When I heard that West Virginia would be facing Florida State in the Gator Bowl, my first impression was that it was a lose-lose situation
If the Mountaineers beat the Seminoles they wouldn't get credit for beating a mediocre ACC team. That, plus the fact that the Seminoles would be bound and determined to send out their great coach Bobby Bowden with a victory.
They were. and they did..
The game couldn't have started out any better for the Mountaineers. Jarrett Brown and Noel Devine both made big plays as WVU scored on its first 2 possessions it looked like the game VA going to be a laugher.
but the Seminoles got the wake up call and scored 23 unanswered points to take a lead they would never give up.. Florida State would win it 33-21 to send Bowden out a winner and end West Virginia's incredible 4 game bowl winning streak
The college career of Jarrett Brown was cut short by a half. He injured his ankle in the second quarter and never returned. Freshman Geno Smith was thrown into a tough situation in front of a record setting crowd. He did some nice things and led WVU on a touchdown drive.
Noel Devine had a huge game in his home state. The junior rushed for 168 yards , averaging 10 yards a carry and scoring a touchdown,
The big question now is will Devine enter the NFL draft and give up his senior season.? No word yet from Devine. But his mentor and adviser Deon Sanders was on hand at the game
9-4 and a bowl loss won't satisfy some Mountaineer fans, But this was a transition season, and the Geno Smith era at WVU starts next fall.
Gator Bowl Tidbits
The day started out gray and rainy, but the rain stopped by kickoff, and all the clouds were gone by the third quarter.
I neglected to bring any rain gear for the camera, but I got some trash bags to us as plan "B" if I needed it. Thankfully, I didn't.
The Gator Bowl did its best to give Bobby Bowden a great sendoff. There was a video tribute on the score board before he game, and he was presented with a new car.
The Gator Bowl Committee made the media feel less than welcome by assigning who could cover the coaches post game press conferences. TV stations were invited to go into a separate room and shoot the preceedings off of projection screen. Thanks, but no thanks..
Field level media (still photographers and TV crews were treated as second class citizens. Even though one of the country's largest Maxwell House processing plant within a stone's throw of the stadium, there was no coffee in the press room.
Which I guess was a good thing because there were just 2 single toilet restrooms serving the hundreds of on field media members and workers. Those who couldn't stand in the ever growing lines earned the Gator Bowl Iron Bladder Award