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New Year’s bowl games: Arkansas wins Outback; Kentucky claims Citrus victory

Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson eludes Penn State linebacker Curtis Jacobs.
Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson eludes Penn State linebacker Curtis Jacobs during the first half of the Outback Bowl on Saturday in Tampa, Fla.
(Chris O’Meara / Associated Press)

KJ Jefferson picked up 104 of his 110 rushing yards in the second half and threw for 90 more to lead No. 21 Arkansas past Penn State 24-10 in the Outback Bowl on Saturday.

Raheim Sanders had 79 yards and two touchdowns in 13 carries and Dominique Johnson added 85 yards in 11 carries as the Razorbacks finished with 361 rushing yards.

Arkansas (9-4), coming off four consecutive seasons of four or fewer wins, got its first nine-win season since going 11-2 in 2011. The Razorbacks also played in their first bowl game since the 2016 Belk Bowl.

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Penn State (7-6) quarterback Sean Clifford completed 14 of 32 passes for 195 yards. He gained 47 yards on the ground in 11 attempts.

Jefferson ran 20 times while completing 14 of 19 passes. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound sophomore was sacked five times and limited to 6 yards rushing on 11 carries during the first half.

Jefferson and Sanders had TD runs, and Cam Little made a 36-yard field goal in the third quarter to put Arkansas up 24-10.

CJ Stroud surpassed 500 yards passing, Jaxon Smith-Njigba had 347 receiving yards and Marvin Harrison Jr. had three TD catches for Ohio State, who came back from a 14-point halftime deficit.

Arkansas took the opening kickoff in the second half and put together a seven-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with Jefferson’s eight-yard TD run.

Jefferson was hurt and left for several plays after a 34-yard dash later in the third period, and was replaced by Malik Hornsby. He had a 32-yard run to set up Sanders’ one-yard score with 2:00 left in the quarter.

Hornsby had 67 yards on four carries.

Penn State led 10-7 at the half thanks to a 43-yard field goal by Jake Pinegar. The Nittany Lions tied it at 7 early in the second quarter when Clifford took advantage of blown coverage and hit a wide open KeAndre Lambert-Smith for a 42-yard touchdown.

Citrus Bowl

Chris Rodriguez ran for a six-yard touchdown with 1:48 to left in the fourth quarter, and No. 22 Kentucky rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat No. 15 Iowa 20-17 in Orlando, Fla.

Kentucky was forced to rally after blowing a 10-point lead in the second half. Wan’Dale Robinson set up the winning score when he caught a 52-yard pass from Will Levis to get the Wildcats to the one-yard line. Robinson, the game’s MVP, finished with 10 catches for 170 yards, while Levis completed 17 of 28 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown.

DeAndre Square intercepted a pass by Iowa’s Spencer Petras with 48 seconds left to clinch the victory. Kentucky (10-3) won a fourth consecutive bowl game for the first time in school history, and became the fourth Wildcats team to win at least 10 games.

Iowa (10-4) saw its bowl win streak end at three games. The Hawkeyes stormed back from a 13-3 halftime deficit and led 17-13 after Petras’ 36-yard touchdown pass to Sam LaPorta with 10:54 left in the fourth quarter.

Iowa dominated Kentucky in the second half before the final drive, when the Wildcats drove 80 yards in eight plays. Rodriguez rushed for 107 yards and the go-ahead score, and he caught a short touchdown pass from Levis in the first half.

Iowa cornerback Jemari Harris appeared to have capped the win for the Hawkeyes when he picked off Levis with 3:59 to play. It was Iowa’s school-record 25th interception of the season. The Hawkeyes also registered seven sacks.

But the Hawkeyes elected to punt on fourth and one from their own 45 with 3:38 remaining, and the punt sailed into the end zone for a touchback, setting up Kentucky’s game-winning drive.


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