2021 Bowl Season Recap

Georgia won the National Championship, but what about some of the other bowls? Stick with us, because we’ll go through some of our favorites.


David_Grooms https://www.flickr.com/photos/99765040@N02/50552881021

A season to celebrate for, where teams hit highest highs, and lowest lows.

By Nathan Plunk, Copy Editor

With Monday’s Alabama vs. Georgia National Championship Game coming to a close, so does the 2021 college football bowl season. Some of the bowl games we saw were absolute nail-biters, while others would put even the most hardcore college football fans asleep. Either way, we’re going to recap some of the best and most notable games here, that way you don’t miss anything.


Tailgreeter Cure Bowl: Northern Illinois (9-5) vs. Coastal Carolina (11-2)

Score: 47-41, Coastal Carolina

Kicking off the first bowl game of the season, this was one I’m not sure many expected to be this close. Coastal Carolina started the game with a 76.9% chance to win, but by halftime, they were trailing 24-19. It was a back and forth game, with the lead changing eight times. However, with less than ten minutes left in the 4th quarter, NIU was leading 41-33.  Coastal Carolina quickly scored two touchdowns, and took the 47-41 lead with a little over six minutes on the clock. The game came to down to a final last minute drive, but Northern Illinois couldn’t put the ball in the endzone, on their opponents four yard line, as time expired.


Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl: UAB (9-4) vs. #13 BYU (10-3)

Score: 31-28, UAB

There were a lot of games played on the 18, but this was the most exciting. Whether because it was close, or an upset, it’s hard to be sure, but this one kept football fans from all over on their heels until the very end. By the end of the first quarter, UAB showed that they came to play with a 14-0 lead. The rest of the game was close, and BYU took their first lead of the night early in the fourth quarter. However when UAB scored with a little over six minutes on the clock, BYU wasn’t able to answer. Driving down the field, they had a controversial fumble call, where UAB recovered, and ran the clock out to when the game.


Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Missouri (6-7) vs. Army (9-4)

Score: 22-24, Army

First SEC bowl game of the year, and man was it a good one. Missouri quickly took control, and led at the half 16-7. However, Army scored 14 unanswered, and with the clock winding down, it looked like they might have it. However, after an 11 play, 83 yard drive by Missouri, the SEC team took the 22-21 lead, with a little over one minute left. Going for the two-point conversion, they missed it, which would could back to haunt them. The Black Knights would not back down, and ended up kicking a 41 yard field goal, right as time expired for the win.


Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl: UCF (9-4) vs. Florida (6-7)

Score: 29-17, UCF

University of Central Florida vs. Florida University…you know this is going to be a good game. These intra-state rivals battled it out, with UCF trying for a two point conversion after scoring their first touchdown (which they failed, making the score 6-7). It was a close game throughout, but UCF started to pull away late in the third, where they ended up scoring 13 unanswered from there until the end. Although the final score may not look too close, this game had the whole state of Florida watching it.


TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl: #20 Houston (12-2) vs. Auburn (6-7)

Score: 17-13, Houston

Practically a home game for them, this bowl was a little over two hours away from Auburn. However, Houston started off the game on a strong note, with a touchdown on their first drive of the game. From there, it was a close game, with UH maintaining the lead up until 3:52 in the third. Halfway through the fourth, though, the Cougars drove 80 yards down the field, ending in the endzone. Auburn would go four-and-out their next drive, solidifying the win for Houston.


Cheez-It Bowl: #19 Clemson (10-3) vs. Iowa State (7-6)

Score: 20-13, Clemson

Although nowhere near as bad as the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl, this game may gotten a few fans scared, after the halftime score was only 6-3. However, the game soon became more enjoyable (scoring wise, not record-breaking interceptions wise) when Clemson scored a touchdown, and then got a pick-six against the Cyclones the next drive. Despite looking like an insurmountable 20-3, Iowa State kept fighting, and fell short 20-13, after a late game fumble.


Valero Alamo Bowl: #14 Oregon (10-4) vs. #16 Oklahoma (11-2)

Score: 32-47, Oklahoma

A 30-3 lead by Oklahoma at halftime gave the Sooners over a 99% chance to win. However, Oregon kept their head up, and outscored OU 29-17 in the second half. Although the game was never close (except when the game clock read first quarter, 15:00), it was a high scoring game, and one offensive fans were sure to love.

Duke’s Mayo Bowl: North Carolina (6-7) vs. South Carolina (7-6)

Score: 21-38, South Carolina

Let’s be honest, unless you were a fan of one of these Carolina rivals, you most likely watched this game for the infamous Mayo Bath. The two teams have played each other 59 times, and this one went to the Gamecocks, with a dominant showing of 543 yards compared to the Tar Heels 333. What did coach Shane Beamer win? A trophy sure, but a heap of mayo on him as well.

TransPerfect Music City Bowl: Tennessee (7-6) vs. Purdue (9-4)

Score: 45-48 OT, Purdue

They only bowl game to go to overtime, this one had it all: close, high-scoring, and controversial calls. The entirety of the game was good, but the debate happened in overtime. Tennessee went for it on fourth down on the one yard line. The refs originally called the run short of the endzone, but after watching the replay, it was discovered that the runner never hit the ground, and actually reached over the goal line. Even after clear video evidence, the officials still called him down, saying forward progress was stopped. Purdue would go on to kick a field goal, and win the game.


Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl: #12 Pittsburgh (11-3) vs. #10 Michigan State (11-2)

Score: 21-31, Michigan State

Twenty-one unanswered points pushed the Spartans to a victory over Pittsburgh. The Panthers were very dominant in the first half, but started to fall apart in the fourth quarter. After Michigan State went up with a late touchdown and two-point conversion to put them ahead by three, Pittsburgh started to drive back, with a little under three minutes left. All was going well, until they threw a 78 yard pick-six, sealing the deal, and leading the Spartans to victory.

CFP Semifinal: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: #4 Cincinnati (13-1) vs. #1 Alabama (13-1)

Score: 6-27, Alabama

Cincinnati. Deserved. To. Be. In. The. Playoffs. There’s no debate about it. Group of Five is an opinion, their record was a fact. The final score may not have looked close, but if you watched the game, you would have seen that it was close. For almost the entire first half, the Bearcats trailed by a touchdown or less. It wasn’t until more towards the fourth quarter when Alabama pulled away. Cincinnati may not have won, but I feel they proved they deserved to be in that spot. Either way, they made history by being the first Group of Five team to make the playoffs.


CFP Semifinal: Capital One Orange Bowl: #3 Georgia (14-1) vs. #2 Michigan (12-2)

Score: 34-11, Georgia

Yeah…this one was rough. I felt inclined to include it because it was a playoff game, but ouch. The score being 27-3 at the half certainly didn’t help viewership ratings. I guess a dominant outing proves Georgia’s worthy of their National Championship title.


Vrbo Citrus Bowl: #15 Iowa (10-4) vs. #22 Kentucky (10-3)

Score: 17-20, Kentucky

An SEC-B1G matchup, this turned out to be a great game. With two minutes left in the fourth, the Hawkeyes had a 85.2% to win. However, after a touchdown drive from Kentucky, the Wildcats held a three point lead, 20-17. Iowa still had hope, and 1:48 left on the clock. Driving down the field though, Iowa made a fatal mistake when they threw an interception straight to DeAndre Square, as their QB tried to throw it away avoiding the sack.


PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: #9 Oklahoma State (12-2) vs. #5 Notre Dame (11-2)

Score: 37-35, Oklahoma State

After a painful loss to Baylor in the Big XII Championship, Oklahoma State was looking for a rebound. However, Notre Dame was not going to let them have it…until they did. Thirty unanswered points pushed the Cowboys to victory in this bowl. Trailing for most of the game, they tied it up with a little under three minutes in the third, and then had a field goal two minutes later to take the lead. Oklahoma State held on from there, sealing the thrilling comeback.


Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One Venture X: #11 Utah (10-4) vs. #6 Ohio State (11-2)

Score: 45-48, Ohio State

For the 87,000 fans that attended this game, they certainly got their money’s worth. Not only high scoring, but coming down to the very end, this game was certainly beautiful. Utah actually held the lead for most of the game, but Ohio State had the gas to finish on the home stretch. Every snap mattered, and both teams played their hearts out trying for the win.


Allstate Sugar Bowl: #7 Baylor (12-2) vs. #8 Ole Miss (10-3)

Score: 21-7, Baylor

Definitiely a defensive game, the end of the third quarter read 7-7. Matt Coral got injured during the first quarter, and Ole Miss was forced to put in Freshman Luke Altmyer, who went 15 for 28, with one touchdown, and two interceptions. One of the most impressive plays came from Baylor’s defensive back Al Walcott, who returned an interception 96 yards for a touchdown, giving Baylor the 7-0 lead. Low scoring, this was a game for those who love defense.


CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T: #3 Georgia (14-1) vs. #1 Alabama (13-2)

Score: 33-18, Georgia

The Georgia Bulldogs are this year’s National Champions! For the first time in over 40 years, Georgia took back the title, taking down Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Relatively low scoring at the beginning, this game took off in the fourth quarter. Georgia would end up rallying from a controversial fumble, and get two touchdowns in the fourth. They would then get a pick-six to ice the game, when Alabama was on their final drive. Both teams played great, and as far as the SEC Championship rematch went, it was pretty good.

Who were you cheering for in the National Championship?


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It was a great season for college football, and the bowl games reflected that perfectly. We got offense, defense, and everything in between. Every team in every game gave it their all, and it was clear to see. I can’t wait for the 2022 season, where things are bound to get even wilder.

*Final season records shown