2010 Gator Bowl

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2010 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl
1 2 3 4 Total
West Virginia 14 0 0 7 21
Florida State 3 10 10 10 33
Date January 1, 2010
Season 2009
Stadium Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
Location Jacksonville, Florida
MVP E.J. Manuel
Referee Dave Witvoet (Big Ten)
Attendance 84,129
Payout US$2.5 Million
United States TV coverage
Network CBS
Announcers: Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, and
Tracy Wolfson
Nielsen ratings 4.0[1]
Gator Bowl
 < 2009  2011

The 2010 Gator Bowl game was a post-season college football bowl game between the Florida State University Seminoles from the ACC, and the West Virginia University Mountaineers representing the Big East, and was played on Friday, January 1, 2010, at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida.[2] It was the sixty fifth edition of the bowl game.

The game was the last one to be coached by legendary Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden prior to his retirement. Bowden had publicly stated that he would like to coach the game in the state of Florida — which created what amounts to a Florida State home game.[3] Prior to coaching at FSU, Bowden was the head coach at West Virginia. Therefore, many felt that the bowl game would serve as a fitting end to his career. Forty-two of Bowden's 389 career wins came at West Virginia between 1970-1975. He was West Virginia's offensive coordinator for four seasons before becoming the head coach. Gator Bowl officials confirmed to The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina that if they had the chance, they would select the Seminoles.[4]

The main obstacle that surrounded the proposition was that Florida State finished 4-4 in ACC play. Under normal conditions, had Georgia Tech lost the ACC Championship Game to Clemson and been passed over for the Chick-fil-A Bowl then it would have been difficult for the Gator Bowl not to choose Georgia Tech because of the ACC's rule that states, "a team cannot be passed for consideration by an ACC bowl partner for a team more than one loss behind in the conference standings." In this case, the Gator Bowl would have theoretically not been able to pass over Georgia Tech, Clemson and Virginia Tech in favor of Florida State. However, Gator Bowl officials stated that under the same contract the bowl only has to invite the ACC title game loser once in four years, which it did with Georgia Tech in 2007.[5]

Both Florida State and West Virginia had played in the Gator Bowl six times prior to this game. The two teams met in the Gator Bowl on two prior occasions, first in 1982 with FSU winning 31-12 and then again in 2005 with the Seminoles winning 30-18. The 1982 game was the start of Florida State's current 28-year streak of playing in bowl games.

Pregame events[edit]

Activity Sponsor When
Golf tournaments Gator Bowl Association September/December
Red Wagon Parade Gator Bowl Association September
Little Gator Bowl Pop Warner Championships Gator Bowl Association November
Players Welcome at Dave and Busters CSX Transportation Gator Bowl week Day 1
Adventure Landing Player's Outing Gator Bowl Association Gator Bowl week Day 2/3
Fellowship of Christian Athletes Breakfast First Baptist Church Gator Bowl week Day 4
Day at the Jacksonville Zoo Outback Steakhouse Gator Bowl week Day 5
Coaches Luncheon/Hall of Fame Induction Gate Petroleum Gator Bowl week Day 6
5K Run VyStar Credit Union Gator Bowl week day 6
Gator Bowl Parade Winn Dixie Gator Bowl week day 6
Pep Rally Jacksonville Landing Gator Bowl week day 6
St. Johns River Midnight Fireworks City of Jacksonville Gator Bowl week day 6
Touchdown party at Fairgrounds Florida Times-Union Gator Bowl week day 7
Stadium Tailgate party Budweiser Gator Bowl week day 7
Gator Bowl Football Game Konica Minolta Gator Bowl week day 7

Game summary[edit]

Seminoles tailback Jermaine Thomas ran for two touchdowns, Florida State scored 20 straight points to take control and the Seminoles knocked off No. 18 West Virginia 33-21 in the final game of Bobby Bowden's storied 44-year career as a head coach. Bowden finished with a 389-129-4 record, and most importantly to him, a 33rd consecutive winning season. West Virginia took the opening kickoff and scored without much resistance, a 72-yard, eight-play drive capped by a 32-yard touchdown rush by starting quarterback Jarrett Brown, who was injured in the second quarter. The Mountaineers went up 14-3 on their second possession, after Noel Devine broke off a 70-yard run to get inside the Florida State 5, then wound up scoring from 1 yard out. After Jamie Robinson intercepted Brown early in the second quarter, Florida State got back into it on Thomas' first touchdown of the day, a 12-yard rush. Dustin Hopkins, who missed a 37-yard try earlier in the period, connected on a 42-yard field goal with 8 seconds left in the half, getting the Seminoles within 14-13 at the break.

After the second-half kickoff was taken 69 yards to the West Virginia 9, FSU kicked another field goal. Then a Jarmon Fortson ridiculous, leaping, one-handed, 29-yard catch, Thomas scored from 19 yards out later in the third to give Florida State a 23-14 lead into entering the last 15 minutes of Bowden's career. Ryan Clarke plunged in from 5 yards away for West Virginia on the first play of the fourth quarter, but the Seminoles answered with a methodical drive to restore the nine-point lead, quarterback E.J. Manuel's 2-yard touchdown burst putting Florida State up 30-21.

West Virginia's school-record four-game bowl winning streak came to an end with the loss. Florida State won five of its final seven games of the season after a three-game losing streak. In his 33rd and presumably final bowl game, Bobby Bowden won again, bringing his career bowl record to 22-10-1. His .682 bowl winning percentage is the best in NCAA history among coaches to coach in at least 20 bowl games.[6]

Scoring summary[edit]

Scoring Play Score
1st Quarter
WVU — Jarrett Brown 31-yard rush (Tyler Bitancurt kick), 11:45 WVU 7-0
FSU — Dustin Hopkins 26 Yd FG, 7:06 WVU 7-3
WVU — Noel Devine 1-yard rush (Tyler Bitancurt kick), 5:13 WVU 14-3
2nd Quarter
FSU — Jermaine Thomas 12 Yd Run (Dustin Hopkins Kick), 10:57 WVU 14-10
FSU — Dustin Hopkins 42 Yd FG, 00:08 WVU 14-13
3rd Quarter
FSU — Dustin Hopkins 22 Yd FG, 12:15 FSU 16-14
FSU — Jermaine Thomas 19 Yd Run (Dustin Hopkins Kick), 3:50 FSU 23-14
4th Quarter
WVU — Ryan Clarke 5 Yd Run (Tyler Bitancurt Kick), 14:56 FSU 23-21
FSU — E.J. Manuel 2 Yd Run (Dustin Hopkins Kick), 8:54 FSU 30-21
FSU — Dustin Hopkins 37 Yd FG, 2:02 FSU 33-21

References[edit]

External links[edit]