The main course has yet to arrive for college football fans, but the appetizers offered up during Saturday’s bowl games were scrumptious treats that featured some big-time performances.
An all-time NCAA record was broken by one of the best players in college football most fans have never heard of. Meanwhile, in the same game, one player’s career ended on a particularly bitter note. An ironic twist capped off one bowl game and some windy conditions had a lot to do with another.
We’ll take a look at these stories and more as we examine the top takeaways from Saturday’s slate of bowl games.
1. Irony and agony at conclusion of the Celebration Bowl
Get this. In the waning moments of the game between Grambling State and North Carolina Central Saturday, a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration kept the Eagles from potentially winning…the Celebration Bowl.
Here’s what happened.
North Carolina Central quarterback Malcolm Bell, who had a miserable game overall, finally found a receiver for a touchown with a little over two minutes remaining in the game. The receiver who caught the 39-yard touchdown pass, Quentin Atkinson, then got caught up in the moment, took his helmet off and began to celebrate with the crowd.
That’s a huge no-no in college football. And it earned Atkinson a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration. That moved the extra point back 15 yards, and from that distance kicker Brandon McLaren had his extra point attempt blocked. That blocked kick was the difference in the game, as Grambling went on to win by the score of 10-9.
“I kind of felt fault for that,” Atkinson said after the game, per the Associated Press. “I do want to apologize to my team for that because that was a selfish act. I’m not selfish, but it was the heat of the moment and I was excited to bring the team back with an outstanding play.”