Round 1 Recaps

  #1 USC vs. #16 Wisconsin FINAL: USC 27-6 (BOX SCORE)

In front of a sold-out LA Coliseum crowd at the opening game of the CPS tournament, the top-seeded and topped ranked USC Trojans easily ousted the fading, fourth-seeded and 16th ranked Wisconsin Badgers to advance ahead in the West bracket. What at mid-season looked like a potential Rose or even Orange Bowl match-up, barely became a contest as the fading Badgers, losers of their previous two games by a combined 68 points, faded further. Proving that Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart may be blessed with too many weapons, the junior connected with senior tight end Alex Holmes for a 20 yard TD pass, Holmes first TD catch of the year, with 52 seconds left in the first quarter. Leinart then lit up one of the nation’s top defenses for two more scores and 265 yards on 23-32 passing. Sophomore running back LenDale White chipped in with 115 yards rushing on just 18 carries, while fellow sophomore Reggie Bush, also a Heisman Finalist gained 80 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown. The Trojan defense shined as well, limiting senior running back Anthony Davis to just 29 yards in his last collegiate game. The lone score for Wisconsin came on a 7 yard pass from sophomore quarterback John Stocco to junior wide receiver Brandon Williams with just 2:09 left in the game. A two-point conversion attempt failed. For the game, USC outgained the Badgers 446-246 yards. The Trojans will move forward to play #4 ranked, #2 seeded California (11-1), a team it defeated 23-17 on October 9th.
Player of the Game: Matt Leinart (23-32, 265 yards 3TDs 2 INTs)
  #4 California vs. #9 Virginia Tech FINAL: California 21-13 (BOX SCORE)

In the second game of the CPS tournament, Beamer ball lost out to Jeff Tedford’s surging running attack as the #4 ranked and second seeded Cal Bears snuck out with a victory and date with USC for the West region finals. In typical Virginia Tech fashion, the Hokies scored all of their 13 points on special teams with two field goals by sophomore Brandon Pace and a 52 yard punt return from freshman wide receiver Eddie Royal. Still, Virginia Tech was unable to move the ball effectively on the Bears’ underrated defense that saw both senior linebacker Sid Slater and junior linebacker Steve Kelly make two sacks, allowing Cal to gain complete control of the tempo of the game. The Bears used the clock wisely with a balanced attack and several spectacular runs from senior Doak Walker award finalist J.J. Arrington and his backfield counterpart freshman Marshawn Lynch. Arrington, who led the nation in rushing, finished with 179 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. Lynch, who averaged 9.1 yards per carry throughout the season, bettered Arrington with 102 yards on 14 carries for an average of 7.3 yards per carry. California junior quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not spectacular, but was still effective with 139 yards on 13-22 passing. Virginia Tech’s senior quarterback Bryan Randall was similarly unspectacular in his last game, but lacked the dominant running game. The Bears will move forward to play #1 ranked, #1 seeded USC (13-0), a team Cal lost to 23-17 on October 9th at USC. Player of the Game: JJ Arrington (179 yards rushing, 2 TDs)
  #6 Utah vs. #14 Miami FINAL: Utah 42-21 (BOX SCORE)

At a cold, blistry Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, the sixth ranked and top-seeded University of Utah Utes answered any questions about their true abilities with a dominant performance against the 14th ranked Miami Hurricanes. The first quarter started off slow, with just one touchdown coming on a seven yard pass from senior quarterback Brock Berlin to junior wide receiver Roscoe Parrish, but the game picked up quickly after players adjusted to the weather. Utah junior quarterback and Heisman finalist Alex Smith started the big-play scoring early in the second quarter with a 39 yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Parris Warren. The two teams battled back-and-forth some more and headed to halftime with Utah winning 17-14. The Utes then reeled off 18 unanswered points before giving up a 21 yard touchdown reception to Miami senior running back Frank Gore. An Alex Smith TD run with four minutes remaining sealed the fate of the Hurricanes though. Smith finished with 201 yards passing and 40 yards rushing for a total of four touchdowns. Parrish, a prime player of the game nominee had he been on the victorious side, ended with 174 yards receiving on 8 catches. Utah sophomore wide receiver Steve Savoy trumped a myriad of possible candidates from Urban Meyer’s balanced offense with 99 yards receiving and two touchdowns on the day. Utah will move forward to face fellow non-BCS conference foe #8 ranked and third seeded Louisville in the Mountain region finals.
Player of the Game: Steve Savoy (7 receptions, 99 yards, 2 TDs)
  #10 Boise State vs. #8 Louisville FINAL: Louisville 45-42 (BOX SCORE)

The “Liberty Bowl” showdown lived up to its billing as the most exciting bowl game of the first round as the worse seeded but higher ranked Louisville Cardinals, the nation’s top scoring offense, stole a victory from the grasps of the Boise State Broncos, second in the country in scoring offense, on the famous blue turf. With just nine seconds remaining in the game and down 38-42, Cardinals senior quarterback Stefan LeFors, the nation’s highest rated passer, floated the ball over the outstretched arms of Broncos defenders to fellow senior Joshua Tinch for the winning 13 yard touchdown. Controlled by phenomenal quarterbacks and systems, this game featured a total of 699 yards passing and nine touchdowns through the air. Louisville senior wide receiver J.R. Russell, and Boise State wide receivers T.J. Acree and Drisan James each had over 100 yards receiving. And, Bronco’s sophomore quarterback Jared Zabransky, who threw for 358 yards and five touchdowns on 22-31 passing, bettered LeFors, 341, 4, 28-41, in every category, including player of the game, but the final score. In total, Louisville out-gained BSU 508 to 473 yards in total offense, leaving elated and drained with a victory. Louisville will move forward to face fellow non-BCS conference foe #6 ranked and top seeded Utah in the Mountain region finals.
Player of the Game: Jared Zabransky (22-31, 358, 5 TDs, 1 INT)
  #3 Auburn vs. #20 Pittsburgh FINAL: Pittsburgh 27-23 (BOX SCORE)

After putting together one of the best seasons from any team, third ranked and top seeded Auburn earned the right to play in the playoffs and to face one of the weakest teams that qualified. The beauty of the playoffs though, is that any team that gets there is alive and that the best teams will be able to prove their worth on the field. Auburn could not even do that at home against the apparently overlooked, 20th ranked and fourth seeded Pittsburgh Panthers. Even after a relatively even first three quarters, ahead 23-21 with under a minute to play, Auburn had to feel comfortable with its chances of advancing on in the tournament. Then, Pitt junior quarterback Tyler Palko led the Panthers down the field and connected with sophomore wide receiver Greg Lee for an 18 yard touchdown with just 52 seconds remaining on the fourth quarter clock. It was all over for the Tigers; the game, the season, the dream, the chance that they wanted and needed. Over. Senior running backs Carnell “Cadillac” Williams and Ronnie Brown ran for a respectable 131 and 83 yards respectively. Senior quarterback Jason Campbell threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns. And even sophomore standout wide receiver Courtney Taylor tallied 111 yards receiving. But, it was all for naught. Auburn’s highly-touted defense proved to be no match for Palko, who had thrown for 300+ yards in five previous games, and Walt Harris’ passing attack. Ultimately, Palko was even more efficient than he was outstanding, throwing for 234 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on 18-28 passing. Pittsburgh will move forward in the Southeast region to face 11th ranked and third seeded LSU in the only battle of remaining first round underdogs.
Player of the Game: Tyler Palko (18-28, 234 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs)
  #7 Georgia vs. #11 LSU FINAL: LSU 24-3 (BOX SCORE)

In a rematch of a game dominated by Georgia 45-16 between the hedges on October 2nd, LSU exacted its revenge on the Bulldogs with a blowout victory of its own. The Bulldogs were only able to muster 203 total yards against senior defensive back Corey Webster and Nick Saban’s stout defense. Offensively, the Tigers set the tone with 91 yards rushing across four ball carriers and ten points in the first quarter alone. Alternating quarterbacks and keying off the defensive intensity, LSU controlled the clock and kept the game consistently out of the reach of the Bulldogs. For the game, sophomore running back Alley Broussard rushed for 147 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Joining Broussard in the backfield, junior running back Joseph Addai rushed for 41 yards on 6 carries and senior quarterback Marcus Randall carried the ball eight times for 49 yards and a touchdown. LSU out-gained Georgia 399-203 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per rush and completing 16 of 19 passes. Another rematch for LSU, this time with Auburn, a team it lost to 10-9 in a defensive battle, loomed, but was squelched by the surprising victory by Pittsburgh. The Tigers will move forward to face 20th ranked and fourth seeded Pitt in Baton Rouge for the Southeast region championship.
Player of the Game: Alley Broussard (147 yards rushing, 1 TD)
  #2 Oklahoma vs. #13 Iowa FINAL: Oklahoma 38-10 (BOX SCORE)

Another disappointing performance for the Big Ten conference manifested into the widest margin of victory of the first round as the 2nd ranked and top seeded Oklahoma Sooners ran away from the 13th ranked and fourth seeded Iowa Hawkeyes in Norman, Oklahoma. Fans in Iowa City were actually excited to be in the game at halftime after pulling within four points on a Drew Tate to Ed Hinkel 11 yard touchdown pass with 1:12 left in the half. Then, Bob Stoops’ halftime speech lit a fire under the Sooners and Oklahoma never looked back, scoring 24 consecutive points on one touchdown pass from senior quarterback and Heisman finalist Jason White to Travis Wilson, a field goal from junior Trey DiCarlo and two touchdowns from freshman Heisman finalist running back Adrian Peterson. In his last collegiate game, Hinkel led the Hawkeyes with 109 yards and the touchdown in the losing effort. Oklahoma’s defense was otherwise dominant, holding the bullish Iowa offense to a mere 255 total yards. The Heisman duo was superb with Peterson gaining 173 yards on 34 carries and White tallying 196 yards and TDs on 18-28 passing. The Sooners’ dominance included 15/17 on 3rd down conversions and a 9:52 margin in time of possession. Oklahoma will move forward to rematch #5 ranked and second seeded Texas, a team it beat 12-0 at the Cotton Bowl on October 9th.
Player of the Game: Adrian Peterson (172 yards rushing, 3 TDs)
  #5 Texas vs. #12 Michigan FINAL: Texas 35-21 (BOX SCORE)

The fifth ranked and second seeded Texas Longhorns completed the sweep of Big Ten teams with a double-digit victory over 12th ranked and fourth seeded Michigan in Austin. Longhorn junior quarterback Vince Young and senior running back Cedric Benson maintained complete control over the pace and momentum of the game with a combined 257 yards and four touchdowns. For the game, Texas out-rushed Michigan 271-142, helping the Longhorns to a 13:34 margin in time of possession. The Wolverines freshmen duo of running back Mike Hart and quarterback Chad Henne was not so dynamic. Hart held up his end of the deal with 153 yards rushing and a touchdown; but, Henne was less than impressive with 188 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception on just 15-29 passing. Henne’s immobility proved fatal to Michigan’s offensive chances as he was sacked three times for minus-eleven yards. Benson must now prepare for another showdown with fellow Doak Walker Award finalist Adrian Peterson when the Longhorns get their second chance at the Sooners. Texas will move forward to rematch #2 ranked and top seeded Oklahoma in Norman for the Southwest regional final. Early word out of Mack Brown’s camp is that the Longhorns will attempt to score points in this game.
Player of the Game: Cedric Benson (171 yards , 2 TDs)