Over his final three prep seasons, Kenny Anunike helped the Olentangy High School football team make the playoffs in both 2005 and 2006 and finish 6-4 in 2007.

Over his final three prep seasons, Kenny Anunike helped the Olentangy High School football team make the playoffs in both 2005 and 2006 and finish 6-4 in 2007.

The university he would attend a few months later long has been known for its men's basketball team and high academic standards, but that didn't stop him from dreaming big regarding his football future.

This fall, the redshirt senior defensive end helped Duke, which won a combined 10 games from 2000-07, have its best season in program history.

Duke is 10-3 entering the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 against Texas A&M.

"Nobody could have written this," Anunike said. "We're 10-3 and we're looking to be 11-3 with this bowl game against Texas A&M. It is what I dreamed of when I first came on campus here."

After losing to Florida State and eventual Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston 45-7 on Dec. 7 in the ACC championship game, the Blue Devils now must face last year's Heisman winner in Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Duke, which posted its last winning season in 1994 when it went 8-4, reached double digits in wins for the first time.

Anunike and redshirt sophomore Matt Skura, a 2011 Worthington Kilbourne graduate, have been among the key contributors.

Anunike has 66 tackles and a team-leading six sacks, making him just the second player to lead Duke in sacks for three consecutive seasons.

Skura played in 10 games a year ago before becoming the Blue Devils' starting center this fall.

"When we were bowl eligible, (the seniors) were saying that isn't good enough and that we could still get better," Skura said. "(Going 10-3) is something that's hard to believe."

•FROM THE B1G -- Of the 75 players from central Ohio on rosters of teams that qualified for bowl games, 28 are from Big Ten Conference schools.

From Big Ten champion Michigan State, which plays Stanford in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, are DeSales graduate Travis Jackson and Watterson graduate Pat Rhomberg.

Michigan, which has gotten contributions from freshman tight end Jake Butt (Pickerington North) and sophomore defensive end Keith Heitzman (Hilliard Davidson), plays Kansas State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 28.

Ohio State has 19 central Ohio players on its roster, including starting linebacker Joshua Perry from Olentangy.

The Buckeyes play in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 3 against Clemson, which has a central Ohio connection in Cole Stoudt, a 2011 Dublin Coffman graduate who is the No. 2 quarterback. Stoudt has completed 47 of 59 passes for 415 yards with five touchdowns in eight games.

•BATTLING THE TIDE -- Chaz Nelson's final college game will come Jan. 2 for Oklahoma against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

After graduating from Beechcroft in 2009, Nelson ended up at Garden City Community College in Kansas and blossomed into a first-team National Junior College Athletic Association All-American in 2011.

That landed him a scholarship to Oklahoma, and he recorded one sack while serving mostly as a third-down pass rushing defensive end this fall as a redshirt senior.

Nelson, who is scheduled to graduate in May, has helped the Sooners to a 10-2 mark.

"The city of Norman (Okla.) is not bad at all," Nelson said. "I just like the environment here. (Coach Bob Stoops) cares about all of us. You can have a conversation with him. He's an Ohio native, too.

"I don't plan on coming back (to Ohio after I graduate). I just want to explore the world."

•MORE THAN PIZZA AT STAKE -- With a 47-27 win over Northern Illinois on Dec. 6, Bowling Green captured its first Mid-American Conference championship since 1992.

The Falcons, who are 10-3, hope for similar success when they return to Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Dec. 26, to play Pittsburgh in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl.

There are eight central Ohio players on Bowling Green's roster, including Jude Adjei-Barimah (DB, Northland), Alex Bayer (TE, Pickerington North), Jairus Campbell (DL, Pickerington North), Will Houston (RB/Dublin Scioto) and Alex Huettel (OL, Pickerington North).

Houston rushed for 11 touchdowns and Huettel is a starting offensive guard.

Northern Illinois entered the MAC title game at 12-0.

"We want to prove that Bowling Green is one of the elite teams in the country," said Bayer, who has 34 catches for 536 yards and three touchdowns. "We weren't in that championship game by accident. We were confident and we executed (against Northern Illinois)."

Brookhaven graduate Ryland Ward (DB) is a redshirt junior who is in his third season as a starter. After helping the Falcons reach the Military Bowl a year ago, he is second on the team in tackles with 71 and has two interceptions.

Coach Dave Clawson led Bowling Green to a 32-31 mark in five seasons before leaving at the end of the regular season to take over at Wake Forest.

"You look back to my redshirt freshman year, and the differences are crazy," Ward said. "(Clawson) allowed us to get out there and play and a lot of us played early in our careers."

•MOUNT UNION FALLS IN FINAL - Mount Union lost to Wisconsin-Whitewater 52-14 in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl for the Division III national title Dec. 20 in Salem, Va.

The Purple Raiders lost to Wisconsin-Whitewater each year from 2009-11 in the national championship game but last year beat St. Thomas (Minn.) 28-10 to win their 11th title.

Tyler Baker (Davidson), Johnny Cannell (Big Walnut), Matt McClain (Licking Valley), Matt Simpson (Hartley) and Josh Winn (Olentangy Orange) are on Mount Union's roster.

Going Bowling

Below are area players listed on rosters of college football teams in 2013-14 bowl games:

•Jude Adjei-Barimah (Northland), Bowling Green | Little Caesar's Pizza, Dec. 26

•Kody Akers (Delaware), Navy | Armed Forces, Dec. 30

•Kenny Anunike (Olentangy), Duke | Chick-fil-A, Dec. 31

•Marcus Ball (Westerville South), Arizona State | Holiday, Dec. 30

•Ray Ball (Westerville South), Wisconsin | Capital One, Jan. 1

•Warren Ball (DeSales), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Nic Barber (Newark), Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Jarrod Barnes (Westerville South), Louisville | Russell Athletic, Dec. 28

•Alex Bayer (Pickerington North), Bowling Green | Little Caesar's Pizza, Dec. 26

•Jerrod Bierbower (Dublin Coffman), Alabama | Sugar, Jan. 2

•Will Boeckman (Columbus Academy), Duke | Chick-fil-A, Dec. 31

•Jacoby Boren (Pickerington Central), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Darien Bryant (Pickerington North), Vanderbilt | BBVA Compass, Jan. 4

•Devonte Butler (Eastmoor), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Jake Butt (Pickerington North), Michigan | Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 28

•Colton Caldwell (Dublin Coffman), Buffalo | Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 21

•Jairus Campbell (Pickerington North), Bowling Green | Little Caesar's Pizza, Dec. 26

•Craig Cataline (Grandview), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Taco Charlton (Pickerington Central), Michigan | Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 28

•Kyle Clinton (Dublin Coffman), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Grant Coffman (Dublin Coffman, U. of Miami (Fla.) | Russell Athletic, Dec. 28

•Kevin Collins (New Albany), Bowling Green | Little Caesar's Pizza, Dec. 26

•Mario Dovell (Whetstone), Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Jaron Dukes (Marion-Franklin), Michigan | Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 28

•Devon Edwards (Eastmoor), Pittsburgh | Little Caesar's Pizza, Dec. 26

•Pat Elflein (Pickerington North), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Frank Epitropoulos (Upper Arlington), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Craig Fada (Watterson), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Khaleed Franklin (Beechcroft), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Jordan Gallegos (New Albany), Mississippi | Music City, Dec. 30

•Jack Gammon (Watterson), Marshall | Military, Dec. 27

•Corbin Grassman (Johnstown), Buffalo | Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 21

•Tyler Grassman (Gahanna), Buffalo | Famous Idaho Potato, Dec. 21

•Adam Griffin (DeSales), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Eilar Hardy (Pickerington Central), Notre Dame | Pinstripe, Dec. 28

•Keith Heitzman (Hilliard Davidson), Michigan | Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 28

•Devin Hill (Northland), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Will Houston (Dublin Scioto), Bowling Green | Little Caesar's Pizza, Dec. 26

•Taylor Hudson (Olentangy Liberty), Vanderbilt | BBVA Compass, Jan. 4

•Alex Huettel (Pickerington North), Bowling Green | Little Caesar's Pizza, Dec. 26

•Chris Huhn (Pickerington North), Marshall | Military, Dec. 27

•Terrell Jackson (Marion-Franklin), Bowling Green Little Caesar's Pizza, Dec. 26

•Travis Jackson (DeSales) Michigan State | Rose, Jan. 1

•Josh Kristoff (Pickerington Central) Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Darron Lee (New Albany) Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Jacob Matuska (Hartley) Notre Dame | Pinstripe, Dec. 28

•Tyler McIntosh (Hilliard Darby), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Trevor Mendelson (Dublin Jerome), Marshall | Military, Dec. 27

•Chad Moore (Grove City), Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Keith Moore (Grove City), Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Zack Murdock (Dublin Coffman), Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Chaz Nelson (Beechcroft), Oklahoma | Sugar, Jan. 2

•Harold Nicholson (DeSales), Alabama | Sugar, Jan. 2

•Joshua Perry (Olentangy), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Ken Reichle (Grove City), Marshall | Military, Dec. 27

•Pat Rhomberg (Watterson), Michigan State | Rose, Jan. 1

•Chris Rock (DeSales), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Devin Saunders (Gahanna), Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Blake Scipio (Hilliard Bradley), Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Matt Skura (Worthington Kilbourne), Duke |Chick-fil-A, Dec. 31

•Sebastian Smith (Pickerington Central), Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Nick Snyder (Westerville South), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Dan Sprague (Worthington Kilbourne), Cincinnati | Belk, Dec. 28

•Cole Stoudt (Dublin Coffman), Clemson | Orange, Jan. 3

•Ron Tanner (Eastmoor), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•Austin Traylor (Walnut Ridge), Wisconsin | Capital One, Jan. 1

•Nick Vannett (Westerville Central), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3

•James Walsh (Dublin Coffman), Boston College | AdvoCare V100, Dec. 31

•Ryland Ward (Brookhaven), Bowling Green | Little Caesar's Pizza, Dec. 26

•Rob Wheelwright (Walnut Ridge), Wisconsin | Capital One, Jan. 1

•Geoffrey Whiteside (Hartley), Navy | Armed Forces, Dec. 30

•Kirk Willis (Granville), Cincinnati | Belk, Dec. 28

•Donovan Wilson (Dublin Jerome), Georgia Tech | Music City, Dec. 30

•Durrell Wood (Groveport), Ohio U. | Beef 'O' Brady's, Dec. 23

•Jamie Wood (Pickerington Central), Ohio State | Orange, Jan. 3