The College Bowl Season Kicks Off

By Lloyd Vance
Updated: December 22, 2007

PHILADELPHIA – The 2007 College Football season’s slate of bowl games kicked off on Thursday night with the Utah Utes (9-4) defeating the Naval Academy Midshipman (8-5) by a score of 34-32 in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, CA. The Utes were led by senior quarterback Brian Johnson (20-of-25 passing for 226 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT with an additional 69 yards and 1 TD rushing) in their seventh straight bowl victory.

Johnson threw for one touchdown (40 yards to Derek Richards in the third quarter) and ran for another (a 19 yard gallop in the fourth quarter) to pace his team in a wild pinball machine type game. The other star for Utah was running back Darrell Mack, who grew up in the San Diego area and scored the first and last touchdowns for Utah.

The loss spoiled the head coaching debut of Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo, who was promoted from assistant head coach and offensive line coach after Paul Johnson left for Georgia Tech. But it was Johnson who showed why some scouts think the 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior has a chance at the next level.

The Texas native after taking a big hit responded by completing 11 straight passes spanning the second and third quarters. He expertly ran Utah’s spread-option offense in leading the Utes back from a 17-7 deficit by going 9-for-9 for 130 yards in the third quarter. Johnson said after the game, “It feels great to keep the bowl streak going.”

Johnson’s win was the first of many bowl games that will feature African American quarterbacks in prominent roles. In total there will be approximately12 teams led by African American signal callers — give or take rotational situations, injuries, etc — culminating with LSU redshirt sophomore quarterback Ryan Perrilloux leading the SEC champion Tigers into the BCS Title game to face the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The bowl game lineup featuring African American quarterbacks:


Birmingham, Ala.

Dec. 22, 1 p.m. (ESPN2) Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Southern Miss (7-5)

USM senior quarterback Jeremy Young(#10) leads the Golden Eagles versus the Bearcats.


Honolulu, Hawaii

Dec. 23, 8 p.m. (ESPN) East Carolina (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-2)

East Carolina sophomore quarterback Patrick Pinkney(#15) leads the Pirates against tough Boise State, who last year surprised the nation by beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta bowl.


El Paso, Texas

Dec. 31, 2 p.m. (ESPN) USF (9-3) vs. Oregon (8-4)

Oregon Ducks quarterback senior Dennis Dixon(#10) will probably not play versus South Florida due to a knee injury, but he deserves mention. The dual-threat Dixon was the leading Heisman hopeful for much of the season before his injury.


Nashville, Tenn.

Dec. 31, 4 p.m. (ESPN) Florida State (7-5) vs. Kentucky (7-5)

Kentucky Wildcats senior quarterback Andre Woodson(#3) leads his team against the Florida State Seminoles. Woodson, who is at the top of my draft rankings is an outstanding player that can beat you in and out of the pocket. The ‘Noles were led by quarterback Xzavier Lee(#9) for several games in the middle of the season, but the young passer is listed as the backup on the depth chart.


Tempe, Ariz.

Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m. (NFL Network) Indiana (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6)

The Indiana Hoosiers have made it to a bowl game for the first time in a while and they are led by mercurial sophomore quarterback Kellen Lewis(#15). The Hoosiers opponent the OSU Cowboys may also feature second string quarterback Bobby Reid(#14) a former nationally recognized recruit.


Jacksonville, Fla.

Jan. 1, Noon (CBS) Virginia (9-3) vs. Texas Tech (8-4)

The Virginia Cavaliers continued to be a major part of the ACC title race this season and one of the major reasons is the quarterback play of Jameel Sewell(#10). The Cavs will have their hands full as they take on the wide open passing attack of the Texas Tech Raiders, so expect a pinball machine type game.


Pasadena, Calif.

Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m. (ABC) USC (10-2) vs. Illinois (9-3)

The “Juice” will be loose in the grand daddy of them all the Illinois Illini take on the might USC Trojans in Pasadena. Illinois has gone there a major rebirth under Ron Zook even beating Ohio State earlier in the season and his number weapon is dual-threat sophomore quarterback Isiah Juice Williams(#7).


Glendale, Ariz.

Jan. 2, 8:00 p.m. (FOX) West Virginia (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (11-2)

The Mountaineers will be without their former coach Rich Rodriguez (new Michigan head man) as they take on the tough Oklahoma Sooners, but junior speedster quarterback Pat White(#7) will be on the field. The Mountaineer’s lefty signal caller will be facing one of the nation’s best defenses.



Jan. 3, 8 p.m. (FOX) Kansas (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2)

Freshman sensation Tyrod Taylor(#5) leads the Hokies versus the Kansas Jayhawks (one of the NCAA’s feel-good stories of the year) in a BCS special. Taylor in a short period of time has established himself as one of the nation’s best dual-threat players while playing in a rotation with Sean Glennon.



Jan. 5, Noon (ESPN2) Rutgers (7-5) vs. Ball State (7-5)

Year two of the International Bowl features a good match-up between the Rutgers Knights from Jersey versus the Ball State Redhawks from middle America. On the Sky Dome’s fast track, the Redhawks will have electric sophomore quarterback Nate Davis(#13) at the controls.


Mobile, Ala.

Jan. 6, 8 p.m. (ESPN) Tulsa (9-4) vs. Bowling Green (8-4)

The Falcons have made to another bowl after a solid season and Tulsa awaits them. Bowling Green will be relying heavily on “Slash” player Anthony Turner (#17) who may lineup at RB, WR, and quarterback.


New Orleans

Jan. 7, 8 p.m. (FOX) Ohio State (11-1) vs. LSU (11-2)

For the fifth time the NCAA BCS championship game will feature an African American quarterback as LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux(#11) leads the versatile LSU offense against the staunch defense of Ohio State.

Perrilloux will be attempting to join Willie Thrower (Michigan State ’52), Sandy Stephens (Minnesota ’60), Jimmie Jones (USC ’72), Homer Jordan (Clemson ’81), Jamelle Holieway (Oklahoma ’85), Tony Rice (Notre Dame ’88), Darian Hagan (Colorado Co-Champs ’90), Shawn Jones (Georgia Tech Co-Champs ’90), Charlie Ward (Florida State ’93), Tommie Frazier (Nebraska ’94 and ’95), Tee Martin (Tennessee ’98), Vince Young (Texas ’05), and Chris Leak (Florida ’06) as African American quarterbacks that led their teams to Division I-A titles.

Perrilloux has recently distinguished himself by leading the Tigers to a win the SEC title game after starting the season in a rotation with Matt Flynn. The Louisiana native had been the number one recruit in 2005 and now he is getting his chance to shine on college football’s largest stage.