B.o.C. - BEAR REGION - Round 1

A preview for this region can be found HERE

(seed) year school - score

(96) 1986 Oklahoma - 20
(32) 1993 Florida State - 23
A common theme throughout the first round of the Bracket of Champions has been defense. This game was no exception. Despite two great quarterbacks, each offense had a hard time gaining yards against these talented, athletic defenses.

Florida State linebackers Derrick Brooks, Todd Rebol, and Sam Cowart were keying on quarterback Jamelle Holieway, forcing the talented runner to pitch the ball when running the option. The wishbone didn't have much success early with the Sooners going 3-and-out on their first three possessions. But Spencer Tillman finally took an option pitch and broke free for 24 yards, and on the next play Holieway hit tight end Keith Jackson on a play action pass for 55 yards and a touchdown.

But Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward proved to be too dynamic. With the Seminole defense holding OU to 20 points, the two touchdowns and three field goal drives Ward led would be enough. The running game never got going - Brian Bosworth and company held FSU to 32 rushing yards - but receivers Matt Frier (6 receptions), Kez McKorvey (1 touchdown catch), and Kevin Knox (1 touchdown catch) gave reliable options.

(177) 1987 Oklahoma - 21
(113) 2003 LSU - 16
The LSU defense was great, but quarterback Matt Mauck turned the ball over one too many times as Nick Saban's Tigers fell to Switzer's Sooners.

Oklahoma's wishbone attack grinded out 189 rushing yards against an LSU defense that featured an imposing defensive line of Marcus Spears, Chad Lavalais, Kyle Williams, and Marquise Hill. But two big pass plays are what eventually put OU on top for good. Carl Cabbiness caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Jamelle Holieway to start the second quarter, and tight end Keith Jackson caught a 62-yard pass in the fourth quarter to set up the game winning score.

The Oklahoma defense kept the pressure on Mauck all game long. Defensive end Darrell Reed had two sacks, and Darren Kilpatrick and Dante Williams were effective collapsing the pocket from the inside.

(41) 1977 Notre Dame - 24
(24) 1996 Florida - 35
Dan Devine and the 1977 Fighting Irish had never seen a passing attack executed like Steve Spurrier's Fun 'N Gun. Danny Wuerffel spread 332 passing yards and 4 touchdowns over his excellent receiving corps of Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green. Notre Dame cornerback Luther Bradley - an All American in 1977 - was left searching for answers after getting beat on two of the four touchdowns.

"I've never seen anything like it. Every single one of those receivers was the fastest guy I've ever seen. They were everywhere," Bradley said after the game

Wuerffel was pleased with the win, but he was more excited that he got to meet Joe Montana, quarterback of the 1977 Notre Dame team.

(57) 1997 Florida - 17
(121) 2008 USC - 24
What a difference a couple generations can make. Whereas the '77 Fighting Irish struggled mightily with Florida's passing game, the '08 Trojan defense came out attacking and actually controlled the game from the outset.

With 31 years of additional experience and athleticism, USC was able to attack Florida quarterbacks Doug Johnson and Jesse Palmer. The pressure made for a lot of incomplete passes (Gator QBs were just 22-of-48) and three interceptions. Clay Matthews was a prime source of the pressure.

The lone bright spot for the '97 Gators was their defense. Fred Weary and the secondary held Mark Sanchez to just 14-for-27 passing and 164 yards. Joe McKnight was a difference maker for the Trojans, though, with a touchdown rushing and a punt return for touchdown in the third quarter that turned the tide for good.

Bracket of Champions - Bear Region
Next Round Matchups:
(64) 1994 Florida State vs (32) 1993 Florida State
(48) 1996 Ohio State vs (177) 1987 Oklahoma
(73) 1998 Ohio State vs (24) 1996 Florida
(40) 1981 Penn State vs (121) 2008 USC

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