|TOP 12 BOWL GAMES||TOP 12 BOWL GAME PERFORMANCES|
Iowa State 37, Pittsburgh 29
Iowa State was making its first bowl appearance since 1978 and its first as a member of the Big 12 Conference. After losing its four previous bowl games, defeating Pittsburgh capped one of the greatest seasons in school history. Sage Rosenfels threw for four touchdowns as Iowa State finished the year 9-3.
Kansas State 35, Tennessee 21
A victory over a high profile opponent in a high profile bowl game was a significant achievement for Kansas State and coach Bill Snyder. The win over Tennessee – which had won six consecutive games – gave the Wildcats a 10-3 record. One of those losses was a 27-24 loss to Oklahoma, the eventual national champions, in the Big 12 Championship game.
Kansas State's Michael Bishop
Finishing as the runner-up in the 1998 Heisman Trophy voting was made possible when Michael Bishop helped Kansas State to a 35-18 victory over Syracuse in the 1997 Fiesta Bowl. The Wildcats finished 11-1 with the convincing defeat of the 14th-ranked Orangemen. Bishop passed for 317 yards and four touchdowns while gaining 77 yards rushing and scoring another TD.
Texas' Ricky Williams
A season that included becoming the all-time rushing leader in college football and winning the Heisman Trophy was capped perfectly by Texas running back Ricky Williams. Facing Mississippi State in the Cotton Bowl, Williams overcame a defense stacked to stop the run by gaining 203 yards on 30 carries. His 37-yard scoring run sparked a 24-point third quarter that helped the Longhorns secure a 38-11 victory.
Oklahoma 13, Florida State 2
In Bob Stoops' second year, Oklahoma rolled to an undefeated season capped with a defensive masterpiece. Despite being ranked No. 1, the Sooners were underdogs to the defending national champions. A stifling defensive effort produced OU's first national championship since 1985 and the Big 12's first title in the BCS era.
Texas 38, Michigan 37
In a precursor to its national championship in Pasadena the next year, Texas closed out its season with an 11-1 record. Quarterback Vince Young ran for four touchdowns and drove the Longhorns into position for the game-winning field goal. After Michigan called two timeouts, senior Dusty Mangum, a former walk-on, made a 37-yard field goal as time expired.
Iowa State's Sage Rosenfels
A big reason for the first bowl victory in Iowa State history was the performance by quarterback Sage Rosenfels. He completed 23 of 34 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns as the Cyclones defeated Pittsburgh 37-29 in the Insight Bowl. The victory also capped a 9-3 season for Iowa State.
Oklahoma's defense/linebacker Torrance Marshall
Florida State, led by Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Chris Weinke, entered the game averaging 42 points and 549 yards per game. Oklahoma's defense, led by linebacker Torrance Marshall, held the Seminoles without an offensive point. Marshall helped set the defensive tone with an interception in the first quarter.
Oklahoma State 34, Alabama 31
Alabama was playing in its 54th bowl game (the most of any team) and hoping to avoid a rare losing season, while Oklahoma State was seeking to finish with a winning record. The Cowboys won the matchup of 6-6 teams when Jason Ricks made a 27-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining.
Texas Tech 44, Minnesota 41 (OT)
When his team trailed by 28 points at halftime, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach told his players they could make history. It took a 31-point deficit – 38-7 with 7:47 remaining in the third quarter – for the opportunity to spark a comeback. Graham Harrell threw for 445 yards as the Red Raiders set a bowl record for biggest comeback. Shannon Woods' 3-yard touchdown run in overtime clinched it.
Texas Tech's Graham Harrell
When Texas Tech trailed Minnesota by 31 points midway through the third quarter of the 2006 Insight Bowl, the idea of a Red Raiders victory seemed unlikely. However, sophomore quarterback Graham Harrell said after the game, "We knew we were going to win." Harrell was named MVP after throwing for 445 yards and two touchdowns as Texas Tech set an NCAA record for biggest comeback in a bowl game.
Texas quarterback Vince Young
In the previous year's Rose Bowl, Vince Young led Texas to a thrilling 38-37 victory over Michigan. With defending champion Southern California being heavy favorites, the Longhorns relied on the multi-talented Young to produce another victory in Pasadena. Young passed for 267 yards and ran for 192 more.
Texas 41, Southern California 38
The Trojans were the defending BCS national champions and had been No. 1 all season. Texas was ranked No. 2 all season and considered the underdog. In one of the most impressive and clutch performances in college football history, Longhorns quarterback Vince Young led UT to the victory. He scored the game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds remaining on an 8-yard run.
Kansas 24, Virginia Tech 21
Kansas had made two previous trips to the Orange Bowl and had lost both. The two teams entered with 11-1 records, but the Jayhawks' selection as an at-large team had generated controversy. Kansas proved it belonged as quarterback Todd Reesing threw for 227 yards and his 2-yard run after a KU interception provided the winning points.
Kansas' Aqib Talib
Being a defensive player named most valuable player of bowl game is a neat trick. Kansas corner back Aqib Talib did just that. His 60-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Jayhawks an early 7-0 lead on Virginia Tech and they went on to post a 24-21 victory. That play helped set the tone as KU scored 17 points off turnovers and limited the Hokies to 306 total yards.
Texas' Colt McCoy
The career of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy has several highlights and one of the best involved the Longhorns' 24-21 victory over Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. UT entered the fourth quarter with a 17-6 lead but the Buckeyes scored 15 consecutive points to go ahead 21-17. McCoy, who would complete 41 of 58 for 414 yards, drove Texas to the winning touchdown – a 26-yard completion to Quan Cosby with 16 seconds remaining.
TCU 21, Wisconsin 19
Since being left out when the Big 12 Conference was formed in the mid-1990s, TCU clawed and scraped to gain recognition for its football program. The Horned Frogs, then members of the Mountain West Conference, proved they had arrived on the national stage by defeating Wisconsin. Andy Dalton passed for a touchdown and ran for another to spark TCU's triumph.
Baylor 67, Washington 56
The Alamo Bowl was thrilled to have the Heisman Trophy winner. As it turned out, Baylor's Robert Griffin III was just part of an offensive extravaganza. Bears running back Terrance Ganaway rushed for 200 yards and five touchdowns. The game set a bowl record for most combined points in a regulation game and most combined total offense (1,397).
Oklahoma's Landry Jones
During the Bob Stoops Era, Oklahoma has had numerous outstanding performances in bowl games. Landry Jones followed up a solid performance in the Big 12 Championship game with an outstanding effort in the Sooners' 48-20 victory over Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl. Jones completed 34 of 49 passes for 429 yards and three touchdowns.
Baylor's offense/running back Terrance Ganaway
The 2011 Alamo Bowl showcased Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III but the real star of the game was the Bears' unstoppable offense. Senior running back Terrance Ganaway finished with 200 yards rushing and five touchdowns in Baylor's 67-56 victory over Washington that set bowl records for most combined points in a regulation game and combined total offense.
West Virginia 70, Clemson 33
The final score and the offensive explosion illustrated exactly what West Virginia would be bringing to the Big 12. In its final game as a member of the Big East Conference, the Mountaineers stampeded Clemson. West Virginia set bowl records for most points in a game and in a half (49).
Oklahoma State 41, Stanford 38 (OT)
The greatest season in Oklahoma State history finished in thrilling fashion. The Big 12 Conference champions received outstanding performances from quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon to force overtime against Stanford. Quinn Sharp's chip-shot field goal provided the winning margin and capped a 12-1 season.
West Virginia's Tavon Austin
Tavon Austin has had several highlight-worthy moments during West Virginia's first season in the Big 12. The foundation for this season for the Mountaineers' wide receiver/running back/return specialist was put in place during the 2012 Orange Bowl. Austin set a bowl record with four touchdown receptions as the Mountaineers set a record for most points in a bowl game.
Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon
One of the most potent pass-catch combos in Big 12 history, Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon closed out their careers together in fitting fashion. In helping the Cowboys cap the most successful season in school history, Weeden completed 30 of 43 passes for 399 yards and three touchdowns – all of which were caught by Blackmon, who had nine catches for 186 yards.