LSU’s Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson lead AP all-bowl team
Joe Burrow and Justin Jefferson were easy selections for The Associated Press All-Bowl Team after they connected for four first-half touchdowns in LSU’s College Football Playoff semifinal blowout of Oklahoma.
Selecting the rest of the team wasn’t nearly as simple.
Although the season won’t end until LSU faces Clemson in the championship game Monday night in New Orleans, all the postseason games with “bowl” in the title have been played. So why wait?
Because some defenses run a 4-3 scheme, some run a 3-4 and others use the nickel as their base defense, AP included four linemen, four linebackers and five defensive backs in picking the honorees. There are also 13 players on offense, since we include an all-purpose player and a third running back.
There were far more receivers than tight ends worthy of consideration, so we left out the tight end position and went with three receivers instead. Maybe next year.
Joe Burrow, LSU (Peach): The Heisman Trophy winner tied a bowl record by throwing seven touchdown passes in the top-ranked Tigers’ 63-28 victory over No. 4 Oklahoma — all in the first half Burrow went 29 of 39 for 394 yards passing. He also had a touchdown run.
Journey Brown, Penn State (Cotton): Brown rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries in the 13th-ranked Nittany Lions’ 53-39 triumph over No. 15 Memphis. He scored from 32 and 56 yards away.
Lamical Perine, Florida (Orange): Perine ran for 138 yards and caught five passes for 43 yards in the ninth-ranked Gators’ 36-28 victory over No. 24 Virginia. Perine had two touchdown runs and one touchdown catch.
Xazavian Valladay, Wyoming (Arizona): Valladay rushed for 204 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries as Wyoming beat Georgia State 38-17. He also caught three passes for 91 yards, including a 63-yard score.
Justin Jefferson, LSU (Peach): Jefferson caught four of Burrow’s seven touchdown passes. Jefferson ended up with 14 receptions for 227 yards.
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama (Citrus): Jeudy caught an 85-yard touchdown pass on No. 9 Alabama’s first play from scrimmage and finished with six receptions for 204 yards in a 35-16 victory over No. 17 Michigan.
Tyler Johnson, Minnesota (Outback): Johnson had 12 receptions for 202 yards and two touchdowns as No. 16 Minnesota defeated No. 9 Auburn 31-24.
Tremayne Anchrum and Jackson Carman, Clemson (Fiesta): Clemson’s two offensive tackles helped limit Heisman Trophy finalist Chase Young in the third-ranked Tigers’ 29-23 victory over No. 2 Ohio State in the other CFP semifinal.
Samuel Cosmi, Texas (Alamo): Cosmi anchored a line that helped Texas rush for 231 yards against a 12th-ranked Utah team that had been leading the nation in run defense. Utah also ranked third in total defense, but Texas gained 438 total yards in its 38-10 victory.
Charlie Heck, North Carolina (Military): North Carolina’s left tackle led a line that allowed no sacks against Temple, which had 39 during the regular season. North Carolina gained 534 yards in a 55-13 blowout.
Ford Higgins, Navy (Liberty): Navy’s center helped pave the way for quarterback Malcolm Perry’s 213-yard rushing performance as the 21st-ranked Midshipmen edged Kansas State, 20-17. Navy controlled the ball for 36 ½ minutes against a Kansas State team that was ranked fourth in time of possession.
James Hudson, Cincinnati (Birmingham): The Michigan transfer made his Cincinnati debut as a starting left tackle and helped the 23rd-ranked Bearcats gain 343 yards in a 38-6 rout of Boston College.
Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky (Belk): The receiver-turned-quarterback rushed for 233 yards and two scores and threw a game-winning touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining in Kentucky’s 37-30 victory over Virginia Tech.
A.J. Epenesa, Iowa (Holiday): The Associated Press All-America second-team defensive end collected 2 ½ sacks and forced a fumble as the 19th-ranked Hawkeyes defeated No. 22 Southern California, 49-24.
Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo (Bahamas): Koonce had two of Buffalo’s five sacks in a 31-9 rout of Charlotte. He also forced a fumble and had five tackles.
Jesse Lemonier, Liberty (Cure): Lemonier had eight tackles and recorded two sacks to improve his two-year career sack total to 20 ½. He was named the game’s most valuable player after Liberty’s 23-16 victory over Georgia Southern.
Kenny Willekes, Michigan State (Pistripe): Willekes made nine tackles, forced a fumble and delivered 1 ½ sacks in Michigan State’s 27-21 triumph over Wake Forest.
Joseph Ossai, Texas (Alamo): Ossai posted nine tackles - six for loss - and three sacks against Utah.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (Camping World): Technically listed as a rover, Owusu-Koramoah recorded nine tackles - four for loss - and three sacks in the 14th-ranked Fighting Irish’s 33-9 victory over Iowa State. He also forced and recovered a fumble.
Micah Parsons, Penn State (Cotton): Parsons had seven solo tackles, seven assists, three tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups against Memphis.
Rashad Smith, Florida Atlantic (Boca Raton): Smith scored on a 34-yard fumble return and also had a 22-yard interception return as well as 11 tackles in FAU’s 52-28 triumph over SMU.
Khoury Bethley, Hawaii (Hawaii): Bethley made 10 solo tackles - one for loss - and picked off two passes in a 38-34 victory over BYU. His second interception clinched the game with 25 seconds left.
Brady Breeze, Oregon (Rose): Breeze scored on a 31-yard fumble return and also forced a fumble to set up No. 7 Oregon’s go-ahead touchdown in a 28-27 victory over No. 11 Wisconsin. He had 11 tackles and a pass breakup.
Antwan Collier and Richie Grant, Central Florida (Gasparilla): Grant had 10 tackles in a 48-25 win over Marshall and opened the scoring with a 39-yard interception return. Collier had a 34-yard interception return, two fumble recoveries and six tackles.
Richard LeCounte, Georgia (Sugar): LeCounte picked off two passes in the fifth-ranked Bulldogs’ 26-14 victory over No. 8 Baylor.
Elijah Molden, Washington (Las Vegas): Molden had a 31-yard interception return, forced a fumble and made nine tackles in Washington’s 38-7 victory over No. 18 Boise State.
Riley Patterson, Memphis (Cotton): Patterson made all six of his field-goal attempts, connecting from 37, 41, 42, 44, 48 and 51 yards away. His accuracy gave him a slight edge over Western Kentucky’s Cory Munson, who made a game-winning 52-yarder on the final play of the First Responder Bowl but missed a 29-yard attempt earlier in the game.
Michael Turk, Arizona State (Sun): Turk averaged 45.8 yards on his eight punts and had four of them downed inside the 20-yard line in the Sun Devils’ 20-14 victory over Florida State. He landed three straight punts inside Florida State’s 10 in the third quarter.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa (Holiday): Smith-Marsette scored on a 98-yard kickoff return. He also had a six-yard touchdown run and a 12-yard touchdown catch.
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