Rose Bowl: The Rose Bowl chose first and selected the north side of the bracket because it is guaranteed either Iowa or USC. Texas or Utah is just a bonus.
Fiesta Bowl: The Fiesta Bowl was left with a potential semifinal showdown of unbeatens: Auburn vs. Oklahoma.
Game 1: No. 1 USC Trojans (13-0) VS. No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes (10-2)
Capital One Bowl
Florida Citrus Bowl - Orlando, Fla.
Saturday, Dec. 18, 2004 - 11 AM EST
Wind: SW 6 MPH
Final Score: USC 33, Iowa 7
Player of the Game
USC RB LenDale White
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - For approximately eight minutes Saturday, Iowa fans could realistically entertain hopes of the program's first Final Four appearance.
The remaining 52 minutes were a cold dose of reality, revealing just how much ground remains for the Hawkeyes (10-3) to make up before they can legitimately challenge for a national championship.
USC (14-0) shrugged off the early 7-0 Iowa lead en route to a dominating 33-7 Capital One Bowl victory, and the Trojans are now headed to their second Final Four in three years.
Although LenDale White (22 carries, 89 yards, 2 TDs) earned Player of the Game honors, the performance of the running backs wasn't what won this game for USC. That distinction goes to Heisman-winning QB Matt Leinart (18-25, 245 yards, 1 INT) and his favorite target, Jason Mitchell, who caught three passes for 107 yards.
Additionally, kicker Ryan Killeen connected on FGs of 50, 43, 28 and 25 yards (although he missed from 45 and 44, as well).
Iowa was unable to match that production in any facet of the game. The Hawkeyes accumulated less than 100 total rushing yards, they were unable to attempt even a single FG and QB Drew Tate was a woeful 9 of 30 for 95 yards and 2 TDs.
Game 2: No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners (13-0) VS. No. 7 Virginia Tech Hokies (11-2)
SBC Communications Cotton Bowl Classic
Cotton Bowl - Dallas, Texas
Saturday, Dec. 18, 2004 - 12 PM CST
Wind: SE 9 MPH
Final Score: Oklahoma 45, Virginia Tech 14
Player of the Game
Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson
DALLAS (AP) - Frank Beamer is one of the winningest coaches in playoff history (by percentage), but that doesn't carry much weight when you're coaching against one of the few coaches who ranks ahead of you.
Bob Stoops won his 11th playoff game and Oklahoma (14-0) advanced to its third consecutive Final Four - and its fourth in the last five years - with a 45-14 statement victory over Virginia Tech (11-3) in the Cotton Bowl.
Freshman sensation Adrian Peterson lived up to his nickname as he ran all over the Hokies "All Day" to the tune of 31 carries, 218 yards and 2 TDs. Kejuan Jones added another 92 yards and 3 TDs on 17 carries to complete the potent Sooner rushing attack, while Jason White complemented them through the air with 24-of-35 passing for 252 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.
Seldom-used backup Hokie RB John Candelas had a career day, rushing 10 times for 101 yards and a TD, but that was by far the best performance out of a Virginia Tech player Saturday. Bryan Randall was a pedestrian 5 of 13 for just 41 yards passing.
Game 3: No. 4 Texas Longhorns (11-1) VS. No. 5 Utah Utes (12-0)
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, Calif.
Saturday, Dec. 18, 2004 - 1:30 PM PST
Wind: N 7 MPH
Final Score: Texas 61, Utah 10
Player of the Game
Texas RB Cedric Benson
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Utah wanted to prove it belongs with the big boys.
Texas proved otherwise.
The Longhorns (12-1) crushed the Utes (12-1) 61-10 in the Holiday Bowl, sending Utah home with an ugly blemish to end its otherwise perfect season and advancing to the second Final Four in school history.
The Utes simply had no answer for Cedric Benson, who set a new NCAA rushing record with 394 yards on 40 carries and punched in six rushing TDs. To add to Utah's pain, Vince Young - not normally known for his passing prowess - was a perfect 7 of 7 for 118 yards through the air, while Dusty Mangum was a perfect 4 of 4 on FGs.
Meanwhile, the Longhorn defense stifled Utah all game long, forcing QB Alex Smith (5-15, 117 yards, 1 INT) into his worst game of the season and allowing no more than 33 yards to any individual Ute running back.
"We laid a big, fat egg today, and I take full responsibility," said Utah coach Urban Meyer after the game. "I feel horrible for all our loyal fans who traveled out to San Diego and packed this stadium to support us. We let you down."
Utah's only TD came on a punt return with 2:15 left in the game, but by then, there were very few Ute fans left in Qualcomm Stadium to cheer for anything.
Game 4: No. 3 Auburn Tigers (13-0) VS. No. 11 Louisville Cardinals (11-1)
Nokia Sugar Bowl
Louisiana Superdome - New Orleans, La.
Saturday, Dec. 18, 2004 - 8 PM EST
Precipitation: none (dome)
Temperature: 70 (dome)
Wind: none (dome)
Final Score: Louisville 45, Auburn 20
Player of the Game
Louisville RB Michael Bush
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The favorites held serve all day - by very large margins of victory, too - but the night belongs to the underdogs.
No. 11 seed Louisville (12-1) overcame a hostile crows and upset No. 3 seed Auburn (13-1) 45-20 to win the Sugar Bowl and become only the fifth double-digit seed to advance to the Final Four - the first in school history - and only the third school from a so-called "mid-major" conference to reach the 3rd round of the FBS Playoff.
Carnell Williams (23 carries, 122 yards, 1 TD) and Ronnie Brown (15 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD) received most of the hype entering the game, but Michael Bush (16 carries, 123 yards, 1 TD) and Eric Shelton (22 carries, 93 yards, 2 TDs) were able to generate enough rushing production to largely offset the highly-touted Auburn duo.
Louisville QB Stefan LeFors was efficient, completing 8 of 11 passes for 84 yards and a TD, while Auburn QB Jason Campbell was more erratic, completing only 7 of his 18 passes for 107 yards and tossing two INTs.
The two teams were tied after one quarter, 3-3, and after one half as well, 10-10, but Louisville seized control in the 3rd period, outscoring Auburn 21-7 behind TD runs from Bush, Shelton and Lionel Gates (13 carries, 48 yards, 1 TD).
Kolby Smith (9 carries, 16 yards, 1 TD) and Shelton added two more TDs to that lead in the 4th quarter, while the Louisville defense held Auburn to just one FG in the final period and beat back any Tiger comeback attempt.
Having knocked off one unbeaten team, the Cardinals will try to make it two in a row next week when they take on the undefeated Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl.
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Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
#2 Oklahoma vs. #11 Louisville
Sun Devil Stadium
The Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi
#1 USC vs. #4 Texas