Tag Archive for Game Recap

Oklahoma vs Iowa: Live Scores, Highlights and Analysis of the Insight Bowl

Updated Score: Oklahoma 0, Iowa 0 

If the Insight Bowl had a theme this year, it would be redemption.

While it’s not the most glamourous bowl in the world, it is still an accomplishment to make. However, for the two teams pitted against each other, the Oklahoma Sooners and the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Insight Bowl has to feel like anything but an accomplishment.

After starting the season out with the No. 1 ranking, the Sooners were have to be disappointed with a fourth place finish in the Big 12. Behind uncharacteristic play from their defense, the Sooners dropped games to Texas Tech, Baylor and conference champion Oklahoma State. 

The Texas Tech loss proved to be one of, if not the worst loss in the Bob Stoops era (1999-present) of the program. It was only the third home loss for the Sooners in the last 12 years. 

To make matters worse for the Sooners, the injury bug has cost them many key players. Out for the Insight Bowl is starting running back Dominique Whaley, starting wide receivers Ryan Broyles and Jaz Reynolds, fullback Aaron Ripkowski and lineman Adam Shead. 

The Hawkeyes aren’t strangers to misfortunes this season, either. I’m sure their 7-5 record isn’t exactly what they had planned. Only two years ago, the Hawkeyes were 11-2 and winning a BCS Bowl, but back-to-back 7-5 regular seasons have kept the Hawkeyes out of the spotlight. 

One consistent aspect of the Hawkeyes program this year has been sophomore running back Marcus Coker. Coker has nearly 1,400 rushing yards on the season to go along with 15 rushing touchdowns. He’s also been a weapon outside of the backfield, catching 21 passes on the year. 

Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, Coker will be sitting out of this game for breaking an unspecified rule. That puts most of the pressure on Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg, who has also had a great season contrary to what his team’s record may show. 

Iowa hasn’t faced an offense quite like Oklahoma’s, but to be fair, Oklahoma’s offense is rather depleted. Quarterback Landry Jones hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in three games since Broyles went down with his season-ending injury. 

This should be a better-than-expected game, with two depleted teams leaving it all on the field. After both teams had disappointing seasons, it will be exciting to see which team shows up with more guts, more heart and more will to win. 

This is the Insight Bowl—a time for redemption. 

2011 Military Bowl: Is Air Force’s Final-Minutes Conversion a Gutsy Call or Dumb

In a game that saw 35 first-quarter points, Air Force never led during the entirety of the 2011 Military Bowl against Toledo, and a futile attempt to take the lead for the first time during the final minute backfired terribly.

In a thrill-a-minute game, the Falcons were forced to constantly respond to touchdown after touchdown by the Rockets. When Air Force again tied the game—this time with less than one minute remaining in the fourth quarter—Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun had decided he had seen enough. It was time to take the lead, once and for all.

Rather than kicking the tying extra point, the Falcons faked to an option run play.

But as can often happen in such circumstances, a fumble spelled doom for the Falcons.

Toledo maintained a slim one-point lead, and a simple recovery of the ensuing kickoff capped off a 42-41 bowl victory for Toledo, it’s first since the 2005 GoDaddy.com Bowl against UTEP. It was also Toledo’s first nine-win season since 2005, while Air Force finishes with a 7-6 record—worst since 2006 (4-8).

Now, the inevitable debate will begin about Calhoun’s decision. Should he have opted for such a gamble?

Such decisions are often made in the spur of the moment, but Calhoun has proven to be a cold, calculating coach on the Air Force sidelines.

Consider the following: Air Force had never led in the game, and had been chasing Toledo all day. Additionally, the Falcons had already allowed 42 points, raising some serious questions about their defense’s ability to rein in a team averaging 42.2 points per game on the season.

If Air Force had kicked the extra point and played for overtime, there’s some legitimate doubt as to whether or not the Falcons stood any better of a chance than a one shot, all-or-nothing play.

For Toledo, the much-needed bowl win wasn’t just a victory for the Rockets, but will likely be celebrated throughout the Mid-American Conference.

For a conference that is frequently viewed by many of us as one of, if not the weakest in the nation, a big bowl win over a pretty good Air Force team in an exciting game is a much needed boost for fans of the MAC.

The MAC has had its share of problems over the years, and fan apathy in the 13-team conference is at an all-time high. Earlier this season, a MAC game between Eastern Michigan and Ball State drew just 3,288 fans—well below crowds seen at most FCS and Division II games. The conference has been hailed as everything from a “no defense” league to a repository for Big Ten rejects.

But Toledo showed that isn’t the case against Air Force, scoring 42-or-more points for the eighth time this season. The win also gives the MAC their fourth team with nine or more wins this season.

In the end, perhaps another comeback was too much to ask of the young Air Force cadets. The Falcons had already come back from 14 points down—twice—to tie the game.

Should Calhoun simply ordered a simple extra-point kick? Would Air Force have fared better in overtime? We’ll never know.

But there is one thing that’s certain; had the conversion succeeded, Calhoun would have been trumped as one of the gutsiest Air Force football heroes.

2011 Holiday Bowl: Grading Texas’ 21-10 Win over Cal

Riding a tsunami of defensive effort, the No. 24 Texas Longhorns flexed their way to a 21-10 victory over the Cal Golden Bears in the 2011 Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl Wednesday night.

The first half proved to be a warm-up for the Manny Diaz-coached defense, as the Big 12′s top unit really settled in after the restart.

A rather uneventful first 30 minutes, save for the Jaxon Shipley-to-David Ash connection late in the second quarter, suddenly sprung into a defensive clinic as the Longhorns dominated after giving up an early touchdown in the third frame.

An impressive win for Texas brings the Horns to an 8-5 finish to their rebuilding year. The grades are in, and the report looks mighty impressive.

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