The NFL Draft is almost upon us and the preparation for the upcoming college football season will be right around the corner. It is a good time to recollect some of the outstanding offensive performances from the Bowl games from this past season.
There were many solid, and even spectacular, performances from players who are entering the 2014 NFL Draft to players who are next year's Heisman hopefuls and even from players who simply rose to the occasion to have a big game at the right time. There were big games on the ground, big games through the air and even performances that combined a little of both. Most of these performances, however, shared one thing in common. They were integral parts of the performance of their respective teams as a whole and either allowed their teams to stay in the game or pull out the victory.
There were some other performances that certainly deserve to be considered for this list, but these performances seemed to exemplify the ability to rise to the occasion for the big game. For many of these players, their performance in their team's bowl game was one of their highlights of the season. This is a big determining factor for being one of the ten on this list.
10 1o. Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Connor Shaw might not be one of the quarterbacks at the top of draft boards, but his performance in the Capital One Bowl should warrant some extra attention. Shaw only had three incomplete passes while passing for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in leading the Gamecocks to a 34-24 victory over Wisconsin. Efficient and in control, Shaw also had a rushing touchdown while gaining 47 yards on the ground.
9 Adam Muema, RB, San Diego State
Although this was not a major Bowl game and the participants were not national powerhouses, one performance stood out in the game. San Diego State's running back, Adam Muema, had a monster game gaining 229 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns to lead the Aztecs to a 49-24 win over Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Muema had just about half of all of San Diego State's offensive yardage.
8 Davis Webb, QB, Texas Tech
Davis Webb had a solid game for Texas Tech in their 37-23 victory over Arizona State in the National Univesity Holiday Bowl. He threw for 402 yards while throwing 4 touchdown passes in the first half. He even completed passes to ten different receivers throughout the game. Webb controlled the game with his passing as the Red Raiders were held to 81 yards on the ground.
7 Blake Bortles, QB, UCF
Blake Bortles had a big game against a favored Baylor Bears squad in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Bortles had two key consecutive touchdowns in the late third quarter and early fourth quarter that helped break a tie and propel Central Florida past the Bears 52-42. He averaged 9.7 yards per pass attempt and even 11.6 yards per carry, while helping UCF convert 29 first downs and dominate Baylor in time of possession for the game by almost 10 minutes.
6 Dak Prescott, QB, Miss. State
In the less prestigious AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Dak Prescott was unstoppable. He led his team in rushing with 78 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also averaging over 10 yards per pass to go along with 3 touchdowns passing. He helped Mississippi State rack up 27 first downs and more than 35 minutes in time of possession as the Bulldogs crushed the Rice Owls 44-7. Prescott accounted for 5 of 6 Mississippi State touchdowns in the game.
5 Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
Brett Hundley recently excited many UCLA fans when he decided to come back to school for his junior season next year. Many people thought that Hundley's dominant performance against Virginia Tech in the Hyundai Sun Bowl was going to his last hurrah as a Bruin. Hundley threw two touchdown passes and ran for 7 and 86 yard scores in UCLA's 42-12 victory over the Hokies. Hundley had several big plays, including a 59 yard touchdown pass to Shaquelle Evans in the fourth quarter.
4 Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Despite all the criticism about Teddy Bridgewater's performance at the NFL Combine or at his Pro Day, he still had a great performance in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Bridgewater completed 78% of his passes, helped Louisville rack up 28 first downs and helped the Cardinals dominate the time of possession with over 38 minutes of ball control. Louisville jumped out to a 22-2 halftime lead over the Miami Hurricanes and never looked back, winning the game by the score of 36-9. He ended up with three passing TDs, one rushing TD and over 400 yards passing.
3 Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Sammy Watkins had a huge game against Ohio State in the Discover Orange Bowl. His 16 reception, 227 yard game pretty much equaled the production from all of Ohio State's receivers together (16 receptions, 234 yards). Watkins even had two long touchdown receptions of 30 and 34 yards to leave his mark on Clemson's 40-35 victory over the Buckeyes. His performance helped solidify his position as the projected number one receiver in the 2014 NFL draft.
2 Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Tajh Boyd has kind of been the forgotten quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft, but he certainly made a statement in the Discover Orange Bowl against Ohio State. Boyd accounted for 505 of Clemson's 576 yards, while being a part of all 6 touchdowns. Boyd threw a 5 yard touchdown pass to Stanton Seckinger for the go ahead score to rally Clemson to a 40-35 win over the Buckeyes.
1 Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
In a Chick-fil-A Bowl game that had very little defense, Johnny Manziel made sure he was part of the offensive show. Manziel accounted for 5 touchdowns to help lead Texas A&M to a 52-48 win over Duke in a game that was full of highlights. Manziel accounted for 455 of the Aggies 541 yards, while averaging over 10 yards per pass and 6.6 yards per rush. Manziel was close to perfect, completing 79% of his 38 passes without throwing an interception. He ended the game with 382 yards passing, 4 passing TDs and one rushing TD.
Manziel had an amazing year throwing the football, finishing the season with 4,114 yards passing with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Despite much criticism for running too much, Manziel finished the season with fewer carries than his freshman season and also fewer yards on the ground (759 yards rushing) spending more of his time in the pocket.
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