Late Game Heroics – A Staple This Bowl Season

AK’s College Football Shots

 The bowl season was packed with teams that refused to lay down late in the game

William Shakespeare thrived off of drama.

His artistic touch swayed audiences in one direction, while unraveling plot twists left viewers in awe when it was all said and done.

Upon reviewing the bowl games, it would not surprise many if Shakespeare scripted some himself, as the nation saw a handful of teams make late-game comebacks to win.

Glancing back at least season, only two games featured teams overcome deficits of eight or more points in the late stages: the first and the last. Colorado State opened up the postseason by outscoring the Cougars of Washington State by 11 in the fourth to win 48-45, while the National Championship game saw Florida State overcome Auburn 34-31 after trailing by eight after three quarters.

A little luck never hurts during Bowl Season.

A little luck never hurts during Bowl Season.

While we have learned that motivation levels of bowl teams are ever so real, coaching changes drastically effect the play of certain teams, and the SEC is somewhat human, fans have also learned something themselves.

It is never too late for a team to wow an audience.

While some have it fresh in their minds over the New Year’s weekend, I recall late-game heroics happening well before Christmas time.

The Miami Beach Bowl dished out a hint of how the postseason would unfold when Brigham Young and Memphis met.

In a game that featured over 100 points and extra time, the Tigers and Cougars exchanged blows immediately when the ball left the tee at the start, and both teams in blue spoiled the nation with offense in bunches.

Neither really pulled away, until Memphis blanked BYU 14-0 in the third, taking a 38-28 lead.

BYU had other plans, however, as they regained the lead, outscoring Memphis 17-0, until a last-minute drive saw the Tigers tie it up.

Memphis would eventually win in the second overtime, and anyone remotely interested in college football had to be rooting for such finishes in the future.

They got their wish not two days later on Christmas Eve.

Traditionally, children get the chance to open up one of their gifts the day before Christmas. A small prize before the fun begins, if you may. College football fans also received a nice little treat before Santa arrived.

The Popeyes Bahama Bowl between Western Kentucky and Central Michigan looked to be getting out of hand by the third quarter. Football fanatics may as well had turned the television off to get ready for Christmas Eve festivities.

The Chippewas begged viewers to stay. Another plot twist.

Leading 49-14 after three, Western Kentucky had the Bahamas Bowl wrapped up. Christmas paper, scotch tape, bow and all.

Central Michigan would eventually score five, count it FIVE times in the last quarter, their final touchdown an 80-yard pass play with multiple laterals, to cut the deficit to one.

The Chippewas, deciding the momentum was in their favor, attempted a fade route to win the game. Instead, they saw a 34-0 fourth quarter go for naught, and a long flight back to Michigan with nothing but a participation trophy.

Cook and the Spartans completed the comeback.

Cook and the Spartans completed the comeback.

Michigan State rung in the New Year with a comeback of their own in the Cotton Bowl, matching up against the Baylor Bears.

“Baylor, like TCU, is showing the nation they belong in the playoff!”

The common phrase heard among broadcasters and social media after the third quarter.

Apparently head coach Art Briles began the New Year festivities a quarter too early.

Leading 41-21 with 11 minutes to play, what could possibly go wrong.

The Baylor Bears brought Murphy’s Law to life.

For those who do not recall, Murphy’s Law states, “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”

Anyone who doubted the theory was in for a reality check, as Sparty made three trips down the field for touchdowns in the fourth quarter, eventually holding down the Baylor offense with only a few ticks left on the clock.

Michigan State would stun the Bears 42-41 in one of the craziest games in bowl game history.

Speaking of bowl history, how about the Houston Cougars?

Another team trailing late in the fourth, the Pittsburgh Panthers and running back Jon Conner did whatever, whenever they wanted to.

Until the fourth quarter.

Am I repeating myself?

A 31-6 lead apparently is not safe in college football, even with only 11 minutes to go.

After a Houston touchdown, Pittsburgh marched right down the field and tacked on three, increasing the lead to 34-13.

The Houston Cougars now own the largest fourth quarter comeback ever during Bowl Season.

The Houston Cougars now own the largest fourth quarter comeback ever during Bowl Season.

What most viewers perceived as a garbage touchdown, Houston’s touchdown to make it 34-20 would not be their last.

How about this: onside kick, touchdown, onside kick, touchdown, forget the extra-point, two-point conversion, success.

The 25-point blown lead was the largest in bowl history, and Houston wiped every then-smile from the Pittsburgh sideline, and the Cougars pulling off the impossible made this year’s bowl season unimaginable.

Drama. Plot twists. Gaping mouths. Somewhere up above, Shakespeare is still salivating over this theatrical piece that is college football.


FanRag Sports Wants to Know:

 What were the top moments from Bowl Season?

Will Ohio State or Oregon win the College Football Championship?

Which conference was the most impressive during Bowl Season?

Which conference was the most disappointing during Bowl Season?

Is a four-team College Football Playoff enough?

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