Holiday Bowl Salute – Tuesday

Posted by on December 30th, 2014  •  0 Comments  • 

It’s one of the best things about San Diego.
What? The weather, the beaches, the Pacific breezes, Balboa Park, Petco Park, UCSD, the Zoo, the Chargers?  Yes, all that, and the Holiday Bowl.
The first time I paid attention to our Bowl Game, was sitting at home, snowed in on Long Island, freezing outside, warm inside, watching the shootout, seeing sunshine, the skyline, palm trees, and footballs flying everywhere.  
It was Brigham Young-SMU, Jim McMahon-vs-Craig James, the 46-45 Cougars win over the Mustangs and its Pony Express offense.  McMahon threw for 446-yards and God answered a Hail Mary call from him.  James ran for 225-yards in a dazzling back and forth display.
It would set the trend for what this bowl game would be for fans nationwide.  We’d see Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, Ty Detmer, Barry Sanders and other Heisman candidates.  We’d see wild offenses and college football’s 1-year wonders like ,Eric Crouch, Joey Harrington, Sonny Cumbie and more.
You could circle the date right around Christmas, to open gifts and see wide open offenses when the Holiday Bowl was played.
And such was the case Saturday night, as USC and Nebraska, two legendary powers, put on a fireworks football show, with the Trojans winning (45-42).  
The scoreboard lit up with a record 38-points in the 3rd quarter.  There was a 50-yard kickoff returns on the opening play, a 98-kick return for a TD on the very next kickoff, and a myriad of big plays like 42-yard runs and 72-yard TD catches.
When they were done, there were (1,040-Y) of offense, big sacks, big penalties, big time taunts, and bands that put on a splashy display too.  Nebraska had 8-drives that started from their own 42-yard line or further out, and yet the Trojans defense, on the field all night long, still had more stops than TDs scored against them.  And to think, USC returns 20 of its top 22-starters next year, and Nebraska gets its quarterback, wide receivers and most of its offensive line back.
There was AD-Pat Haden of Southern Cal on the sidelines, leading his school off the grossly unfair NCAA sanctions, free-at-last.  There was the ever popular Mike Riley wearing Nebraska red, rather than Oregon State Orange-Black, as he prepares to take over the Cornnhuskers.
There was Executive Director Emeritus John Reid, who helped found and run the bowl in its maiden voyage great years, and his current leaders, the Bowl Boys, Bruce Binkowski and Mark Neville, putting on two bowls, the Poinsettia and Holiday within a 5-day span.  And there were all those volunteers, wearing Red Coats, and their tireless effort to serve the football fans, the visiting schools and our city.
There were 55,000-plus carrying on the tradition of watching the scoreboard lights blow out there was so much offense on that given night.
There are many great things about San Diego, and the Holiday Bowl is one of them, a Chamber of Commerce advertisement to snowbound football fans across the nation, about our city and the heritage of this special game.
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