College football: Washington routs Boise State in Las Vegas Bowl; SDSU wins New Mexico Bowl
Jacob Eason threw for 210 yards and a touchdown, and Washington sent out coach Chris Petersen with a 38-7 victory over No. 19 Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday night.
Richard Newton rushed for 69 yards with a short touchdown run and threw a touchdown pass for the Huskies (8-5). They capped an erratic season with a dominant finale for Petersen — who left Boise State to coach Washington — after he announced Dec. 2 he was stepping down after six seasons. Myles Bryant and Elijah Molden had interceptions, and coordinator Jimmy Lake’s defense allowed 266 yards. Lake is taking over as head coach.
“Well, this is never about any one person. It’s never about any one player. It’s a team game,” Petersen said.
Jaylon Henderson threw for 48 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos (12-2). They lost for the first time in five appearances in the Las Vegas Bowl. Henderson replaced Hank Bachmeier in the second half after the freshman threw his second interception.
The Huskies jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead behind a methodical offense and suffocating defense. Bachmeier threw a pass up for grabs on the opening possession that was easily picked off by Bryant, and Andre Baccellia took a slant from Eason 17 yards into the end zone for the opening score.
Salvon Ahmed made it 14-0 in the second quarter with an eight-yard touchdown run to cap a 13-play march, and Peyton Henry kicked a 32-yard field goal as the half ended. Eason threw a 26-yard pass to Marquis Spiker on the first play of the drive, the longest gain of the half and one of two plays for either team that gained 20 yards.
New Mexico Bowl
Ryan Agnew passed for 287 yards and three touchdowns, Jesse Matthews caught three passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and San Diego State won a bowl game for the first time since 2016, beating Central Michigan 48-11 in the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque.
Jordan Byrd ran for a career-high 139 yards and a touchdown to help the Aztecs (10-3) cap their 10th straight bowl appearance with a victory. San Diego State opened 7-1, then dropped two of its last three conference games to fall out of contention for a Mountain West title game berth
It was a homecoming for Aztecs coach Rocky Long. He last won the New Mexico Bowl in 2007 as New Mexico’s coach. Long is 4-9 in bowl games.
San Diego State prevented Central Michigan (8-6) from sustaining consistent offense, with quarterback Quinten Dormady under pressure and forced to throw into tight coverage. He passed for 164 yards and threw three interception.
The Chippewas’ Jonathan Ward, who came into the game with 1,082 yards and 15 touchdowns, was held to seven rushing yards and 26 yards receiving.
Kobe Lewis ran for 97 yards, with a 66-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Jermaine Samuels’ three-pointer with 20.5 seconds left was the difference as Villanova beat Kansas, making the Jayhawks the latest No. 1 team to lose.
New Orleans Bowl
Darrynton Evans ran for 157 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown after he scooped up a fourth-down fumble, in No. 20 Appalachian State’s 31-17 win over Alabama Birmingham in the New Orleans Bowl.
The Mountaineers (13-1) scored twice in the third quarter on quarterback fumbles.
Evans’ go-ahead score came first when Zac Thomas lost the ball on a fourth-and-one sneak. Later, outside linebacker Nick Hampton stripped UAB quarterback Tyler Johnston, and inside linebacker Trey Cobb picked it up and returned the ball 24 yards to put Appalachian State in front 24-17.
Johntson, passed for 298 yards and two touchdowns for UAB (9-5) in his first start since injuring his knee Nov. 2 at Tennessee.
The game marked the head coaching debut for Appalachian State’s Shawn Clark, who took over after Eli Drinkwitz was hired by Missouri.
Thomas Hennigan caught two touchdown passes and Zac Thomas finished with 142 yards and two touchdowns passing for the Mountaineers, who were the Sun Belt Conference champions and finished the season on a six-game winning streak.
Boca Raton Bowl
Lane Kiffin was watching his now-former Florida Atlantic team play from elsewhere. A bunch of key FAU starters, including the school’s only first-team All-American, were missing. The coaching staff the Owls had Saturday faces a very uncertain future starting Sunday.
Adversity was everywhere.
The Owls were unfazed.
Chris Robison passed for 305 yards and two touchdowns, and FAU scored two touchdowns in a 24-second span late in the first half to take control on the way to beating Southern Methodist 52-28 in Boca Raton, Fla.
Spencer held a game ball — a gift from the players — for the entirety of his postgame news conference. Spencer was on Kiffin’s staff, and now that Kiffin has taken over at Ole Miss after three seasons with FAU, he’s among the coaches who probably aren’t too sure about where they’ll be next season.
James Charles ran for two touchdowns for FAU (11-3), which tied a school record for wins in a season and improved to 4-0 in bowl games. The first of Charles’ scores came with a minute left in the first half to break a 14-14 tie. Robison found Brandon Robinson for another touchdown 24 seconds later after an SMU interception, and the Owls were off and running.
Rashad Smith ran a fumble back for a score in the third quarter to help FAU blow the game open. Robison completed 27 of 37 passes for FAU, which was playing a bowl game on its home field for the second time in three years.
Shane Buchele completed 27 for 47 passes for 303 yards for SMU (10-3). The Mustangs were seeking their first bowl win since 2012, this game coming a day after they gave coach Sonny Dykes — who has gone 15-11 in his first two seasons with the team, including the 2017 Frisco Bowl loss — a contract extension.
Xavier Jones had a pair of rushing touchdowns for SMU. James Proche, who entered as the NCAA’s active career leader in receptions and receiving yards, had nine catches — giving him 301 for his career — for 86 yards and a score for the Mustangs.
Kiffin tweeted congratulations to his former team near the end of the game. “This was awesome!! 11 wins again so proud of you guys and the coaches!!” he wrote.
Now Spencer cedes control of the Owls to Willie Taggart, most recently the Florida State coach who was fired there midseason and hired at FAU this month as Kiffin’s replacement. Taggart was at the game Saturday, evaluating.
UCLA nearly wipes out a 13-point deficit in a 74-64 loss to North Carolina at the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas.
Kylil Carter passed for six touchdowns, and North Carolina A&T racked up enormous offensive totals to beat Alcorn State 64-44 in the Celebration Bowl in New Orleans for the Aggies’ third consecutive HBCU national championship title.
Carter completed 18 of 30 passes for 364 yards and added 96 yards on the ground. Korey Banks and Elijah Bell each caught a pair of scoring passes for NCA&T, which has beaten Alcorn State in three of the five Celebration Bowls — including two straight.
Alcorn State quarterback Felix Harper passed for 341 yards and three scores, but the Braves trailed 24-10 at halftime and NCA&T steadily stacked points from there.
The teams combined for 49 points in the third quarter, when NCA&T scored touchdowns on its first four possessions of the period and Alcorn State banked touchdowns on its first three drives. The Aggies rolled to 290 yards in the quarter, and Alcorn State added 238.
NCA&T took the lead when senior Bell ran past the Alcorn State secondary and pulled in a 53-yard touchdown pass with 13:03 left in the second quarter. That was good for a 7-3 edge and extended Bell’s school record to 32 career touchdowns receiving.
Alcorn State moved ahead briefly when Harper found wide receiver Chris Blair wide open for a 59-yard scoring pass with 7:55 left.
That 10-7 advantage didn’t last long, as NCA&T scored the final 17 points of the second quarter. The Aggies had a 59-yard touchdown pass to Zachary Leslie and a four-yard scoring pass to Korey Banks around a 28-yard field goal from Noel Ruiz to take a 24-10 lead at halftime. The field goal came shortly after freshman linebacker Jacob Roberts intercepted Harper’s pass and returned it 28 yards to Alcorn State’s five-yard-line.
Jah-Maine Martin helped NCA&T put the game away in the third quarter. He rushed seven times in the first half for one yard, but he took the first play of the second half 75 yards off right tackle to score. Martin gained 117 yards rushing in the period. He finished with 110 yards on the ground.
Although Alcorn State countered quickly when Harper scored on a six-yard run to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive, NCA&T was quicker to answer when another long pass by Carter found Aggies wide receiver Ron Hunt wide open deep for a 43-yard score and a 38-17 lead early in the third.
The Braves entered the game No. 1 in the nation among Football Championship Subdivision schools with 34 takeaways, and they stripped NCA&T’s Banks on a punt return to set up possession at the Aggies’ 23-yard line. Four plays later, Corey McCullough kicked a 28-yard field goal for the early lead with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
L.A. Times’ Bill Plaschke makes bold predictions for L.A. sports in 2020 that should even fire up USC coach Clay Helton.
Frankie Hickson picked up 120 yards rushing on 22 carries, Stephen Calvert went 16-for-35 passing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and Liberty beat Georgia Southern 23-16 in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Hickson became the first Liberty running back since Rashad Jennings (2006-08) to have back-to-back seasons of 1,000 yards rushing.
Flames coach Hugh Freeze, who began his first season coaching Liberty from a hospital bed in the press box following back surgery Aug. 16, got his 50th career win.
Liberty (8-5) joined Georgia Southern and Appalachian State as the only teams to move from FCS to the Football Bowl Subdivision and win a bowl game in its first season of eligibility.
Shai Werts completed 10 of 19 passes for 95 yards and gained 57 yards in 22 carries for Georgia Southern (7-6). Wesley Kennedy III had 104 yards in nine rushing attempts.
Calvert threw a 57-yard old touchdown pass to Johnny Huntley late in the first quarter and Joshua Mack scored on a three-run yard during the second as Liberty took a 16-7 halftime lead.
Kennedy had a 10-yard touchdown dash in the second for Georgia Southern, which was outgained 264-115 in the first half and 402-289 overall.
Antonio Gandy-Golden caught a 14-yard scoring strike from Calvert in the third.
The Liberty defense limited Georgia Southern to three field goals in the second half.
Layne Hatcher passed for 393 yards and four touchdowns, including a late 13-yarder to Jonathan Adams, and Arkansas State beat Florida International in the Camellia Bowl, 34-26, in Montgomery, Ala.
The Red Wolves (8-5) came back to life offensively for a final big drive, highlighted by All-American and game MVP Omar Bayless’s 52-yard catch down to the 12. Then they had two interceptions in the final minutes.
The Panthers (6-7) converted a fourth-and-five play with a pass to Austin Maloney, who matched the huge game of Bayless. But James Morgan’s overthrow on the next play was intercepted by Jeremy Smith, who returned it 21 yards into FIU territory.
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