentucky overpowered on the ground, with Jr. Chris Rodriguez Jr. accumulating 107 yards and a TD over 20 carries compared to Fr. Gavin Williams who ran for 98 yards over 16 carries. The final score for this one, 20–17, Kentucky pushed the spread of -3 and the total fell short by a touchdown.

A Notre Dame defender tries to drag down an Oklahoma State player reaching for the end zone.

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl

Wow, what a game this was. The Fiesta Bowl showcased Oklahoma State from the Big 12 and representing the independents, Notre Dame. This was a top 10 matchup with the teams ranked №9 and №5 in the CFP rankings, respectively. OK St. closed in as a narrow favorite of 1 point and the O/U stood at 45. Notre Dame came out red hot, taking a 28–7 lead with 1:16 left in the 2nd quarter. QB Sr. Jack Coan had just threw his 4th TD of the game, and it was barely the 2nd quarter. Oh, but do not count the Cowboys out folks. In the 2nd half, OK St. clawed back and erased the 21 point deficit. They took a lead and downed the Fighting Irish by 2 points. Jack Coan’s monstrous 509 yard, 5 TD, 1 INT game was not enough to carry Notre Dame to a victory. However, Jr. Spencer Sanders also had himself a nice night for the Cowboys with 371 yards and 4 TDs through the air and another 125 yards on 17 carries on the ground. It was a high-octane QB matchup that did not disappoint. Notre Dame’s Fr. Lorenzo Styles Jr. had 136 yards and a TD for 8 catches and So. Brennan Presley hauled 10 receptions for 137 yards. The Cowboys edged out 37–35, covering the spread and pushing the total well over the line in Vegas.

Fans wait outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.

Capital One Venture X Rose Bowl

Man I thought the Fiesta Bowl was the game of the day, until this game happened. This masterpiece of a game had №11 Utah of the Pac-12 facing №6 Ohio State of the Big 10. Both schools had great seasons and were longing for a sweet close to their campaigns. Ohio State closed at -4.0 and the total was 64.5. If you wanted offense in this game, I think you got all that you could’ve asked for. In the 2nd quarter, 4 touchdowns were scored in the span of 2:43 minutes. Yes, 4 touchdowns…in 3 minutes. Utah had a 14 point lead at the half, and maintained an advantage up until the 10 minute mark of the 4th quarter where QB CJ Stroud completed a 5 yard TD pass to Marvin Harrison Jr. The Utes and Buckeyes traded touchdowns, and finally Ohio State had control of the last possession. They drove 56 yards in 1:54 minutes to set up Sr. Noah Ruggles for the 19 yard game-winning FG. Cameron Rising for the Utes finished with 214 yards and 2 TDs through the air while adding 92 yards plus 1 TD rushing on 11 carries. He left the game in the 4th quarter due to a head injury and did not return. Fr. CJ Stroud had himself an amazing night, throwing for 573 yards, 6 TDs, and 1 INT on an 80% completion rate for OSU. Sophomore wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba absolutely shredded up Utah’s defense, gobbling up 15 receptions for 347 yards and 3 TDs. Final score, OSU 48-UTAH 45. The Buckeyes failed to cover the spread by one point, but the O/U was blown out of the water in this one, with the total score at 93 points.

Ole Miss QB Matt Corral making a throw.

Allstate Sugar Bowl

The latest of the New Years’ Day college football slate featured №7 Baylor from the Big 12, and №8 Ole Miss from the SEC in a clash at the Caesars Superdome. This was another top 10 matchup, and although it wasn’t as exciting as the Fiesta Bowl, it still showcased high quality college football. Ole Miss closed at a small 1 point favorite and the total was perched at 60. This game was a defensive showdown, with the first points coming via pick six by Baylor’s Al Walcott. Ole Miss would tie the game on a Luke Altmyer pass to Braylon Sanders for 37 yards, but those points would be the only ones the Rebels see the entire game. The Rebels’ offensive line was no match for the Baylor pass rush, as Baylor accumulated a whopping 9 sacks. The Bears also picked off Ole Miss QBs 3 times. Neither school’s starting QB shined tonight; Baylor Junior Gerry Bohanon only threw for 40 yards, 1 TD, and got picked off once, while Freshman Luke Altmyer threw for 174 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs for Ole Miss. However, Sr. Abram Smith dominated the ground game for Baylor, totaling 172 rushing yards on 25 carries. Ole Miss was simply outplayed in this game, taking a loss by a score of 7–21. They failed to cover the spread, and the stout defense by both sides slammed the total way short of the 60 point Vegas line.

Finishing Thoughts

And that does it. New Years’ Day has come to a close and with it 5 college football games in the books. I will be looking forward to the CFP championship on the 10th, and expect a great game between SEC rivals. If you liked this read, please consider supporting me by following me and applauding my articles. I will try to be consistent with my articles, and look to cover NBA, NFL, NHL, etc. Thanks, and everyone have a blessed week.

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An aspiring student and freelance writer who has a deep passion for sports. Read on my website, for unlimited reading.

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An aspiring student and freelance writer who has a deep passion for sports. Read on my website, for unlimited reading.

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