The 2019 season ended in fitting fashion on Monday night as Joe Burrow and LSU punctuated their perfect season with a 42-25 victory over Clemson for the national title. Burrow finished bowl season as the talk of college football, and rightly so, breaking the single-season touchdown record after a dominant Heisman campaign.
But the future No. 1 pick wasn’t the only standout star. Running back Journey Brown carried Penn State in the Cotton Bowl, and safety Brady Breeze finished Oregon’s season with a bang in the Rose Bowl. The decade came to a close with a slate of memorable performances.
Here is Sports Illustrated’s 2019-20 All-Bowl Team:
QB: Joe Burrow, LSU (College Football Playoff)
Who else could it possibly be? The Heisman Trophy winner completed his dream season in style in the College Football Playoff, combining for 955 passing yards and 12 touchdowns in two games. Burrow’s 2019 will go down as one of the greatest seasons in college football history. He’ll never buy a drink in Baton Rouge again.
RB: Journey Brown, Penn State (Cotton Bowl)
Penn State got caught in a shootout against Memphis in the Cotton Bowl, and there was no Trace McSorley in sight to save the Nittany Lions on Dec. 28. Journey Brown didn’t seem to mind. The sophomore racked up 202 rushing yards on just 16 carries in Penn State’s 53-39 win, including a 56-yard scamper for a touchdown in the second quarter. Brown should be one of the Big Ten’s premier backs in 2020.
RB: Xazavian Valladay, Wyoming (Arizona Bowl)
Also a candidate for our all-name team, Valladay was a dual-threat nightmare against Georgia State in the Arizona Bowl. The sophomore ran for 204 yards and added 91 as a receiver, scoring from 63-yards out in the Cowboys’ romp. Craig Bohl continues to build a good program in Laramie.
WR: Justin Jefferson, LSU (College Football Playoff)
Jefferson absolutely torched Oklahoma in the national semifinal, putting on a first-half performance for the ages in the Tigers’ 63-28 blowout. Jefferson caught 14 passes for 227 yards on the afternoon, and he scored four of LSU’s first five touchdowns in Atlanta. Jefferson added nine catches and 106 yards for good measure in the national championship.
WR: Tyler Johnson, Minnesota (Outback Bowl)
Johnson seized the program record for receiving yards in the Gophers’ Outback Bowl victory. The 6’2” senior caught 12 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns, keying an upset of Auburn. Johnson had seven 100-yard games this season. Expect to see him on plenty of Sundays down the road.
TE: Thaddeus Moss, LSU (College Football Playoff)
I promise to end the LSU-fest here, but Moss was a critical red-zone weapon for Burrow in the College Football Playoff. The son of NFL Hall-of-Famer Randy Moss, Thaddeus caught two touchdown passes in the title game, including a four-yard score to give LSU a two-score lead late in the third quarter. It was a long road to New Orleans for Moss, who missed both the 2017 and 2018 seasons due to transfer and injury. The wait paid off on Monday.
Offensive Line: Texas Longhorns (Alamo Bowl)
A Longhorns line that struggled to keep Sam Ehlinger upright for much of the season absolutely steamrolled Utah in the Alamo Bowl. Texas ran for 231 yards on 37 carries in the victory, facing third down just nine times. The Utes are traditionally stout on the defensive line. They were bullied by Texas in San Antonio.
DL: A.J. Epenesa, Iowa (Holiday Bowl)
Epenesa closed his career with the Hawkeyes in impressive fashion with 2.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss, combining for over 25 sacks in the last two seasons. Next up for Epenesa? The NFL draft, where he’s expected to be a top-10 pick.
DL: Kobe Jones, Mississippi State (Music City Bowl)
Jones held up his end of the bargain as Mississippi State failed to save Joe Moorhead’s job at the Music City Bowl. The junior tallied two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss, keeping Louisville in check in the first half. Jones’ performance wasn’t enough, though, as the Cardinals threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns in their first bowl win under Scott Satterfield.
DL: Kenny Willekes, Michigan State (Pinstripe Bowl)
Willekes turned in quite the career for the Spartans. The redshirt senior tallied 23.5 sacks and 49 tackles for loss in his last three seasons, including a dominant effort against Wake Forest at Yankee Stadium. Willekes finished the afternoon with nine tackles and 1.5 sacks, leading a defense that shut out Wake Forest in the final 30 minutes. The victory salvaged a difficult season in East Lansing.
LB: Connor Taylor, Louisiana Tech (Independence Bowl)
Louisiana Tech 14, Miami 0 was perhaps the oddest score of the bowl season as the Hurricanes completed just 15 of 34 passes for 153 yards. Bulldogs linebacker Connor Taylor was a key reason for Miami’s ineptitude. Taylor finished the Independence Bowl with nine tackles and 1.5 sacks, shutting down Miami’s attack en route to the game’s Defensive MVP. Skip Holtz’s program has now won six straight bowl games dating back to 2014.
LB: Joseph Ossai, Texas (Alamo Bowl)
Ossai spent most of New Year’s Eve in the Utes’ backfield as he finished the Longhorns’ victory with three sacks and six tackles for loss. Texas underachieved in 2019, but there is plenty of defensive talent returning in the fourth year of the Tom Herman era. Ossai could earn All-Big 12 status in his junior season.
LB: Micah Parsons, Penn State (Cotton Bowl)
Amassing 109 tackles in 13 games is quite the feat, and Parsons saved the best for last in the Cotton Bowl. The sophomore linebacker racked up 14 tackles (three for loss) along with two sacks, leading the team in tackles for a second straight year. The next great Penn State linebacker has arrived.
DB: Brady Breeze, Oregon (Rose Bowl)
Eleven tackles, one touchdown and a Rose Bowl Defensive MVP was a pretty sweet way to ring in 2020 for the junior safety. Breeze was sturdy in the box and tactical manning the Ducks’ secondary, limiting Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan to just 186 yards and one interception. Breeze was pivotal in a strong close to the Justin Herbert era.
DB: Khoury Bethley, Hawaii (Hawaii Bowl)
Bethley was instrumental in the final win of Nick Rolovich’s tenure as the sophomore secured two interceptions in Hawaii’s 38-34 win over BYU. Bethley’s second interception sealed Hawaii’s win with 52 seconds to go, ending the game as the Cougars were beginning to make a march down the field. The Christmas Eve tilt was one of the most fun games of bowl season.
DB: Elijah Molden, Washington (Las Vegas Bowl)
Molden and the Huskies completely shut down Boise State in Vegas. The Broncos failed to score in the first half, and starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier threw for just 119 yards while adding two interceptions. Molden picked off Bachmeier in Boise State’s first drive of the second half, all but ending any possibility of a comeback. Chris Petersen had his team ready to play in his final game before retirement.
DB: Richie Grant, UCF (Gasparilla Bowl)
Grant was one of two UCF defenders with strong performances in the Gasparilla Bowl. He finished the night with 10 tackles and an interception, scoring the Knights’ first touchdown of the day on a pick-six on Marshall’s opening drive. UCF defensive back Antwan Collier added six tackles and an interception in the 48-25 victory.
K: Riley Patterson, Memphis (Cotton Bowl)
Memphis couldn’t keep pace with the Nittany Lions in Arlington, but kicker Riley Patterson certainly delivered in the Tigers’ loss. The junior went 6-6 on field goals, converting from 40-plus yards out four times. Kicking in the friendly confines of AT&T Stadium certainly didn’t hurt.
All-Purpose: Lynn Bowden, Kentucky (Belk Bowl)
What can’t Lynn Bowden do? The Paul Hornung Award winner was a dynamic multipurpose threat this season, accumulating 1,816 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns (13 rushing, three passing, one receiving) for Kentucky. Bowden bullied Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl with 233 yards rushing, and he showed off his arm as well, tossing the game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute remaining. Bowden may be the non-Burrow MVP of bowl season.
P: Michael Turk, Arizona State (Sun Bowl)
Turk was arguably the MVP of a grind-it-out affair in El Paso, booming eight punts for a whopping 366 yards. The Sun Devils threw for 195 yards, averaged 2.4 yards per carry and won. Herm Edwards has his punter to thank.