Cotton Bowl: Since the Fiesta Bowl took Oklahoma and Tennessee off the table already, the Cotton Bowl "settled" for the other likely Big 12-SEC 2nd round pairing: LSU and Texas. That game would probably be a guaranteed capacity sellout.
Holiday Bowl: The Holiday Bowl was left with a likely match of Ohio State and USC, a.k.a. Rose Bowl Lite. Nice.
Game 1: No. 15 Utah Utes (9-2) VS. No. 2 LSU Tigers (12-1)
Tiger Stadium - Baton Rouge, La.
Saturday, Dec. 13, 2003 - 11 AM EST
Wind: Vrbl 5 MPH
Final Score: LSU 31, Utah 6
Player of the Game
LSU RB Alley Broussard
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Entering the 2003 playoff, the Mountain West Conference had yet to win a game.
LSU more than made sure Utah wouldn't be the first Mountain West team to do so.
The Tigers (13-1) dominated the Utes (9-3) from start to finish in a 31-6 home rout, advancing to the 2nd round to face the winner of tonight's game between Miami and Texas.
LSU out-rushed Utah 301-162 behind a three-headed monster: Joseph Addai (14 carries, 91 yards, 1 TD), Alley Broussard (13 carries, 90 yards, 2 TDs) and Shyrone Carey (11 carries, 45 yards, 1 TD).
The Tigers needed every bit of that rushing edge; Matt Mauck was less than impressive, going 7 of 12 for 113 yards and an INT. For the Utes, Alex Smith was also less than impressive (8-16, 68 yards), but that was somewhat offset by Brandon Warfield's 27 carries for 124 yards.
LSU responded to an early 3-0 deficit with 3 TDs from its RBs, and that 21-3 halftime edge proved decisive since Utah never could cross into the end zome. At least the Utes do not face an uncertain future; they accepted a bid to the Liberty Bowl to play Southern Miss.
Game 2: No. 3 USC Trojans (11-1) VS. No. 14 North Texas Mean Green (9-3)
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - Los Angeles, Calif.
Saturday, Dec. 13, 2003 - 10 AM PST
Precipitation: Light Rain
Final Score: USC 37, North Texas 9
Player of the Game
USC QB Matt Leinart
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Of late, North Texas is used to taking a short drive north to be ejected from the playoff at the hands of the Oklahoma Sooners.
A change-of-pace flight to Los Angeles brought similar results for the Mean Green (9-4), who were thoroughly dominated by the USC Trojans (12-1), 37-9.
Matt Leinart was spectacular for the Trojans, completing 23 of 38 passes for 319 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. His counterpart, Scott Hall, was not quite so prolific (13-22, 209 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT).
Patrick Cobbs turned heads, at least, rushing 35 times for 130 yards in a losing effort, while Mike Williams led the Trojans in offense with 7 catches for 89 yards. Ryan Killeen was a perfect 3 for 3 on FGs for the Trojans.
USC rattled off 17 straight points in the 1st quarter en route to a 24-3 halftime lead, which they later stretched to 37-3 before North Texas completed a meaningless TD pass as time expired. The Trojans will advance to face the winner of Kansas State and Ohio State, while North Texas will likely go to the New Orleans Bowl.
Game 3: No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-2) VS. No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats (11-3)
Ohio Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
Saturday, Dec. 13, 2003 - 4:30 PM EST
Wind: NW 13 MPH
Final Score: Kansas State 35, Ohio State 7
Player of the Game
Kansas State QB Ell Roberson
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Just one week previous, Kansas State shocked the college football world by upsetting the heavily-favored Oklahoma Sooners 35-7.
Chalk that up as the Wildcats' magic number.
K-State (12-3) waltzed out of the Horseshoe with a win over Ohio State (10-3) by the exact same score, and in the process secured Bill Snyder's 12th playoff victory.
The unusual star of this win was K-State kicker Joe Rheem, who was a perfect 7 of 7 on FGs. Rheem kicked two in the 1st quarter for a 6-0 Wildcat lead, three more to stretch that lead to 15-0 at halftime and sandwiched two more around a 3rd quarter Darren Sproles punt return TD for a decisive 28-0 K-State lead after three periods.
QB Ell Roberson (12-16, 192 yards, 1 TD) didn't even get into the act until two minutes remained in the game, when he hooked up with TE Brian Casey for a 23-yard TD. Sproles was his usual brilliant self, and the Buckeyes proved no more adept at containing him than the Sooners were, as he jitterbugged his way to 132 yards on 22 carries.
K-State's defense pressured Craig Krenzel all night, holding him to just 10-of-31 passing for 166 yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs. Now K-State is set for a threepeat game with USC, who they beat in Los Angeles in 2001 and in Manhattan in 2002.
Game 4: No. 7 Texas Longhorns (10-2) VS. No. 10 Miami Hurricanes (10-2)
Texas Memorial Stadium - Austin, Texas
Saturday, Dec. 13, 2003 - 7 PM CST
Wind: Vrbl 3 MPH
Final Score: Texas 40, Miami 14
Player of the Game
Texas RB Cedric Benson
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Two of college football's most storied programs faced off Saturday night, but the hype may have exceeded the reality.
Texas (11-2) easily dispatched Miami (10-3) to advance to the 2nd round for the second time in three years. The 40-14 loss continued a disappointing string of playoff performances for the Hurricanes, who have now lost in the 1st round for the second consecutive year.
The Longhorns featured dominant players in all facets - passing (Chance Mock: 12-19, 150 yards, 2 TDs), rushing (Cedric Benson: 32 carries, 238 yards, 1 TD), kicking (Dusty Mangum: 4-5 FGs) and even pass defense (Miami QB Brock Berlin threw a staggering 7 INTs, including three to Derrick Johnson and two to Nathan Vasher).
Berlin had a woeful night in general, completing just 13 of 33 passes for 153 yards, 1 TD and 7 INTs. Jarrett Payton's 18 carries for 125 yards and 1 TD were the lone bright spot for the Hurricanes, who fought their way to a 14-14 tie early, but surrendered 21 unanswered points en route to a 31-14 halftime deficit and never recovered.
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Capital One Bowl
#5 Florida State vs. #13 Boise State
Florida Citrus Bowl
SBC Communications Cotton Bowl Classic
#2 LSU vs. #7 Texas
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
#3 USC vs. #11 Kansas State
San Diego, Calif.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
#1 Oklahoma vs. #9 Miami University
Sun Devil Stadium