Texas A&M rallies past West Virginia, 45-37, in Liberty Bowl

Texas A&M rallies past West Virginia, 45-37, in Liberty Bowl
Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen (10) celebrates with Conner McQueen (14) after scoring against West Virginia in the first half of the Liberty Bowl on Monday. (Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

Texas A&M relied on big performances from freshmen during the regular season and its bowl game was no different.

Kyle Allen threw for four touchdowns and ran for one, and Texas A&M rallied to defeat West Virginia, 45-37, Monday in the Autozone Liberty Bowl at Memphis, Tenn.


Allen, making his fifth start, was 22 of 35 for 294 yards to make up for an early interception that KJ Dillon returned for a touchdown.

"Next year we're going to be a much more experienced team, and we're going to work hard in the off-season because we know what's at stake and how our work ethic this year didn't produce the record we want," Allen said. "It's going to be great for us, winning this game, for confidence."

Malcome Kennedy caught two of Allen's touchdown passes, and Tra Carson had a career-high 133 yards in 25 carries. Allen's 14-yard rushing touchdown in the final minute of the first half put the Aggies (8-5) ahead for good.

Texas A&M has won bowl games in four consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

"That's something that nobody can ever take from them and puts [the seniors] in a separate class by themselves," Coach Kevin Sumlin said.

West Virginia's Skyler Howard was 20 of 45 for 346 yards and three touchdowns in his second career start in place of Clint Trickett, who announced Friday he was giving up football because of multiple concussions.

Kevin White had seven catches for 129 yards and a touchdown for West Virginia (7-6). Josh Lambert made all three of his field-goal attempts.

"Too many stalled drives," Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "When you play a game that you're going to have to score 46 points to win it, you can't settle for that many field goals. … I thought we moved the ball well. We just didn't score enough points."

The game lived up to its billing as a shootout between two fast-paced offenses that had averaged more than 30 points per game and given up more than 25 points per game. This was the second-highest scoring in the 56-game history of the Liberty Bowl after Louisville's 44-40 victory over Boise State in 2004.

"That's a play we had put in this week specifically for that blitz they were bringing us," Allen said. "They brought everyone and they left four people to cover the receivers, but we knew they wouldn't cover the running backs."

Clemson 40, Oklahoma 6: Cole Stoudt threw for three touchdowns and ran for one to lead No. 17 Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl at Orlando, Fla.

The Tigers (10-3) reached double-digit victories for the fourth consecutive season.

Stoudt was 26 for 36 for a season-high 319 yards. He was sacked four times but Clemson never turned the ball over.

The Tigers, who were ranked No. 1 in the nation in defense, held the Sooners to 275 yards.


Oklahoma (8-5) had five turnovers, including three interceptions by Trevor Knight.

The Sooners had been averaging nearly 40 points per game but didn't score until late in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers' scoring drives were all at least 50 yards.

Clemson was the beneficiary of three turnovers in building a 27-0 halftime lead. A 47-yard interception return by Ben Boulware for a touchdown was part of a 17-point first quarter.

Stoudt completed his first six passes and finished the half with touchdown throws of 65 yards to Artavis Scott and 26 yards to Mike Williams.

Ammon Lapkip also did his part to deepen the hole for Oklahoma, kicking two field goals, including a career long from 49 yards in the second quarter.

Arkansas 31, Texas 7: Brandon Allen threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns for the Razorbacks at the Texas Bowl.

Arkansas (7-6) built a 24-7 lead by halftime and Jonathan Williams, who finished with 105 yards rushing, had a one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to make it 31-7.

Texas (6-7) finished with a season-low 59 yards.