This is an article from the Jan. 10, 2005 issue
QB MATT LEINART
He lived up to his Heisman nod with a phenomenal performance in the BCS title game: 18 of 35 for 332 yards and an Orange Bowl--record five touchdown passes.
RB VINCE YOUNG
Sure, Young lines up under center, but it was his 192 yards and four touchdowns on the ground that propelled the Longhorns past Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
RB LEON WASHINGTON
FLORIDA STATE JR.
Washington carried the Seminoles to a 30-18 win over West Virginia in the Gator Bowl, rushing for 195 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown.
WR BRAYLON EDWARDS
Though Michigan lost a heartbreaker in the Rose, Edwards showed why he's the nation's best wideout by catching 10 passes for 109 yards and three touchdowns.
WR STEVE SMITH
He had seven catches for 113 yards and three scores in the demolition of Oklahoma; teammate Dwayne Jarrett (five receptions, 115 yards, one TD) deserves co-honors.
RT CLINT STICKDOM
Stickdom fended off Marshall star Johnathan Goddard and helped the Bearcats rack up 399 yards of offense in a 32--14 Fort Worth Bowl win.
LG ROB SMITH
In a 38-7 Cotton Bowl triumph over Texas A&M, Smith was the key cog in a dominating line that helped produce 474 yards of offense.
RG AUGUST ROITSCH
Roitsch helped the Middies rush for 269 yards and produce a 26-play scoring drive that ate up 14:26 in a 34-19 victory over New Mexico in the Emerald Bowl.
LT LOGAN MANKINS
FRESNO STATE SR.
The 6'4", 320-pound Mankins paved the way for the Bulldogs to run for 222 yards in a 37-34 victory over Virginia in the MPC Computer Bowl.
C GREG ESLINGER MINNESOTA JR.
Alabama's tough defense couldn't handle Eslinger and his linemates, behind whom the Gophers rushed for 276 yards in a 20-16 Music City Bowl win.
TE JOE NEWTON
OREGON STATE SOPH.
Newton was the difference in the Beavers' 38-21 Insight Bowl win over Notre Dame, catching seven passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
K MATT NUZIE
Nuzie was Mr. Automatic, hitting all four of his field goal tries to help the Huskies to their first-ever bowl victory, a 3910 win over Toledo in the Motor City.
DE DAVID POLLACK
Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco was victimized time and again by Pollack, who sacked him three times and caused a fumble in a 24-21 Outback Bowl win.
DE MATHIAS KIWANUKA
BOSTON COLLEGE JR.
Kiwanuka was a force in the Eagles' 37-24 victory over North Carolina in the Continental Tire Bowl, with seven tackles and two sacks.
DT STEVE FIFITA
Led by Fifita, whose five stops included two for loss, the Utes proved they can play defense too and capped an undefeated season with a 35-7 Fiesta thrashing of Pitt.
DT DARRYL RICHARD
GEORGIA TECH FR.
The 6'4", 300-pound Richard had two sacks and a fourth-quarter safety in the Yellow Jackets' 51-14 drubbing of Syracuse in the Champs Sports Bowl.
LB MICHAEL BOLEY
SOUTHERN MISS SR.
Anchoring a unit that held North Texas to 212 yards in a 31-10 New Orleans Bowl win, Boley had eight tackles and returned an interception 62 yards for a touchdown.
LB LOFA TATUPU
Omnipresent in the Orange Bowl, the former I-AA transfer had 12 tackles, caused a fumble and spearheaded a defense that neutralized Jason White and Adrian Peterson.
LB DALE ROBINSON
ARIZONA STATE JR
With 11 tackles, including three for loss, Robinson helped hold Purdue to just 66 rushing yards in the Sun Devils' 27-23 victory in the Sun Bowl.
SS NIK MOSER
IOWA STATE JR.
Moser forced a fumble and had two sacks, one of them on fourth-and-two in the fourth quarter of the Cyclones' 17-13 Independence Bowl win over Miami (Ohio).
FS VINCENT MEEKS
TEXAS TECH JR.
His 48-yard interception return in the second quarter set up the go-ahead touchdown in the Red Raiders' 45-31 Holiday Bowl upset of Cal.
CB DEVIN HESTER
Hester ran back a blocked field goal 78 yards for a touchdown and returned an interception 28 yards to set up a field goal in a 27-10 Peach Bowl romp over Florida.
CB VAUGHN KELLEY
After knocking New Mexico running back DonTrell Moore out early in a 34-19 Emerald Bowl win, Kelley stopped D.D. Cox on fourth-and-one in the fourth.
P JON TORP
Torp ran 22 yards for a first down on a fake punt in the fourth quarter of the Houston Bowl against UTEP, setting up the go-ahead TD in a 33-28 Buffaloes win.
COACH PETE CARROLL USC The Trojans' buoyant leader kept his team loose in the week leading up to the Orange Bowl, then pulled out the perfect game plan to exploit his young squad's speed and athleticism in a stunning title-game rout.