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January 11, 2011

Rivals.com 2010 All-Bowl team

Perhaps no team in the country delivered as impressive a bowl performance as Stanford, and Auburn won the most important bowl game of them all.

So it should come as no surprise that those two schools have the most representatives on the Rivals.com All-Bowl team.

Stanford and Auburn have three players each. Quarterback Andrew Luck, tight end Coby Fleener and linebacker Shayne Skov helped lead Stanford to a 40-12 rout of Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Auburn running back Michael Dyer, defensive tackle Nick Fairley and kicker Wes Byrum earned notice for their individual performances in a 22-19 BCS championship game victory over Oregon.

Other teams with multiple selections were Alabama, LSU and Nevada. Alabama trounced Michigan State 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl, LSU defeated Texas A&M 41-24 in the Cotton Bowl and Nevada knocked off Boston College 20-13 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Bowl: Orange
Buzz: With former Stanford star QBs John Elway and Jim Plunkett watching from the sidelines, Luck went 18-of-23 for 287 yards with four touchdowns and one interception in a 40-12 blowout of Virginia Tech. Luck gave Stanford fans more reason to celebrate three days after the game by announcing he'd return to school, even though he was projected as the top overall pick in the NFL draft.
Bowl: BCS championship game
Buzz: Dyer delivered arguably the biggest play of the entire season. Late in the fourth quarter, he appeared to be stopped after a 7-yard gain -- but his knee never touched the ground and he kept on running for a 37-yard gain that set up the winning field goal in a 22-19 victory over Oregon. Dyer added a 16-yard run later in that drive and finished with 143 yards on 22 carries.
Bowl: Poinsettia
Buzz: Hillman rushed for 228 yards -- matching a career-high -- and three touchdowns on 28 carries as San Diego State defeated Navy 35-14 for its first bowl victory since 1969. Hillman also caught a 15-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.
Bowl: Pinstripe
Buzz: Sales caught five passes for a career-high 172 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 36-34 victory over Kansas State. His 44-yard touchdown put Syracuse ahead for good with 7:52 remaining. He also scored from 52 yards out in the first quarter and from 36 yards away in the second period. He had caught one TD pass during the regular season.
Bowl: Cotton
Buzz: Toliver had five catches for 112 yards and three touchdowns in LSU's 41-24 triumph over Texas A&M. He was the only LSU player with more than 19 receiving yards. He scored from 2, 41 and 42 yards away. His three touchdown catches tied a Cotton Bowl record.
Bowl: Orange
Buzz: Fleener caught six passes for 173 yards against Virginia Tech. He scored each of Stanford's three second-half touchdowns, on receptions of 41, 58 and 38 yards. Fleener's 173 receiving yards in the Orange Bowl approached his regular-season total of 261.
Bowl: Holiday
Buzz: Washington avenged a regular-season loss to Nebraska by controlling both sides of the line of scrimmage. Kelemete was the star performer on a Washington line that didn't allow any sacks and helped the Huskies rush for 268 yards on 52 carries in a 19-7 triumph over the Huskers.
T Jacob Sims, USF, Sr.
Bowl: Meineke Car Care
Buzz: Sims was the lineman primarily responsible for blocking potential No. 1 overall draft pick Da'Quan Bowers in USF's 31-26 victory over Clemson. Although Bowers had six tackles, he failed to deliver a sack. Sims' protection helped USF QB B.J. Daniels throw two touchdown passes and run for a third score.
Bowl: Chick-fil-A
Buzz: The unanimous All-America selection closed out an outstanding college career by delivering two knockdown blocks in Florida State's 26-17 victory over South Carolina. He committed no penalties, missed no assignments and allowed no sacks. Hudson's blocking helped Florida State rush for 218 yards against a South Carolina defense that headed into the game ranked first in the SEC and ninth in the nation against the run.
Bowl: Capital One
Buzz: Alabama dominated the line of scrimmage so thoroughly that we could have selected just about any of the Tide's starting offensive or defensive linemen for this honor. We'll reserve this spot for Jones, the best performer on an Alabama line that allowed no sacks and helped the Tide average 6.0 yards per carry in a 49-7 rout of Michigan State. Alabama gained 275 rushing yards and 271 passing yards against the Spartans.
C Scott Wedige, Northern Illinois, Jr.
Bowl: Humanitarian
Buzz: Wedige held Fresno State star DT Logan Harrell in check as Northern Illinois gained 503 total yards and didn't allow a sack in a 40-17 victory. Harrell had 14 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks during the regular season, but he had no tackles for loss or sacks in the bowl game. Credit also belongs to NIU T Trevor Olson, who held Fresno State DE Chris Carter without a tackle. Carter had 16.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks during the regular season.
Bowl: Sugar
Buzz: Ohio State's defensive line controlled the game in the Buckeyes' narrow win. Heyward, especially, had a big night. He had six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries. Ohio State went into the game with just 18 sacks on the season, but the Buckeyes dropped Ryan Mallett five times.
Bowl: BCS championship game
Buzz: No defensive tackle was as disruptive as Fairley during the regular season, so was anyone really surprised by the way he played Monday night against Oregon? Fairley had five tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble as Auburn took home the national title. When Auburn needed a big defensive play, more often than not Fairley delivered.
Bowl: Liberty
Buzz: Miller, a Georgia native, went out in style against his home-state school. UCF held Georgia to a season-low six points, and Miller's performance was a big reason. He had eight tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Miller finishes his UCF career with 35.5 sacks, the most of any active player in the nation.
LB Tank Carder, TCU, Sr.
Bowl: Rose
Buzz: The big question heading into the Rose Bowl was whether TCU's touted defense could hold up against Wisconsin's bruising rushing attack. Well, while Wisconsin ran for 40 yards on the first play of the game, TCU's defense carried the day. Carder had six tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack, and he sealed the win by batting down a potential tying two-point conversion pass in the final minute.
Bowl: Music City
Buzz: Sturdivant capped off a good career with a great game in the Tar Heels' double-overtime victory over Tennessee. He had 12 tackles, two tackles for loss, an interception, a sack and a pass breakup. His interception in the second overtime set up the winning field goal by Casey Barth, who also kicked a field goal on the last play of regulation to send the game into overtime.
Bowl: Orange
Buzz: Stanford's offense had received most of the pre-game publicity, but the Cardinal's defense flexed its muscle, too, in the blowout of Virginia Tech. Skov was the ringleader, with numerous pulverizing hits, and a case can be made that he had the best defensive performance of anyone in a bowl. He had 12 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks and a pass breakup.
Bowl: Capital One
Buzz: Alabama's defense toyed with Michigan State's offense for much of the day, and Upshaw looked to be having as much fun as anyone. He finished with five tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble in the Tide's rout.
CB Micah Hyde, Iowa, Soph.
Bowl: Insight
Buzz: The Hawkeyes allowed Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert to throw for 434 yards, but Iowa did a good job of keeping Mizzou out of the end zone. Gabbert threw one touchdown but two picks, and Hyde's 72-yard interception return for a score with 5:32 remaining in the game gave the Hawkeyes the surprise victory over Missouri. Hyde also had five tackles.
Bowl: Cotton
Buzz: Mathieu, a Rivals.com freshman All-America selection, had a huge game as the Tigers held A&M's potent offense in check. Mathieu had seven tackles, a sack, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass breakup.
Bowl: Sun
Buzz: Smith had a big day against Miami's scatter-armed quarterbacks, coming up with three interceptions in the Irish's big win. He also added seven tackles.
Bowl: Outback
Buzz: Black was Florida's best player during a disappointing regular season and he helped send Urban Meyer out a winner with a huge performance in a victory over Penn State. Black had two interceptions, including one he returned 80 yards for a fourth-quarter TD that sealed the win. He added six tackles, a tackle for loss and two pass breakups.
Bowl: BCS championship game
Buzz: FIU's Jack Griffin and UNC's Casey Barth also kicked winners, but neither of those won a national title. Byrum, who also made a kick in the first half, finishes his Auburn career with six winning kicks, including three this season.
Bowl: Kraft Fight Hunger
Buzz: He averaged 43.4 yards on seven punts, with five landing inside the 20, in the Wolf Pack's win over Boston College. BC started drives at its 11, 5, 7, 10 and 16 after Langley punts, and if you watched BC's offense this season, you know that starting inside their 20 is a losing proposition for the Eagles.
Bowl: Little Caesars Pizza
Buzz: He had five kickoff returns for 174 yards, including an 89-yard TD. He also had three catches for 32 yards and a TD, and was involved in the fourth-down hook-and-lateral that led to the winning field goal.
Bowl: Kraft Fight Hunger
Buzz: He scored on a 72-yard punt return in the victory over Boston College, a victory that came about in large part because of Nevada's special teams. Matthews also had seven catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.
ALL-PURPOSE Damaris Johnson, Tulsa, Jr.
Bowl: Hawaii
Buzz: OK, take a breath, because this is going to take a while. Johnson had four catches for 101 yards and a touchdown. He had five carries for 98 yards and a TD. He also had one punt return for 18 yards and five kickoff returns for 109 yards as the Golden Hurricane upset the host Warriors on Christmas Eve.

NOTE: Player bios by Mike Huguenin and Steve Megargee

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