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College football bowls: Iowa State beats Oregon in Fiesta; Texas A&M wins Orange

Iowa State running back Breece Hall tries to fend off Oregon cornerback DJ James during the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 2021.
Iowa State running back Breece Hall tries to fend off Oregon cornerback DJ James in the Fiesta Bowl. Hall rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the No. 10 Cyclones’ 34-17 win over the No. 25 Ducks.
(Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Breece Hall ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns, quarterback Brock Purdy accounted for two scores, and Iowa State won 34-17 over Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday.

The Cyclones (9-3), No. 10 in the College Football Playoff rankings, used their ball-control offense to dominate the time of possession and keep the Ducks’ offense off the field for long stretches to win their first New Year’s Six bowl game.

Hall, an Associated Press All-American, had 34 carries and his ninth 100-yard game this season. Purdy, who went to high school in nearby Gilbert, Ariz., threw for 156 yards and a touchdown on 20-for-29 passing, adding a touchdown on the ground.

Iowa State had a time of possession advantage of more than 25 minutes.

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Korey Foreman, the defensive end from Corona Centennial High, announced his decision to attend USC on national television Saturday.

No. 25 Oregon (4-3), which defeated USC 31-24 in the Pac-12 Conference title game Dec. 18 at the Coliseum, alternated between Tyler Shough and Anthony Brown at quarterback but couldn’t sustain anything on offense and was hampered by numerous mistakes.

The Ducks lost two fumbles, an interception and a pooch kick. They also turned it over when a punt hit a blocker’s helmet and had a touchdown wiped out by a penalty.

“It is a game of execution,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “We weren’t able to execute and get done what we needed to get done.”

The Cyclones had been building toward this moment.

Iowa State won three games its first season under coach Matt Campbell before playing in three straight bowl games. The Cyclones earned their first New Year’s Six bowl with the best regular season in school history.

“Life has been really hard for our society, really since March,” Campbell said. “Through dark and trying times, this team has been a beacon of hope for a lot. This team has grown and gotten better when things maybe say the other way.”

No. 5 Texas A&M 41, No. 13 North Carolina 27

North Carolina's Josh Downs is upended by Texas A&M's Jaylon Jones during the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 2021.
North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs is upended by Texas A&M defensive back Jaylon Jones during the Orange Bowl on Saturday night. The Aggies won 41-27.
(Eric Espada / Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Devon Achane had two late touchdown runs, including a 76-yarder with 3:44 left that put Texas A&M ahead to stay, and the Aggies beat North Carolina in the Orange Bowl to cap a winless bowl season for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Kellen Mond passed for 232 yards and ran for a score for the Aggies (9-1) in their first Orange Bowl since 1944. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher improved to 3-0 in Orange Bowls, winning two previous ones at Florida State.

Achane’s go-ahead score came on a play in which he darted left, nearly tripped over one of his own blockers, broke a tackle and then got loose down the sideline. The Aggies got a fourth-down stop on the ensuing possession, and Achane sealed the win on a one-yard run with 1:34 left.

Sam Howell passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Josh Downs, for the Tar Heels (8-4). North Carolina was without leading rushers Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, leading receiver Dyami Brown and top tackler Chazz Surratt — all of whom opted out of the bowl game.

It was a tough end to the season for the ACC, which sent two teams to the four-team College Football Playoff yet still had a winless postseason by a combined 223-152 count. N.C. State lost 23-21 to Kentucky, Miami lost 37-34 to Oklahoma State, and the four other games — including losses by Notre Dame and Clemson in the CFP semifinals Friday — were all decided by two touchdowns or more.

None of the other current Power 5 conferences has ever come close to going 0-6 in a bowl season. The last winless ACC bowl season was 1983, when the conference went 0-2.

Mississippi 26, No. 11 Indiana 20

TAMPA, Fla. — Matt Corral threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns to help Mississippi beat Indiana in the Outback Bowl.

Corral’s three-yard pass to Dontario Drummond put the Rebels (5-5) ahead for good with 4:12 remaining. Ole Miss came through with one more stop for its first non-losing record since going 6-6 in 2017. First-year coach Lane Kiffin, a former USC coach, was rewarded before the game with a new contract.

Drummond finished with six catches for 110 yards. Corral completed 30 of 44 passes without an interception, including a five-yard throw to Casey Kelly that put Ole Miss up 13-3 midway through the second quarter.

While Ohio State’s Sugar Bowl win spared us from another Alabama vs. Clemson game, the College Football Playoff is still lacking interest and parity.

Jack Tuttle was 26 of 45 for 201 yards in his second start in place Michael Penix Jr. for Indiana (6-2), No. 11 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Stevie Scott III rushed for 99 yards and scored on runs of three and two yards to help the Hoosiers wipe out a 20-6 deficit in the fourth quarter.

Ole Miss missed the extra point after Drummond’s go-ahead touchdown catch. Indiana drove to the Rebels 33 before stalling and turning the ball over on downs in the final minute.

Kentucky 23, No. 23 N.C. State 21

Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis celebrates a defensive stop against N.C. State in the Gator Bowl on Saturday.
Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis celebrates a defensive stop against N.C. State in the Gator Bowl.
(Sam Greenwood / Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A.J. Rose ran for a career-high 148 yards, Chris Rodriguez added 84 yards and two scores, and Kentucky held off North Carolina State in a chippy Gator Bowl.

Christopher Dunn missed two field goals for the Wolfpack (8-4), who trailed 16-14 late when Bailey Hockman threw his third interception of the game. Rodriguez scored on the ensuing play, going nearly untouched for 26 yards.

N.C. State got a final chance after Jordan Houston scored with 1:10 remaining. But Allen Dailey recovered Dunn’s onside kick, and the Wildcats (5-6) ran out the clock. Coach Mark Stoops got a Gatorade bath following the team’s third straight bowl victory, which ended a tumultuous season that included the loss of offensive line coach John Schlarman.

Kentucky finished with 281 yards on the ground, helping offset one of the nation’s worst passing attacks. Stoops fired offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw after the team’s regular-season finale and later hired Rams assistant Liam Coen to fill those roles in 2021.


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