Sam Ehlinger passed for three touchdowns and ran for another, and Texas excised the frustrations of a disappointing regular season with a dominant 38-10 win over No. 11 Utah in the Alamo Bowl on Tuesday night.
After a 10-win season in 2018 set up a Top 10 ranking to start 2019, Texas underwhelmed in a season the Longhorns expected to contend for the Big 12 title. Instead, they ended the year with both the offensive and defensive coordinators getting replaced.
For one game at least, Texas (8-5) wiped all that away with a bruising and convincing win over a Utah team that only a month ago was on the verge of making the College Football Playoff.
The Utes (11-3) didn’t get there after they were swamped in the Pac-12 title game by Oregon and perhaps struggled to shake off the heartbreak of what could have been.
Texas physically handled the Utes at the line of scrimmage. Longhorns linebacker Joseph Ossai had three sacks of quarterback Tyler Huntley and six total tackles for a loss.
Texas also pounded out 231 yards rushing against the nation’s No. 1 defense against the run, which had held 10 opponents under 70 yards. Texas’ biggest run came on a 31-yard burst by Ehlinger on third down on the drive that led to his 6-yard touchdown that made it 24-3 late in the third quarter. Keaontay Ingram later added a 49-yard TD burst on the sideline late in the fourth.
Ehlinger finished with 201 yards passing. His first touchdown went to Collin Johnson, who missed six games this season with a nagging hamstring injury. His last was to Devin Duvernay, who caught three passes for 92 yards.
Lynn Bowden Jr. rushes for 223 yards as Kentucky beats Virginia Tech
Lynn Bowden Jr. ran for 223 yards on 34 carries, then tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Josh Ali with 15 seconds left as Kentucky rallied behind its remarkable receiver-turned-quarterback to beat Virginia Tech 37-30 on Tuesday in the Belk Bowl.
Bowden ran for two touchdowns before leading an 18-play, 85-yard game-winning drive that took more than eight minutes off the clock, It ended with Ali getting open down the middle of the end zone. Bowden, who took over as Kentucky’s quarterback after five games because of injuries, passed for 73 yards on 12 attempts.
The Wildcats (8-5) added a final touchdown as time expired when Jordan Wright returned a failed lateral attempt by the Hokies 28 yards for a touchdown.
Hendon Hooker threw for 110 yards and two touchdowns and Deshawn McClease ran for 126 yards and a score to lead the Hokies (8-5).
Kentucky overcame two second-half turnovers by holding Virginia Tech to two field goals and a punt on its final three possessions.
Bowden, the game’s MVP, carried 13 times on the winning drive.
Sun Bowl: Arizona State picks off Florida State
Willie Harts returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to lead Arizona State to a 20-14 victory against Florida State on Tuesday in the Sun Bowl.
Harts, a freshman cornerback, halted a 14-0 surge by Florida State (6-7) and helped the Sun Devils (8-5) hang on for their fourth Sun Bowl victory, despite not scoring an offensive touchdown.
James Blackman threw a 91-yard touchdown pass, the longest pass play in Sun Bowl history, to Tamorrion Terry to give Florida State its first lead, 14-9, in the third quarter. The Seminoles trailed 9-0 at halftime.
Cristian Zendejas kicked a Sun Bowl record-tying four field goals for Arizona State, including a 34-yarder in the fourth quarter to cut the FSU lead to 14-12.
Then Blackman’s fourth interception of the game was returned by Harts to put the Sun Devils ahead for good with 10:06 left in the fourth.
Jayden Daniels was 12-for-28 passing for 198 yards to lead the Sun Devils. He also ran 36 yards and a 2-point conversion.
The first half was a comedy of errors for both offenses as the defenses stepped up in the absence of the teams’ star rushers. Eno Benjamin of ASU and Cam Akers of FSU both sat out to protect their NFL draft stock. Cornerback Stanford Samuels also sat out for the Seminoles.
Florida State turned the ball over three times (two interceptions and a fumble) and had a field goal blocked, while Arizona State lost two fumbles.
Liberty Bowl: Trick play, field goal lift No. 21 Navy over Kansas State 20-17
Bijan Nichols kicked a 23-yard field goal with two seconds remaining and No. 21 Navy capitalized on a fourth-down gamble in the final minute to beat Kansas State 20-17 in the Liberty Bowl on Tuesday.
A Navy team with the nation’s top-ranked rushing attack set up the winning score by completing a halfback option pass with less than 30 seconds left. The Midshipmen snapped the ball on fourth-and-3 from the Kansas State 46. Quarterback Malcolm Perry pitched to C.J. Williams, and he threw downfield to a wide-open Chance Warren for a 41-yard gain.
Perry, who rushed for 213 yards, spiked the ball with 5 seconds left to set up Nichols’ field goal. Nichols had missed a 38-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter.
The victory enabled Navy (11-2) to tie a program record for wins and ensured the Midshipmen will finish a season in the AP Top 25 for just the third time in the last 56 years. Navy finished 18th in 2015 — when it also won 11 games — and was 24th in 2004.
Navy went 3-10 last year and matched the second-biggest season-to-season improvement in win-loss record of any team in Football Bowl Subdivision history. Hawaii owns the record by going 9-4 in 1999 after finishing 0-12 in 1998.
The Mids made that dramatic turnaround thanks largely to Perry, who capped a brilliant senior season with 28 carries and a touchdown pass.
Perry ran for 2,017 yards this season to set a Football Bowl Subdivision record for yards rushing by quarterback. The record had been owned by Jordan Lynch, who ran for 1,920 yards for Northern Illinois in 2013.
Navy dominated much of the game but wasted a couple of opportunities to put it away. The Mids led 17-10 late in the third quarter when a holding penalty on Billy Honaker wiped out a 31-yard run by Perry that would have given them first-and-goal at the 2. Navy ended up punting.
Nichols then sent a 38-yard field goal attempt wide left with 8:26 left in the game. At that point, Navy was outgaining Kansas State 351-83 but only led 17-10.
Kansas State finally got its offense going at that point, as Skylar Thompson connected with Wykeen Gill on a 15-yard completion and a 42-yard pass on back-to-back plays. Those long gains set up Thompson’s 1-yard sneak that tied the game with 5:14 left.