The college football bowl season featured so many thrilling individual performances that even a few 200-yard rushers failed to make the Associated Press 2016 All-Bowl Team.
Ahead of next week’s College Football Playoff championship, here are the picks for best performances of this year’s college football bowl season.
Sam Darnold, Southern California: Darnold threw for 453 yards and five touchdowns as No. 9 USC erased a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit in a 52-49 Rose Bowl victory over No. 5 Penn State.
Honorable mention: Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee; Ryan Higgins, Louisiana Tech; Quinton Flowers, South Florida
Justin Jackson, Northwestern: Jackson rushed for 224 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries as Northwestern upset No. 22 Pittsburgh 31-24 in the Pinstripe Bowl .
Bo Scarbrough, Alabama: Scarbrough needed just 19 carries to run for 180 yards and two touchdowns in No. 1 Alabama’s 24-7 Peach Bowl triumph over No. 4 Washington.
Honorable mention: Dalvin Cook, Florida State; Jamaal Williams, BYU; Joe Williams, Utah
Deontay Burnett, Southern California: Burnett caught 13 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns, including a game-tying score with 1:20 left in the Rose Bowl.
KD Cannon, Baylor: Cannon had 14 receptions for 226 yards — including touchdown catches of 30 and 68 yards — as Baylor defeated Boise State 31-12 in the Cactus Bowl .
Honorable mention: Chris Godwin, Penn State; Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech; Kendall Sanders, Arkansas State; Allenzae Staggers, Southern Mississippi; Olabis Johnson, Colorado State; Anthony Miller, Memphis
Jaylen Samuels, North Carolina State: This tight end/fullback hybrid caught six passes for 104 yards and three touchdowns in the Wolfpack’s 41-17 Independence Bowl triumph over Vanderbilt.
Honorable mention: Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin; Metuisela ‘Unga, Hawaii; Deon Watson, Idaho
Isaac Asiata, Utah: Asiata paved the way for Joe Williams’ 222-yard rushing performance in Utah’s 26-24 Foster Farms Bowl victory over Indiana . Asiata won the Morris Trophy this season as the Pac-12’s top offensive lineman, an award determined by voting from the conference’s starting defensive linemen.
Scott Frantz, Kansas State: Frantz was the primary man responsible for holding All-America defensive end Myles Garrett to zero sacks and only one assisted tackle in Kansas State’s 33-28 Texas Bowl victory over Texas A&M.
Jay Guillermo, Clemson: Guillermo graded out at 93 percent and tied a season high with five knockdowns as No. 3 Clemson breezed to a 31-0 Fiesta Bowl victory over No. 2 Ohio State.
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky: Lamp didn’t allow a sack or a quarterback pressure in Western Kentucky’s 51-31 Boca Raton Bowl victory over Memphis. He even scored a touchdown by catching a lateral and running 9 yards into the end zone.
Matt Leidner, Minnesota: This former walk-on and scout-team center had dropped 30 pounds before the Holiday Bowl to prepare for foot surgery since he wasn’t expecting to play. He instead earned his first career start because of injuries to Tyler Moore and Jared Weyler. Leidner helped Minnesota defeat Washington State 17-12 and underwent surgery the following day.
Honorable mention: Zach Banner, Southern California; Parker Braun, Georgia Tech; Jesse Burkett, Stanford; Tyler Gauthier, Miami; Ty Hayworth, Wake Forest; Tejan Koroma BYU; Chandler Miller, Tulsa; Jordan Rose, Idaho; Jonah Williams, Alabama
Saquon Barkley, Penn State: Barkley ran for 194 yards and two touchdowns while also catching five passes for 55 yards and a third score in the Rose Bowl. Barkley also totaled 57 yards on two kickoff returns.
Honorable mention: Joe Mixon, Oklahoma; Anthony Wales, Western Kentucky
Jonathan Allen, Alabama: Allen had six tackles - two for loss - with one sack and a fumble recovery to lead the dominant performance of Alabama’s defense in the Peach Bowl.
Clelin Ferrell, Clemson: Ferrell recorded three tackles for loss and a sack in the Fiesta Bowl.
Ja’Boree Poole, Southern Mississippi: Poole made nine tackles and delivered three sacks in Southern Mississippi’s 28-21 New Orleans Bowl victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Trenton Thompson, Georgia: Thompson set a Liberty Bowl record by recording three sacks in Georgia’s 31-23 triumph over TCU.
Honorable mention: Derek Barnett, Tennessee; Jesse Brubaker, Tulsa; Nick Dawson-Brents, Western Kentucky; Patrick Gamble, Georgia Tech; Kyle Kelley, San Diego State; Harold Landry, Boston College; Ja’Von Rolland-Jones, Arkansas State; Solomon Thomas, Stanford; DeMarcus Walker, Florida State
Tashawn Bower, LSU: Bower sacked Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson three times in No. 19 LSU’s 29-9 Citrus Bowl rout of No. 15 Louisville.
Anthony Shegog, Virginia Tech: Shegog had six tackles, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble to help Virginia Tech rally from a 24-0 deficit to beat Arkansas 35-24 in the Belk Bowl .
Matthew Thomas, Florida State: Thomas had 15 tackles - 3 ½ for loss - as No. 10 Florida State edged No. 6 Michigan 33-32 in the Orange Bowl .
Honorable mention: Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster, Alabama; Thomas Brown, Wake Forest; Blake Cashman, Minnesota; Caleb Kelly, Oklahoma; Arden Key, LSU; Jeremy Timpf, Army
Chauncey Gardner, Florida: Gardner picked off two passes and returned one for a 58-yard touchdown as No. 20 Florida trounced No. 21 Iowa 30-3 in the Outback Bowl .
Dallas Lloyd, Stanford: Lloyd forced a fumble, made six tackles and had two interceptions as No. 16 Stanford edged North Carolina 25-23 in the Sun Bowl . He scored on a 19-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter to put Stanford ahead for good.
Leon McQuay, Southern California: His 32-yard interception return in the final minute of the Rose Bowl set up the game-winning field goal. McQuay also had seven solo tackles and two pass breakups.
Ron Smith, San Diego State: Smith made 10 tackles and scored on a 54-yard interception return as part of a San Diego State defense that recorded eight sacks and four interceptions in a 34-10 Las Vegas Bowl triumph over Houston.
Honorable mention: Anthony Averett and Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama; Corn Elder, Miami; Khalid McGee, South Florida; Mook Reynolds, Virginia Tech; Elijah Riley, Army; Wes Steelhammer, Air Force; Orion Stewart, Baylor
Harrison Butker, Georgia Tech: Butker was 4 of 4 on field-goal attempts with kicks of 23, 26, 44 and 52 yards in Georgia Tech’s 33-18 TaxSlayer Bowl victory over Kentucky. He was 3 of 3 on extra-points and had touchbacks on each of his seven kickoffs.
Honorable mention: Jonathan Barnes, Louisiana Tech; Matt Boermeester, Southern California; Andy Phillips, Utah
Kenny Allen, Michigan: Allen averaged 47.4 yards per punt at the Orange Bowl and landed four of his eight attempts inside Florida State’s 20-yard line. He also made each of his three field-goal attempts and had touchbacks on six of his seven kickoffs.
Honorable mention: Jake Bailey, Stanford; Mason King, Louisville; Zach Sinor, Oklahoma State
Darrynton Evans, Appalachian State: He scored on a 94-yard kickoff return late in the third quarter to give the Mountaineers a 28-21 lead in their 31-28 Camellia Bowl triumph over Toledo.
Honorable mention: Keith Gavin, Florida State; Nyheim Hines, North Carolina State; Kalija Lipscomb, Vanderbilt
More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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