Louisville struggles but eventually defeats Duke
Lamar Jackson provided a cushion with a two-yard touchdown run with 1:32 remaining and No. 7 Louisville held off visiting Duke, 24-14, on Friday night.
The Cardinals caught a break after Evan O’Hara’s 46-yard field goal missed wide left as Duke’s Breon Borders was called for roughing the kicker. The penalty moved the ball to the 14 and Jackson did the rest with a 12-yard run followed by the short score that Louisville (5-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) sorely needed.
“I wasn’t going to let my team down,” the Heisman Trophy contender said. “We were going down there to score.”
Jackson accounted for 325 yards of offense and two touchdowns, hitting Jaylen Smith with a five-yard scoring pass on the opening drive. Jeremy Smith added an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and O’Hara kicked a 22-yard field goal as the Cardinals came off a bye and earned the program’s 500th victory.
Duke (3-4, 0-3) remained winless in ACC play but the 35-point underdog gave Louisville more than it expected.
“I believed our guys had confidence they could win,” said Duke Coach David Cutcliffe, whose team controlled the clock for 37:12.
San Diego State 17, at Fresno State 3: The Aztecs’ Donnel Pumphrey rushed for 220 yards and two touchdowns, surpassing 1,000 yards for the season and moving into the NCAA top 10 for his career.
With his third 200-yard game of the season, Pumphrey now has 1,111 in six games to raise his career total to 5,383, passing LaDanian Tomlinson, Herschel Walker and Archie Griffin to move into eighth on the NCAA list.
A two-yard Pumphrey run put the Aztecs (5-1, 2-0 Mountain West) up 10-0 at halftime, when he had 117 yards for his conference-record 27th 100-yard game. His 13-yarder in the closing seconds of the third quarter closed the scoring as the Aztecs won at Fresno for the first time since 1997.
Brigham Young 28, Mississippi State 21 (2 OT): Tanner Balderree caught a 25-yard pass from Taysom Hill for the winning touchdown in the second overtime.
Fans stormed the field as MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald threw an incomplete pass in the end zone on fourth down to end the game. It was the first time Hill has thrown for three touchdowns since the 2014 season opener.
The offense of BYU (4-3) couldn’t get much going most of the night, but Hill hit Moroni Laulu-Pututau for a 15-yard touchdown on third-and-goal with 13:15 left in the game to tie things at 14-14.
Mississippi State (2-4) led 14-7 at halftime thanks to a defense that held BYU to 126 first half yards, including just 45 through the air.
Can Boise win out?
The path has become clear for No. 15 Boise State.
Simply win out the rest of the way and Boise State will have a chance to find a spot in one of the major New Year’s bowl games and cash a rather large check.
Sounds easy, but it’s far from it as the Broncos entertain Colorado State on Saturday night, the first of two home games in five days for Boise State that stand as one of the remaining speed bumps between now and January.
The Broncos (5-0, 2-0 Mountain West) face the Rams, then turn around and host Brigham Young on Thursday. If Boise State can get through this two-game stretch unscathed, the remaining regular-season challenges will all come on the road — Oct. 29 at Wyoming, Nov. 12 at Hawaii and Nov. 25 at Air Force.
“Nobody has really stopped these guys,” Colorado State Coach Mike Bobo said. “They’re very, very successful and they’re very successful early in games. They jump on people.”
Attention is on the Broncos because Houston lost at Navy last week. Houston seemed destined to be the Group of Five member to land in one of the New Year’s Six bowl games, but the loss to Navy cleared the path for Boise State to step in should the Broncos stay unbeaten through the regular season and win the MWC title game.
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