Ohio State now has even more pressure when they face Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl Tuesday Night - save the Big Ten. After starting the bowl season 2-0, the Big Ten went 0-5 yesterday, marking what could be the single-worst bowl day in conference history. OK, that might be a stretch, but when you look at it, it might not be. Here's a breakdown of the Bowl-Game Results for the Big Ten teams during New Year's Day action:
Gator Bowl: Mississippi State 52 - Michigan 14
The Wolverines led 14-10 after the first quarter. MSU had Michigan right where they wanted them.
Chris Relf connected on 18-of-23 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns and added another on the ground as 21st- ranked Mississippi State thoroughly dismantled Michigan, 52-14, in the Gator Bowl.
Relf added 39 yards rushing while Vick Ballard carried 19 times for 74 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs (9-4), who set a Gator Bowl record for points in closing out their season by winning eight of their last 10 games.
"I told Chris during the warmups I thought he was going to play his best game of the season," Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said about Relf, the game's MVP. "I thought he did a great job of managing the game."
Denard Robinson threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns on 27-of-41 efficiency and carried 11 times for 59 yards for the Wolverines (7-6), who lost their final three games of the campaign.
Robinson finished the season with 1,702 yards on the ground to set the NCAA single-season rushing record for quarterbacks. He also accounted for a school- record 4,272 yards of total offense.
Roy Roundtree made nine receptions for 53 yards and a score for Michigan, which fell to 19-21 all-time in bowl games.
"All in all, we didn't play as well as we could play and they played extremely well," embattled Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said. "They made plays and we didn't. They tackled better than us, they caught better than us and they ran better than us."
Capitol One Bowl - Alabama 49 - Michigan State 7
Michigan's 38 point loss to Mississippi State was one thing. They weren't ranked. Michigan State, on the other hand, was 9th in the polls and spent much of the last month or so complaining about being left out of the BCS. Their play on Saturday - being blown out by Alabama by 42 points - appeared as thought the BCS snub was the right call.
Michigan native Mark Ingram erupted for two first-half touchdown runs. Ingram -- whose father Mark Ingram Sr. played at Michigan State -- didn't play most of the second half after suffering a high ankle sprain but it wasn't before he picked up 59 yards on 12 carries and had one catch for 30 yards.
Greg McElroy completed an efficient 13-of-17 passes for 220 yards and a touchdown for the Crimson Tide (10-3), who redeemed themselves from a somewhat disappointing year that included a regular season finale loss to SEC rival Auburn.
"I'm proud of the way the players played," said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. "We're not satisfied with where we ended up, you know. We compete to win the SEC championship. First of all, we wanted to win our division and we didn't. We didn't get the opportunity to play in the SEC championship game and that's our goal, so that's what we want to accomplish."
Marquis Maze led all receivers with four grabs for 77 yards and a touchdown, while Julio Jones hauled in three passes for 49 yards and rushed for a score. Eddie Lacy finished with 86 yards and two touchdowns on only five carries, while Trent Richardson also had 42 yards rushing and a TD.
Kirk Cousins threw for 120 yards on 10-of-18 passes but was intercepted once for the Spartans (11-2), who finished the season in a three-way tie for the Big Ten title, but were denied a BCS Bowl bid by losing a tiebreaker with Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Cousins hurt his ribs in the third quarter and did not return while the Spartans cycled through three different quarterbacks. Bennie Fowler scored the lone touchdown for the Spartans on a pass from third-string quarterback Keith Nichol. The MSU offense ended with a dismal minus-48 yards rushing.
"I would say our quarterbacks got hit between 15 and 20 times easily today," said Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio. "If that's happening, it takes effect on you after a while. You can see they knocked both quarterbacks out. We need to do establish a running game to take the heat off of that. You know, they won up front. That's the difference. That's the difference. You know, you have to win up front if you're going to play football."
That's a combined 80 point beat down for the teams from Michigan. Ouch.
TicketCity Bowl - Texas Tech 45 - Northwestern 38
Not glamourous, of course, but a New Year's Day bowl game nonetheless. Northwestern trailed 24-6 at halftime before trying to make a game of it. Taylor Potts threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns, leading Texas Tech to a 45-38 victory over Northwestern in the inaugural TicketCity Bowl at the Cotton Bowl.
Potts also ran for a touchdown for the Red Raiders (8-5), who have won seven of their last nine bowl games. Eric Stephens ran 14 times for 126 yards and a touchdown, and Lyle Leong caught 10 passes for 118 yards and a pair of TDs in the victory.
"I had pretty good protection today, and I will be the first to say that," Potts said. "Playing behind those five guys all season was surly a privilege. They got so much better from the time we played SMU when I got hit eight or nine times, and I thought it was going to be a long season, to playing in the bowl game now where I didn't get touched one time. So, that was really nice. All season having the protection they put up and them giving me the time to throw to the receivers we have."
Texas Tech held a 22-point lead early in the third and had it whittled down to seven following a fierce Northwestern rally. The Wildcats had a final chance to tie the game, but the Red Raiders' defense recorded an interception on a final Hail Mary play.
Kain Colter ran for 105 yards and two scores for the Wildcats (7-6), who are still in search of their first bowl win since 1949. Since its victory in the 1949 Rose Bowl, Northwestern has lost each of its next eight bowl appearances.
"Throughout the week our coaches had a great game plan to show Texas Tech some different looks and I thought we did a great job at that," Colter said. "We kept them a little off guard. They gave me the opportunity to play some quarterback, running back and wide receiver so I enjoyed that and making some plays."
Outback Bowl - Florida 37 - Penn State 24
Ahmad Black's interception return for a touchdown in the final minute sealed a back-and-forth Outback Bowl, as Urban Meyer ended his successful tenure at Florida with a 37-24 victory over Penn State.
Meyer previously announced he was stepping down as Florida's head coach due to family reasons, and he fittingly bookended his six-year reign with Outback Bowl wins, this one coming against the all-time bowl wins leader in Joe Paterno.
Meyer finished his tenure at Florida with a 65-15 record. He is handing over the reins to former Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.
"It feels great because Will Muschamp is getting a good group of young men and on a positive note," Meyer said. "Will Muschamp is getting a football team that's going to have some bright eyes and ready to get to work."
Jordan Reed and John Brantley split time under center for Florida (8-5), with Reed tossing for 61 yards and adding 68 more on the ground. Brantley completed 6-of-13 passes for 41 yards while Omarius Hines and Mike Gillislee each rushed for a score.
Matt McGloin threw for 211 yards with a touchdown and added another score on the ground for Penn State (7-6), but the sophomore quarterback was intercepted five times.
After punting in Florida territory with just over four minutes left in regulation, the Nittany Lions, trailing 30-24, earned the ball back at their own 21 with 3:04 to go.
Evan Royster's 23-yard romp moved the ball into enemy territory, and another seven-yard gain by Penn State's all-time leading rusher gained the Florida 25. The comeback stopped there, as Black undercut a poorly-thrown ball at the 20 and raced up the left sideline unabated for the clinching touchdown.
Rose Bowl - TCU 21 - Wisconsin 19
Andy Dalton finished 15-of-23 for 219 yards and one touchdown as No. 3 TCU needed a late defensive stop to emerge with a 21-19 win over No. 4 Wisconsin at the Rose Bowl.
Dalton also added 28 yards and a score on nine rushes for the Horned Frogs (13-0), who once again made their case to be worthy of consideration for a BCS championship with their 27th win in their last 28 games.
"I think we played very hard. We knew coming into this ballgame that we were going to have to play more than just basic defense and there were times they pushed us around," said TCU head coach Gary Patterson. "But we found ways to make plays, and we were going to have to play them (coming) from behind."
Bart Johnson had a 23-yard TD reception and Luke Shivers' one-yard touchdown run proved to be the difference for TCU, which posted its first undefeated campaign since going 11-0 in 1938.
Scott Tolzien was 12-of-21 for 159 yards for the Badgers (11-2), who shared the Big Ten title with Ohio State and Michigan State but ended the year by having their seven-game win streak snapped.
Montee Ball ran for 132 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries and John Clay added 76 yards and a score on 11 totes for Wisconsin, which finished with double-digit wins for the fourth time in six seasons.
The Badgers finally got untracked as time ticked away in the fourth quarter. Taking over at their own 23 with 7:32 remaining and down by eight, Clay rushed for 14 yards on first down, then moved 30 yards to the TCU 33 on the next play. Lance Kendricks later picked up a first down on 3rd-and-6 to the 19-yard line with a 10-yard catch, and Clay forged a 1st-and-goal with a two-yard run on 3rd-and-1.
Two plays later, Ball scored from the four and it was 21-19 with two minutes remaining, but Tolzien's conversion pass was knocked down near the line of scrimmage by Tank Carder.
"That two-point play is something that's worked on," said Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema. "We had the chance to study TCU for the last three weeks and had a chance to get it in there, but we were defended by a nice read on the quarterback's eyes."
The ensuing onside kick was recovered just past the 40-yard line by TCU, which picked up a key first down with just over a minute remaining on a Waymon James five-yard rush to lock up the victory.
All told, the Big Ten lost to teams from the SEC, Big 12 and Mountain-West on New Year's Day and are now just 2-5 this Bowl season. Factor in soon-to-be Big Ten team Nebraska's loss to Washington and it looks even worse. Ohio State will not only be playing for themselves Tuesday night, but for the pride of their wounded conference as well.