Bowl roundup: Purdue beats Tennessee in OT in Music City: No. 10 Michigan State wins Peach

Purdue tight end Payne Durham fends off Tennessee defenders Jaylen McCollough and Kamal Hadden.
Purdue tight end Payne Durham fends off Tennessee defenders Jaylen McCollough (22) and Kamal Hadden, right, in the second half of the Music City Bowl Thursday in Nashville.
(Mark Humphrey / Associated Press)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mitchell Fineran kicked a 39-yard field goal in overtime and Purdue finished off its best season since 2003 by overcoming a 14-point deficit and beating Tennessee 48-45 on Thursday in a record-setting Music City Bowl.

Purdue (9-4) tied for the second-most wins in program history as only the 12th team in the Boilermakers’ 134-year history to win nine games. They also won their fifth game away from home, something they hadn’t done since 1943.

Tennessee (7-6) missed a chance to make Josh Heupel the first Vols coach to cap his debut season with a bowl win since Bill Battle won the 1971 Sugar Bowl. The Vols also snapped a four-game bowl victory streak with a loss that dropped the Southeastern Conference to 1-5 this bowl season.


This high-scoring game featured a flurry of big plays and points in the final five minutes only to see Purdue’s defense make the deciding play.

On the first possession of overtime, Jamar Brown and Kieren Douglas stopped Vols running back Jaylen Wright short on fourth-and-goal at the 1. After Purdue ran three plays, Fineran sealed the victory with his fourth field goal.

The teams combined for 1,293 yards of total offense — second-most in overall bowl history, trailing only the 1,397 yards Baylor and Washington had in the 2011 Alamo Bowl. Tennessee became the 10th team in bowl game history to run 100 or more plays, and the combined 185 plays rank seventh.

Tennessee finished with 639 yards total offense and Purdue had 623 in regulation — both bowl records before overtime. Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell O’Connell — who threw five touchdown passes — easily set a mark with 534 yards passing, well above the 383 Mike Glennon had with N.C. State. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker also had five TD passes.


Michigan State tight end Connor Heyward makes a touchdown catch against Pittsburgh defensive back Brandon Hill.
Michigan State tight end Connor Heyward makes a touchdown catch against Pittsburgh defensive back Brandon Hill during the second half of the Peach Bowl Thursday in Atlanta.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

ATLANTA (AP) — Payton Thorne’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Reed gave Michigan State the lead with less than three minutes remaining and the Spartans overcame an 11-point deficit to beat Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl.


Linebacker Cal Haladay’s 78-yard interception return for a touchdown with 22 seconds remaining ended Pitt fill-in quarterback Davis Beville’s bid for a last-minute comeback in the game the Panthers played without start QB Kenny Pickett after he opted out the game.

Thorne threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as Michigan State (11-2) rallied after trailing 21-10.

Cam Bright returned a fumble recovery 26 yards for a touchdown only 20 seconds into the second half for Pittsburgh (11-3). The Panthers lost fill-in starting quarterback Nick Patti to an injury in the first quarter.

Defensive end John Morgan forced the fumble by Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne that was returned by Bright for a 21-10 lead.

Thorne completed 29 of 50 passes for 354 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Thorne’s scoring pass to Reed with 2:51 remaining gave the Spartans a 22-21 lead. A 2-point pass to Jalen Nailor pushed the lead to three points.


Arizona State linebacker Eric Gentry tackles Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen.
Arizona State linebacker Eric Gentry tackles Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen during the second half of the Las Vegas Bowl Thursday in Las Vegas.
(L.E. Baskow / Associated Press)

LAS VEGAS — Braelon Allen ran for 159 yards and Wisconsin drained the final 9:57 off the clock with an 18-play drive that sealed a 20-13 victory over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Thursday night.

Allen, the 17-year-old true freshman from Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, had 101 yards by halftime for his eighth 100-yard game of the season.

Graham Mertz finished 11 of 15 for 137 yards and a touchdown to senior tight end Jake Ferguson, who caught three passes for 33 yards in his final game for Wisconsin (9-4).

The Badgers started 1-3 with Big Ten losses to ranked opponents Penn State and Michigan but answered with a seven-game winning streak to earn a 20th consecutive bowl bid.

Clinging to a seven-point lead, they took over at their own 3 with just under 10 minutes remaining and drove 90 yards to run out the clock in the first bowl game at Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.

Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels accounted for 199 total yards and threw an interception for the Sun Devils (8-5), who are 3-6 in bowls since 2011.


The Sun Devils were held to 219 total yards, including 102 in the first half. Wisconsin entered with the nation’s top defense, allowing 240.8 yards per game.

Arizona State has made the postseason in each full season under head coach Herm Edwards; the Sun Devils played only four games in 2020 due to the pandemic.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer had a bucket of mayonnaise dumped over his head, putting a memorable and messy finish on the Gamecocks’ victory over North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

Jaheim Bell had five catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns for South Carolina (7-6). Kevin Harris added 169 yards rushing and a score, helping secure the mayo bath for Beamer.

Bell came in with 338 yards receiving and three TDs during the regular season, but figured prominently into the game plan early on. The sophomore tight end got free for a 69-yard touchdown reception from converted wide receiver Dakereon Joyner and hauled in a 66-yard TD catch from former graduate assistant coach Zeb Noland on South Carolina’s first two possessions.

Sam Howell threw for 205 yards and a touchdown for the Tar Heels (6-7). Reserve running back British Brooks had a bowl- record 63-yard touchdown run.