Round of 32
(seed) year school - score
(32) 1993 Florida State - 31
Charlie Ward proved that you can't just replace him with Danny Kanell and win a tournament like this. Two similarly stacked defenses, both led by linebacker Derrick Brooks and an All American cornerback (Corey Sawyer for the '93 squad and Clifton Abraham for the '94 Seminoles), took on similar offenses and Ward made the difference.
The '94 version of Warrick Dunn ran for 112 yards and a touchdown, but his production was offset by Kanell getting sacked four times. Ward, on the other hand, was able to avoid a stiff pass rush by Derrick Alexander and Andre Wadsworth (Orpues Roye picked up the only sack for the '94 team) and put up big numbers. He finished with 101 yards rushing to go along with 275 yards passing in the blowout.
(48) 1996 Ohio State - 23
(177) 1987 Oklahoma - 21
The '87 Sooners run in this tournament came to an end when Josh Jackson kicked the game winning 33-yard field goal as time expired.
Patrick Collins gave Oklahoma the lead early on with a 65-yard touchdown run. The wishbone was successful in grinding the clock as the Sooners managed to put 300+ rushing yards on a good Ohio State defense (Mike Vrabel, Andy Katzenmoyer).
Oklahoma led nearly the entire game until Ohio State mounted a fourth quarter comeback. Trailing 21-20, Joe Germaine led a 65 yard drive that culminated in Jackson's game winning field goal attempt.
(73) 1998 Ohio State - 24
(24) 1996 Florida - 31
The 1998 Buckeyes didn't fare as well as the '96 edition. Andy Katzenmoyer picked off Joe Germaine in practice during the week, and it made a lasting impression - Germaine would throw three interceptions against the Gators.
The Ohio State defense actually played well, but their offense gave up too much field position - and too many points. One of Germaine's interceptions was returned by Anthone Lott for a touchdown. Ed Chester scored a touchdown after sacking Germaine, forcing and recovering a fumble in the end zone.
(40) 1981 Penn State - 16
(121) 2008 USC - 19
The USC defense came up big yet again, holding Curt Warner to just 42 yards on 19 carries and scoring the lone Trojan touchdown en route to advancing to the Sweet 16.
Fili Moala and linebackers Rey Maualuga and Kaluka Maiava were busy against Joe Paterno's offense making tackles all over the field. Penn State only gained 173 total yards. Brian Cushing scored USC's only touchdown when he recovered a Mike Meade fumble and returned it 54 yards to paydirt. At least the Nittany Lions will always have this win against rival Pitt to remember from the '81 season.
Sweet 16 Matchups:
(32) 1993 Florida State vs (48) 1996 Ohio State
(24) 1996 Florida vs (121) 2008 USC