Three Buckeyes earn spot on AP all-bowl team
While the college football season won’t officially end until Oregon and Ohio State play in the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship game, all 38 postseason games with "bowl" in the title have been completed.
So no reason to wait: Let’s reveal our all-bowl team in advance of Monday night’s championship game.
Plenty of running backs and receivers put up the kinds of numbers that warranted a spot on the team, but there weren’t nearly as many memorable performances from tight ends. That’s why we decided to go with a 12-man offense featuring three running backs, three receivers and no tight ends.
Here are some of the players who didn’t make the cut: Georgia running back Nick Chubb (266 yards rushing in the Belk Bowl against Louisville); Baylor QB Pryce Petty (550 yards passing in the Cotton Bowl against Michigan State); Boise State receiver Thomas Sperbeck (12 catches for 199 yards in the Fiesta Bowl against Arizona; and Florida defensive end Dante Fowler (three sacks in the Birmingham Bowl against East Carolina).
The competition was tough, but after 38 games here are the players chosen the best of the best by a panel of AP writers who cover college football.
Marcus Mariota, Oregon: Threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 62 yards and one more score while outplaying Florida State’s Jameis Winston in a Rose Bowl matchup of Heisman Trophy winners.
Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State: Rushed for a Sugar Bowl-record 231 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 11.5 yards per carry in the Buckeyes’ 42-35 upset of Alabama.
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin: Ran for 251 yards and three touchdowns in an Outback Bowl overtime 34-31 victory over Auburn and came up 41 yards short of matching Barry Sanders FBS single-season record.
Kareem Hunt, Toledo: Ran for 271 yards and tied an all-bowl record with five rushing touchdowns in a GoDaddy Bowl 63-44 win against Arkansas State.
Titus Davis, Central Michigan: Caught six passes for 137 yards and scored four touchdowns in Central Michigan’s 49-48 loss to Western Kentucky in the Bahamas Bowl. His final touchdown capped the play of the bowl season, CMU’s Hail Mary lateral. Davis went the final 15 yards as time expired on a play that covered 75 yards and included three laterals.
Deontay Greenberry, Houston: Caught two touchdown passes in the final four minutes of Houston’s 35-34 Armed Forces Bowl victory over Pittsburgh. He had a 25-yard touchdown catch with 59 seconds left, and then caught the decisive 2-point conversion pass.
Tommy Shuler, Marshall: Had 18 receptions for 185 yards and a touchdown in a 52-23 Boca Raton Bowl victory over Northern Illinois.
Taylor Decker, Ohio State: Anchored a line that helped Ohio State gain 537 yards against a vaunted Alabama defense.
Jacob Gilliam, Tennessee: Had a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and an injured left hand that was heavily wrapped, yet he still helped Tennessee score touchdowns on its first four possessions in a 45-28 TaxSlayer Bowl win over Iowa.
Jack Allen, Michigan State: Allen, who didn’t allow a sack all season, helped Michigan State gain 552 yards in a 42-41 Cotton Bowl triumph over Baylor.
Kyle Costigan, Wisconsin: Played through a leg injury and helped hold together an offensive line that was without its starting center, paving the way for a Wisconsin ground attack that rushed for 400 yards while averaging 7.4 yards per carry against Auburn.
Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech: Helped Georgia Tech set an Orange Bowl record with 452 yards rushing in a 49-34 victory over Mississippi State.
Houston Bates, Louisiana Tech: The Illinois transfer produced 4 sacks to help Louisiana Tech beat his former team 35-18 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Markus Golden, Missouri: Made 10 tackles – four behind the line of scrimmage – and had 1 sacks and forced a fumble to be the MVP of the Citrus Bowl in a 33-17 victory against Minnesota.
Chucky Hunter, TCU: Had five tackles – 1 for loss – and helped limit Mississippi to 9 yards rushing on 37 carries in TCU’s 42-3 Peach Bowl blowout.
Grady Jarrett, Clemson: Had 3 tackles for loss and forced a fumble in Clemson’s 40-6 Russell Athletic Bowl rout of Oklahoma.
Darron Lee, Ohio State: Made seven tackles – three for loss – and had two sacks against Alabama.
Jordan Pierce, Air Force: Made 10 tackles – three for loss – and had two sacks in a 38-24 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl victory over Western Michigan.
Martrell Spaight, Arkansas: Had two tackles for loss and helped limit Texas to 59 total yards in the Razorbacks’ 31-7 Texas Bowl victory.
Troy Hill, Oregon: With All-America cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu injured, Hill picked up the slack by making nine tackles, breaking up two passes and helping hold Florida State star receiver Rashad Greene in check.
Brian Poole, Florida: Scored on a 29-yard interception return and forced and recovered a fumble as Florida beat East Carolina 28-20 in the Birmingham Bowl.
Dominick Sanders, Georgia: Intercepted two passes in Georgia’s 37-14 Belk Bowl victory over Louisville.
Lorenzo Waters, Rutgers: Made 14 tackles, recovered two fumbles and blocked a field-goal attempt as Rutgers defeated North Carolina 40-21 in the Quick Lane Bowl.
Sam Ficken, Penn State: Made a 45-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in regulation to force overtime in a 31-30 Pinstripe Bowl win over Boston College. His extra point in overtime clinched the victory.
JK Scott, Alabama: Averaged 55 yards per punt against Ohio State. Five of his seven attempts forced the Buckeyes to start drives inside their own 20.
Leonard Fournette, LSU: Ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns – including an 89-yarder – and also scored on a 100-yard kickoff return in LSU’s 31-28 Music City Bowl loss to Notre Dame.