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January 13, 2006
Freshmen emerge as stars in bowls
Sidney Rice's introduction to bowl season was a bittersweet one.
South Carolina's redshirt freshman wide receiver set career highs and Independence Bowl records with 12 catches for 191 yards and a touchdown.
But after eight first-half receptions for 163 yards, Rice needed IV fluids for cramps during halftime and then had to watch Missouri wipe out the Gamecocks' 28-7 halftime lead.
With help from a freshman of its own, Missouri won 38-31. Tigers true freshman tight end Chase Coffman caught a second-half touchdown and set Missouri bowl game records with eight catches for 99 yards.
"It gives me motivation," said Rice, who set South Carolina's single-season record for receiving yards with 1,143 yards. "I want to work harder and do even better than that. I actually wished we had more games to play."
The Independence Bowl featured three difference-making freshmen (Gamecocks true freshman running back Mike Davis had 125 rushing yards and two TDs), but they weren't the only ones to have success on the biggest stage of their budding careers.
West Virginia running back Steve Slaton and quarterback Pat White accounted for 401 yards of offense and four touchdowns in an upset of Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Slaton's 204 yards broke the Sugar Bowl rushing record set by Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett in 1977. It was an exclamation point on a season where the Mountaineers started the year with one vote in the AP preseason poll and ended at No. 5.
Despite a four-loss season, Oklahoma ended the year on a high note with an upset of then-No. 6 Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. With freshmen Rhett Bomar, Malcolm Kelly and Reggie Smith playing key roles, maybe things in Norman aren't so bad after all.
Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter used the Insight Bowl against Rutgers to become the nation's most efficient passer and complicated the quarterback position for coach Dirk Koetter when senior Sam Keller returns from a thumb injury in the spring.
Without further ado, here is the Rivals.com Freshman All-Bowl team:
QB Pat White, West Virginia (defeated Georgia 38-35 in Sugar Bowl)
11 of 14 passing for 120 yards and a touchdown, 24 carries for 77 yards
QB Rudy Carpenter, Arizona State (defeated Rutgers 45-40 in Insight Bowl)
23 of 35 passing for 467 yards and four touchdowns
QB Rhett Bomar, Oklahoma (defeated Oregon 17-14 in Holiday Bowl)
17 of 30 passing for 229 yards, a touchdown and an interception
RB Steve Slaton, West Virginia (defeated Georgia 38-35 in Sugar Bowl)
26 carries for 204 yards and three touchdowns
RB James Davis, Clemson (defeated Colorado 19-10 in Champs Sports Bowl)
28 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown
RB Raymell Rice, Rutgers (lost to Arizona State 45-40 in Insight Bowl)
20 carries for 108 yards
WR Sidney Rice, South Carolina (lost to Missouri 38-31 in Independence Bowl)
12 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown
WR DeSean Jackson, Cal (defeated BYU 35-28 in Las Vegas Bowl)
Six catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns
WR Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma (defeated Oregon 17-14 in Holiday Bowl)
Seven catches for 79 yards
TE Chase Coffman, Missouri (defeated South Carolina 38-31 in Independence Bowl)
Eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown
TE Shawn Nelson, Southern Miss (defeated Arkansas State 31-19 in New Orleans Bowl)
Six catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns
T Matt Slauson, Nebraska (defeated Michigan 32-28 in Alamo Bowl)
Helped Cory Ross to 161 rushing yards
T Eric VandenHeuvel, Wisconsin (defeated Auburn 24-10 in Capitol One Bowl)
Badgers had 548 yards of offense
T Max Unger, Oregon (lost to Oklahoma 17-14 in Holiday Bowl)
Ducks had 327 yards of total offense
G Antoine Caldwell, Alabama (defeated Texas Tech 13-10 in Cotton Bowl)
Tide had 420 yards of offense, no sacks allowed
G Ryan Stanchek, West Virginia (defeated Georgia 38-35 in Sugar Bowl)
Helped Mountaineers rack up 502 yards of offense, 386 rushing yards
C Eric Wood, Louisville (lost to Virginia Tech 35-24 in Gator Bowl)
Cardinals had 343 yards of offense
DT Rashaad Jackson, Clemson (defeated Clemson 19-10 in Champs Sports Bowl)
Four tackles, one sack, held Colorado to 17 rushing yards.
DE Brian Orakpo, Texas (defeated Southern California 41-38 in Rose Bowl)
DT Ryan Bain, Iowa (lost to Florida 31-24 in Outback Bowl)
Four tackles, two sacks
DT Chase Moline, UCLA (defeated Northwestern 50-38 in Sun Bowl)
Held Tyrell Sutton to 84 rushing yards
LB James Laurinaitis, Ohio State (defeated Notre Dame 34-20 in Fiesta Bowl)
Held Notre Dame to 2.2 yards per carry
LB Tokumbo Abanikanda, Southern Miss (defeated Arkansas State 31-19 in New Orleans Bowl)
Seven tackles, one sack
LB Anthony Felder, Cal (defeated BYU 35-28 in Las Vegas Bowl)
Three tackles, one pass break up, held BYU to 94 rushing yards
LB Brian Cushing, Southern California (lost to Texas 41-38 in Rose Bowl)
One tackle, one pass break up
CB Tony Carter, Florida State (lost to Penn State 26-23 in Orange Bowl)
Six tackles, interception
S Courtney Greene, Rutgers (lost to Arizona State 45-40 in Insight Bowl)
12 tackles, two pass break ups, forced fumble
S Reggie Smith, Oklahoma (defeated Oregon 17-14 in Holiday Bowl)
Seven tackles, one for a loss
CB Brandon Flowers, Virginia Tech (defeated Louisville 35-24 in Gator Bowl)
Interception, 15-yard return
CB Kevin Thomas, Southern California (lost to Texas 41-38 in Rose Bowl)
One pass break up
CB Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State (defeated Notre Dame 34-20 in Fiesta Bowl)
K Jordan Congdon, Nebraska (defeated Michigan 32-28 in Alamo Bowl)
1 FG (20 yards), 3 for 3 PAT
K Pat McAfee, West Virginia (defeated Georgia 38-35 in Sugar Bowl)
1 FG (27 yards), 5 for 5 PAT