A New Year’s Day (observed) Afternoon in Sports
By Andrew Harner aka Intelliracer
While New Year’s Day is typically one of the best sports days of the year, it had to wait until Monday, Jan. 2, 2012. But it was worth the wait until the calendar’s read “New Year’s Day (observed).”
A true sports nut’s remote control might not think the slate of games was so great, but the day had plenty of highlights to satisfy a fan’s hunger.
Take a journey from a guy with a day off of work, who just happened to catch as many moments from all the day’s action as he could.
*The day started off with Case Keenum adding to his NCAA records as he helped the Cougars build a 17-0 first-quarter lead against Penn State in the Ticket City Bowl.
*Meanwhile, three games kicked off at 1 p.m., and none of them disappointed.
*In the Capital One Bowl, Nebraska scored quick on South Carolina, but the Gamecocks blocked the PAT and returned it for a safety. The scoreboard read the unusual score of 6-2.
Shortly after, Georgia earned a safety to go ahead, 2-0, in the Outback Bowl.
*At halftime, Keenum had thrown for 380 yards – including a 75-yard touchdown to Patrick Edwards – to help Houston build a 24-7 lead.
*Florida and Ohio State got things tied at seven in the first half of the Gator Bowl, but then there was more excitement at the Capital One Bowl, as a red zone fumble by Nebraska took away a great scoring chance for the Huskers, which instead became a 78-yard strike to Alshon Jeffrey of South Carolina and a missed 20-yard field goal, leaving Nebraska still ahead, 13-9.
*Nebraska again was driving toward the end zone, but Taylor Martinez threw an interception for the first time in four games, with 38 seconds left in the first half. South Carolina had a long field, but just as some clock mis-management looked as if it would cost the Gamecocks a chance to score, Jeffrey hauled in a hail-mary play and dove to the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown. It was South Carolina leading, 16-13, at halftime.
*In the final 3:06 of the Outback Bowl’s first half saw Georgia get an 80-yard touchdown from Aaron Murray to Tavarres King, and a 92-yard punt return by Brandon Boykin to put the Bulldogs ahead, 16-0.
*Penn State got a 69-yard touchdown from Rob Bolden to Justin Brown to get within two scores, at 27-14.
*Nebraska got to red zone on a run by Taylor Martinez, but the drive was stalled as the ball was moved back to the 16-yard line on a bad pass and a penalty, resulting in a rare field goal miss.
*A blocked punt by Florida resulted in a touchdown, that gave the Gators a 21-10 lead.
*Two potential first-round NFL draft picks in Jeffrey and Alfonzo Dennard were ejected after throwing punches at each other in the Capital One Bowl.
*At 3:30 p.m., the annual NHL Winter Classic tipped off in windy Philadelphia, pitting the Flyers against the New York Rangers.
*Michigan State got a pick-six from Darqueze Dennard but was unable to convert a two-point conversion, and trailed by two with 1:47 left in the third period.
*Houston defeats Penn State, 30-14.
*Tavarres King sets the Georgia school record with 205 receiving yards on a play that set-up a Georgia touchdown with 6:44 left in the game. Bulldogs lead, 27-20, after a two-point conversion.
*Florida wins, 24-17.
*South Carolina wins, 30-13.
*A tipped pass gives Georgia an interception with 3:56 left in the game.
*With 1:55 left in the game, Michigan State gets possession back to set-up what is certainly to be a wild finish.
*Kirk Cousins executes an amazing drive to get a touchdown for Michigan State, but it was correctly reviewed and ruled that the player was down at the 1-yard line.
*It didn’t matter as Le’Veon Bell scores on a 1-yard touchdown run. The PAT ties the game at 27. The game will head into overtime.
*Opens cheese and meat tray
*Georgia gets an interception in the first overtime period, and on offense miss a 43-yard field goal on third down.
*Georgia gets a 46-yard field goal in the second overtime, and Michigan State answers with a 35-yarder to send it to a third overtime.
*In the third overtime period, Michigan State got a field goal, and Georgia had a 47-yarder blocked to give Michigan State the 33-30 win.
*Later in the night, Oregon and Wisconsin will battle in what I expect will be a run-heavy Rose Bowl, and the final big sporting event of the day is the Fiesta Bowl between two one-loss, national-championship-wannabes in Stanford and Oklahoma State.
At least my remote will get a break by then.
All-in-all, it was a great afternoon of relaxation from a busy work schedule. Though I did so some actual work during commercials to catch up from a holiday weekend, there’s nothing like some football (and channel surfing) to get away from it all.
Of all the great plays from the afternoon, I expected the best to be the hail-mary catch by Jeffrey, but in the end, it’s hard to beat the finish of a triple-overtime thriller – even if it is just a bunch of field goals.
So thanks Sparty. For a nice afternoon, and for 19 confidence points in Bowl Pick ‘Em (though I guess I should thank the Gamecocks from 30 confidence points, too).
Happy New Year all!
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