It was a weird bowl season. Some of the games were extremely competitive, but a lot of the games were blowouts. The SEC set a new record for bowl wins by a conference with 8 (7 of them coming by at least 21 points) and they could still win one more. Just think about what would’ve happened if the SEC hadn’t been down this season. (That comment was directed at Danny Kanell.) Here are my break downs of each bowl game by conference and team.
I will post my National Championship Game preview in the next couple of days.
How I Fared: 21-19
Bowl Results By Conference
–AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: 20LSU 46 Texas Tech 27; LSU had something to prove in this game. Les Miles was rumored to be on the hot seat after losses to Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss in consecutive weeks. The rumors were squashed after LSU beat Texas A&M in the final game of the regular season (making me think LSU wasn’t able to get the coach they wanted, aka Jimbo Fisher). Leonard Fournette also shined in this one, rushing for 212 yards and 4TDs and also catching a TD pass. Along with the pass TD, Brandon Harris also rushed for a TD. DJ Chark and Darrel Williams also rushed for scores for the Tigers. LSU put up 638 yards of offense in this one. LSU finished the season 9-3 overall and 5-3 in the SEC. Fournette will be coming back next season because he was only a true sophomore this year.
–Birmingham Bowl: Auburn 31 Memphis 10; In my opinion, this was a big upset. Auburn did not look good this season, but they were somehow able to take down a team that seemed to have no issues with Ole Miss. I don’t think this win was because of Auburn’s defense. But they did enough to get a 21-point win over a very good Memphis team. Sean White started at QB, but did not do well, throwing 2INTs, one of which was a pick 6. Jeremy Johnson threw a TD to Jason Smith and also rushed for a TD. Jovon Robinson rushed for 126 yards and a score and Kerryon Johnson also rushed for a TD. Daniel Carlson also made his only FG attempt of the game from 20 yards out. Auburn outgained Memphis by nearly 200 yards. Auburn finishes the season 7-6 overall and 2-6 in the SEC.
–Belk Bowl: Mississippi State 51 NC State 28; Dak Prescott went out with a bang. In his final game at Mississippi State, he threw for 380 yards and 4TDs and almost had a rushing TD (center Justin Malone recovered Prescott’s fumble in the end zone). Brandon Holloway caught 2TDs and De’Runnya Wilson also had a TD reception. Fred Ross caught a TD and also rushed for one. Aeris Williams rushed for a TD for the Bulldogs as well. Kicker Westin Graves also kicked a FG in this game. MSU racked up 569 total offensive yards in this game. Mississippi State was picked to finish last in the SEC West, but finished 9-4 overall and 4-4 in the SEC.
–Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Texas A&M 21 Louisville 27; Texas A&M got in a hole early in this game. They started the 2nd quarter down 7-20. The Aggies did fight back but just didn’t have enough to get the win. They played this game without QBs Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen who both decided to transfer. This was Jake Hubenak’s first collegiate start and he didn’t do too bad. He was 28/48 for 307 yards, 2TDs and an INT. Christian Kirk and Ricky Seals-Jones each caught TDs in this one. Tra Carson rushed for 106 yards and a TD as well. The Aggies made it all the way to the Louisville 24-yard line but couldn’t get a first down. A&M finished the season 8-5 overall and 4-4 in the SEC. Texas A&M was the only SEC West school to lose their bowl game.
–College Football Playoff Semifinal: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: 2Alabama 38 3Michigan State 0; This one still had the potential to be a good game after the first half. But a 21-point 3rd quarter put the game way out of reach for Michigan State. Jake Coker had a great game, going 25/30 for 286 yards and 2TDs. Derrick Henry was held to just 75 yards on 20 carries, but he did score 2TDs. Calvin Ridley had 8 receptions for 138 yards and 2TDs. Cyrus Jones had a 57-yard punt return in this one as well as an INT. Kicker Adam Griffith made a 47-yarder in this game for the Tide. To be honest, Michigan State didn’t do a horrible job on defense, but you can’t win if you don’t score any points. Sparty was able to stop Derrick Henry, something only a couple teams have done. Arkansas was the only other team to hold him to less than 100 yards when he had at least 20 carries.
–Outback Bowl: 23Tennessee 45 13Northwestern 6; This game kicked off the most lopsided days of the bowl seasons. The closest game was decided by 16 points. The Vols had something to prove in this one. Jalen Hurd rushed for 130 yards and a TD, Alvin Kamara rushed for a score and John Kelly also rushed for a TD. QB Joshua Dobbs had 2 rush TDs and also threw for 166 yards. Evan Berry had a 100-yard pick 6 at the end of the game to put an exclamation point on the win. Kicker Aaron Medley was 1/2 on FGs for Tennessee. Tennessee outgained Northwestern 420-261 in total offensive yards. Tennessee finished the season 9-4 overall and with a 5-3 mark in the SEC. The Volunteers were picked to do better in the SEC this year, but their expectations will be even higher next season.
–Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: 19Florida 7 14Michigan 41; This was the SEC’s second loss of the bowl season, and it was an ugly one. Florida couldn’t get anything going offensively. The only Gator score came on a trick pass from Antonio Callaway to Treon Harris. Harris also threw an INT and so did punter Johnny Townsend. Florida had the ball for just 21:22 in this game and only gained 273 yards on offense. I don’t know what happened to the impressive Gator defense that I saw in the SEC Championship game, but it didn’t make an appearance in this one. Jim McElwain’s first season at Florida ends with a 10-4 overall record and a 7-1 mark in the SEC.
–Allstate Sugar Bowl: 12Ole Miss 48 16Oklahoma State 20; Ole Miss used a 24-point 2nd quarter to blow out Oklahoma State. Chad Kelly threw for 302 yards and 4TDs and an INT. Three of those TD passes went to Laquon Treadwell and the other went to Cody Core. Jordan Wilkins rushed for a TD and Laremy Tunsil, yes, the offensive lineman, caught a lateral and ran 2 yards for the score. Kicker Gary Wunderlich was 2/3 on FGs on the night. Ole Miss ended up with 554 yards of total offense in the rout. Ole Miss finishes the season 10-3 overall and 6-2 in the SEC.
–TaxSlayer Bowl: Georgia 24 Penn State 17; Georgia got off to a hot start in this game and took a 17-3 lead into halftime and a 24-3 into the 4th quarter. Penn State was not able to complete the comeback but they did come close. Greyson Lambert threw a TD to Terry Godwin who also threw a TD to Malcom Mitchell. Sony Michel carried the ball 20 times for 85 yards and a score for the Bulldogs. Marshal Morgan added a 44-yard FG as well. Early in the game, Dominick Sanders had an amazing interception of Christian Hackenberg. Lorenzo Carter sealed the win for the Bulldogs when he knocked down the hail mary attempt on the last play of the game. Georgia was outgained in this one 401-327 in offensive yards. This was a defensive matchup. Georgia finishes the season 10-3 overall and 5-3 in the SEC.
–AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Arkansas 45 Kansas State 23; This game started off a little shaky for the Razorbacks, but they pulled away in the 4th quarter. The crowd was mostly Razorback fans and they stayed until the very end, making is more of a home game than a couple home games Arkansas played this season. Brandon Allen was 20/26 for 315 yards, a TD to Jeremy Sprinkle, and an INT. He finishes the season with 30TDs and just 8INTs. Alex Collins carried the ball 23 times for 185 yards and 3TDs, the last one of which he carried about half of the Kansas State defense for 7 yards as he chugged into the end zone. That gave him 20TDs on the season, a new single season record for Arkansas. Kody Walker and Jared Cornelius each had rushing scores as well. Hunter Henry finishes his career at Arkansas with 5 receptions for 92 yards in this game. Cole Hedlund was 1/2 on FGs, his 46-yard attempt at the end of the first half was blocked. The Razorbacks had the ball for 37:30 in this game and outgained Kansas State 569-242 in offensive yards. The Hogs had 30 first downs in this game and were 6-10 on 3rd down. Arkansas finishes their season 8-5 after starting 2-4, and 5-3 in the SEC with road wins over Tennessee, Ole Miss, and LSU.
Big 10 (5-5):
–New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Indiana 41 Duke 44 OT; I’ll be honest, I really didn’t care about this game. I didn’t even start watching it until the end because the other games had finished. I missed out on a pretty exciting game. This one ended in controversy when Indiana’s FG attempt in overtime was called no good. It was a close one and if the goal posts had been a couple feet higher, there would have been no dispute. Nate Sudfeld was 28/51 for 389 yards, 3TDs, and 2INTs. David Redding carried the ball 35 times for 227 yards and a TD and Alex Rodriguez also scored a TD. You read that right. An Indiana RB named Alex Rodriguez scored a TD in a bowl game played in Yankee Stadium. Mitchell Paige, Luke Timian, and Nick Westbrook each caught TDs for the Hoosiers in this game. Kicker Griffin Oakes was 2/4 on FGs (missing a 58-yarder at the end of regulation and the 38-yarder in OT). Indiana outgained Duke 667-536 in offensive yards, but it wasn’t enough. Indiana finishes the season 6-7 overall and 2-6 in Big 10 play.
–Foster Farms Bowl: Nebraska 37 UCLA 29; Nebraska was down 7-21 halfway through the second quarter, but only allowed UCLA to score 8 more points for the rest of the game. QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. had a great game, going 12/19 for 174 yard, a TD pass to Stanley Morgan Jr., and also rushed for a TD. Imani Cross, Andy Janovich, and Terrell Newby each rushed for TDs for the Huskers in this game. Nebraska put up an even 500 offensive yards in this game. Josh Rosen was picked off in the end zone with just under 3 minutes left and Nebraska was able to run out the clock to win the game. Nebraska is the second 5-7 team to play this bowl season and they have both won. Nebraska finishes 6-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big 10 in Mike Riley’s first season as head coach.
–Quick Lane Bowl: Minnesota 21 Central Michigan 14; With Minnesota’s win, all three 5-7 teams won their bowl games. These two defenses came to play. Minnesota led until about 11 minutes into the 4th quarter then trailed by one until Mitch Leidner threw a TD with 4:26 remaining and then they got the 2-point conversion to make it a 7-point game. The Golden Gophers were able to hold off CMU and then run clock for the rest of the game. Mitch Leidner was 24/30 for 223 yards and a TD and an INT along with his go-ahead rush TD. KJ Maye was the go to receiver in this one and caught the TD and 2-point conversion. Kicker Ryan Santoso was 2/2 on FGs to help lift his team to the win. Minnesota finished the season 6-7 overall and 2-6 in Big 10 play.
–National University Holiday Bowl: Wisconsin 23 25USC 21; Wisconsin escaped this game with a win. A late FG put the Badgers up and USC was unable to score again. Joel Stave threw for 217 yards and a TD to Austin Traylor and Corey Clement rushed for a score. Kicker Rafael Gaglianone was 3/3 on FGs to lift his team to victory. Wisconsin outgained USC 394-286 in offensive yards. Wisconsin pinned USC deep after picking off Cody Kessler late, and USC ended up turning the ball over on downs. At one point in the third quarter, Wisconsin took a 20-7 lead and it saw it disappear. Wisconsin finishes with a 10-3 record and a 6-2 Big 10 record.
–College Football Playoff Semifinal: Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic: 3Michigan State 0 2Alabama 38; This game didn’t go too great for Michigan State. On the plus side they did hold Derrick Henry to under 100 yards. Connor Cook threw 2INTs in this game. MSU did rack up 239 yards of offense (more than Ohio State against MSU, and no, I will never let them live that down). Honestly, I’m not surprised with this outcome. In my (kinda) professional opinion, Michigan State was the least talented of the 4 teams. I believe Ohio State was better than MSU, but OSU didn’t win the game and that’s all that matters. Don’t get me wrong, I 100% believed Michigan State deserved their spot in the playoffs. They beat Ohio State and beat Iowa in the Big 10 Champ game. You have to win your way into the final four and Michigan State did. But personally, I would’ve loved to see a rematch of last year’s Sugar Bowl. Michigan State finishes the season 12-2 overall and 7-1 in the Big 10, their only loss came on a somewhat controversial play against Nebraska.
–Outback Bowl: 13Northwestern 6 23Tennessee 45; I’m not going to lie. I was happy with outcome. If you have read my blog this year, you know that I did not think Northwestern deserved to be ranked this high. It’s always nice to be proven right. The two Northwestern QBs, Zack Oliver and Clayton Thorson, combined for 0TDs and 4INTs. Justin Jackson rushed for a TD for the Wildcats but the PAT was missed. Northwestern’s offense couldn’t keep up with Tennessee and their defense wasn’t good enough to stop them. Northwestern finishes the season 10-3 overall (combined score of 123-16 in those 3 losses) and were 6-2 in the Big 10.
–Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: 14Michigan 41 19Florida 7; Michigan was the only team that was able to blow out an SEC team this bowl season. Jake Ruddock had a great game, throwing for 278 yards and 3TDs. Jehu Chesson had 118 receiving yards and a TD, Grant Perry caught a TD, and Drake Johnson caught a TD and rushed for a score. Sione Houma also rushed for a TD and De’Veon Smith carried the ball 25 times for 109 yards. Kicker Kenny Allen was 2/2 on FGs, one from 21 yards out and the other from 25. The Wolverines outgained Florida 503-273 in offensive yards and had the ball for nearly 40 minutes.
–BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl: 7Ohio State 44 8Notre Dame 28; I thought this game would be a lot more competitive. Ohio State defensive star Joey Bosa was ejected in the first quarter for a questionable targeting call, but they didn’t seem to hurt the Buckeyes too much. JT Barrett threw a TD to Michael Thomas and an INT. Ezekiel Elliott was the star of this game, rushing for 149 yards and 4TDs. Kicker Sean Nuernberger was also 3/3 on FGs for OSU. Ohio State ended up just short of 500 total yards on offense in this game. Midway through the 3rd quarter Notre Dame got within a TD, but OSU answered with a TD on the next drive. The closest ND came after that was 10 points. Ohio State ends their season with a 12-1 overall record and 7-1 in the Big 10.
–Rose Bowl Game Presented By Northwestern Mutual: 5Iowa 16 6Stanford 45; I didn’t think Iowa would be blown out by this much. The Hawkeyes were down 0-35 at halftime. CJ Beathard threw for 239 yards, 2TDs and a pick 6. Matt VandeBerg and Akrum Wadley each caught TDs. Kicker Marshall Koehn also made a 39-yard FG in the game. Iowa was only able to rush for a net of 48 yards on 38 carries. The Hawkeyes were also 3-4 on 4th down, but they were unable to capitalize on most of their drives. After starting the season 12-0, Iowa finishes 12-2 and 8-0 in Big 10 play.
–TaxSlayer Bowl: Penn State 17 Georgia 24; Penn State went into the 4th quarter down 3-24, but were just a batted hail mary away from possibly going to OT or winning the game. Star QB Christian Hackenberg threw an INT early (it wasn’t really his fault) and was knocked out of the game in the second quarter because of a shoulder injury. Trace McSorley was his replacement and threw 2TDs in the 4th quarter. DaeSean Hamilton and Geno Lewis each were on the receiving end of a TD pass. Kicker Tyler Davis provided the only points of the first 3 quarters for the Nittany Lions on his 34-yard FG. PSU outgained Georgia 401-327 in total offensive yards. Penn State finishes the season 7-6 overall and 4-4 in Big 10 play.
Pac 12 (6-4):
–Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona 45 New Mexico 37; Arizona jumped out to an early lead, but was able to hold off the New Mexico rally. Anu Solomon threw for 329 yards, 2TDs, and an INT and rushed for a score. Cayleb Jones caught 4 passes for 182 yards (including a 78-yard TD). Jared Baker rushed for 107 yards and 3 scores. The Wildcats picked off New Mexico QBs 3 times in this game and two of those were turned into TDs on the ensuing drives. Arizona only had the ball for 19:08 in this game, but that was enough to score 45 points. The longest TD drive for Arizona lasted 1:49. Casey Skowron’s only made FG of the game came with 1:32 remaining from 37 yards out to put the game out of reach for the Lobos. Arizona finishes the season 7-6 and 3-6 in the Pac 12.
–Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: 22Utah 35 BYU 28; This game looked like it was going to be a huge blowout. Utah scored all 35 of their points in the first 11 minutes of the game. They converted 5 BYU turnovers into TDs but the Ute’s offense could not string a drive together after that. Tevin Carter had a 61-yard pick six and Dominique Hatfield had a 46-yard pick 6. Joe Williams rushed for 2TDs and Travis Wilson rushed for the other. Utah only amassed 197 total offensive yards, but they were able to do just enough early to win the game. BYU chipped away at the lead for the rest of the game but Utah was able to get enough first downs on their final drive to end the game. Utah finishes the season with a 10-3 overall record and 6-3 in the Pac 12.
–Hyundai Sun Bowl: Washington State 20 Miami(FL) 14; This might have been the “Sun” bowl, but it was snowing during the whole game. At one point you could barely see what was going on. Washington State was shut out in the second half but they had scored enough to survive. Luke Falk was 29/53 for 295 yards and 2TDs, one to Gabe Marks and the other to Jamal Morrow. Kicker Erik Powell was 2/2 on FGs to help out his Cougars. This win caps off WSU’s great 9-5 season that also saw them go 6-3 in the Pac 12 with wins at Oregon and UCLA and a 2-point loss to Stanford.
–Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Washington 44 Southern Miss 31; This game was close until the 4th quarter. Southern Miss tied the game with just under 3 minutes left in the third quarter before Washington rattled off 17 unanswered points. Jake Browning was 23/34 for 284 yards, but the real star was RB Myles Gaskin. He carried the ball 26 times for 181 yards and 4TDs. Jaydon Mickens also rushed for a TD for the Huskies. Kicker Cameron Van Winkle was 3/3 on FGs, the farthest coming from 24 yards out. The Huskies racked up 580 yards in this one. Washington finished with a 7-6 record overall and 4-5 in Pac 12 play.
–Foster Farms Bowl: UCLA 29 Nebraska 37; UCLA started this game off strong with a 21-7 lead, but they couldn’t stop Nebraska’s run game. Josh Rosen was 26/40 for 319 yards and 3TDs, but he also threw 2 costly INTs. Nate Starks, Jordan Payton, and Kenneth Walker III each caught TDs. The Bruins’ leading rusher was Paul Perkins, who rushed for 68 yards and a TD (UCLA rushed for a net of 67 yards as a team). UCLA was outgained by 114 yards and only had the ball for 21:45. This game caps off a disappointing season for UCLA, who finishes 8-5 and 5-4 in the Pac 12.
–Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: California 55 Air Force 36; What a game for Jared Goff. In his last game as a collegiate player, Goff was 25/37 for 467 yards and 6TDs. And he looked as good as his stat line. I don’t think I saw a better performance by a QB this season when it comes to accuracy (and I saw Brandon Allen throw 6TDs against Ole Miss and 7 against Mississippi State). Kenny Lawler caught 3TDs, Darius Powe caught 2, and Bryce Treggs had 4 receptions for 143 yards and a TD. Vic Enwere also rushed for a score for the Golden Bears. Air Force came within 7 points near the end of the second quarter, but Cal was able to answer with 17 unanswered points to put the game out of reach. California started the season with 5 straight wins, finished 2-5 before the bowl for a 8-5 overall record and a 4-5 mark in the Pac 12.
–National University Holiday Bowl: 25USC 21 Wisconsin 23; USC trailed until the 4th quarter of this game. The Trojans took a 21-20 lead after being down 13 points midway through the third quarter. Cody Kessler threw a TD to Darreus Rogers but also threw an INT late that ended up getting them pinned deep for their final drive of the game. Justin Davis rushed for 2 scores for USC as well. USC was outgained by more than 100 yards and also only had the ball for just under 23 minutes of the game. USC finishes 8-6 on the season and 6-3 in the Pac 12. Considering they fired their coach midseason, I’d say 8 wins and being the runners-up in the Pac 12 isn’t too bad.
–Rose Bowl Game Presented By Northwestern Mutual: 6Stanford 45 5Iowa 16; Christian McCaffrey and Stanford played like they had something to prove. Kevin Hogan threw 3TDs and also rushed for a score. Michael Rector caught 2TDs. Christian McCaffrey rushed for 172 yards, had 105 receiving yards and a TD, and also had a 63-yard punt return TD. Quenton Meeks also had a 66-yard pick 6 for the Cardinal. Kicker Conrad Ukropina also kicked a FG in this game. Stanford was just 3-10 on 3rd down, but they made 19 first downs in the game. Stanford outgained Iowa 429-287 in offensive yards. Stanford finishes the season 12-2 overall and 8-1 in Pac 12 play. Their other loss was a head scratcher at Northwestern in the first game of the season.
–Valero Alamo Bowl: 15Oregon 41 11TCU 47 3OT; I still can’t believe that this one turned out the way it did. Oregon looked like they were going to continue the string of lopsided bowl games, but TCU had other plans. Vernon Adams Jr. was 13/19 for 197 yards and a TD to Darren Carrington. Royce Freeman rushed for 130 yards and 3TDs and Tony Brooks-James also rushed for a score. Kicker Aiden Schneider was 2/2 on FGs for the Ducks in this game. And most of those stats came in the first half. It is hard to blow a 31-0 lead, but Oregon did. In regulation Oregon had the ball for 24:18 and ended the game with 419 total offensive yards. The two teams traded TDs in the first OT and long FGs in the second OT. TCU had the ball first in the 3rd OT but couldn’t get the 2-point conversion. Oregon was unable to get a first down on their final possession, giving TCU the completely improbable win. Oregon finished the season 9-4 overall and 7-2 in the Pac 12.
–Motel 6 Cactus Bowl: Arizona State 42 West Virginia 43; This one was a great game. Too bad it didn’t start until 10:15 ET. I tried my hardest to stay up for the end of this game but I think I fell asleep during the 3rd quarter. Arizona State scored a TD with just under 5 minutes remaining and elected to kick the PAT instead of going for two. This put them up 6 points. Why in the world would you not go for two? If you make it, it’s a 7-point game and it puts all the pressure on the other team to send the game to OT or go for the win. If you miss it, it’s a 5-point game and the other team doesn’t even need to worry about the PAT if they score a TD. The decision makes no sense to me. Mike Bercovici was 29/2 for 418 yards and 4TDs. Devin Lucien had 9 receptions for 144 yards and a TD, Tim White caught 2TDs, and Gary Chambers caught the other. Tim White also returned a blocked PAT for 2 points for the Sun Devils. Kicker Zane Gonzalez was 4/5 on FGs with his long coming from 48 yards out. ASU did get the ball back after WVU’s TD, but they were unable to convert on 4th down. Arizona State finished the season 6-7 overall and 4-5 in the Pac 12.
Big 12 (3-4):
–Russell Athletic Bowl: 17Baylor 49 10North Carolina 38; Baylor outran North Carolina. The Bears ended up with 645 yards on the ground. They basically told the world, “No QB, no problem.” Johnny Jefferson rushed for 299 yards and 3TDs, Devin Chafin rushed for 161 yards and a TD, Terence Williams rushed for 2TDs, and Lynx Hawthorne rushed for a TD. The Bears ended up with 756 yards of total offense and didn’t fumble once on their 84 carries. Wow. Baylor ends the season 10-3 overall, after starting 8-0, and 6-3 in the Big 12.
–AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl: Texas Tech 27 20LSU 56; Texas Tech 27 20LSU 56; Texas Tech could not stop Leonard Fournette and the LSU rushing attack. Patrick Mahomes threw for 370 yards and 4TDs, but it was not enough to outscore LSU. Jakeem Grant was the leading receiver for the Red Raiders, catching 10 passes for 125 yards and 3TDs. Reginald Davis caught the other TD. Texas Tech cut the lead to 1 point early in the third quarter, but LSU answered with 3TDs. Nearly all of the stats were the same except for when it came to the rush yards. LSU outrushed TTU 377-29 to secure the win. Texas Tech started the season well, but finished 7-6 overall and with a 4-5 mark in the Big 12.
–College Football Playoff Semifinal: Capital One Orange Bowl: 4Oklahoma 17 1Clemson 37; After a very tight first half, it seemed like this game could come down to whoever had the ball last. Clemson had other plans. Oklahoma was plagued with injuries the entire second half and they just couldn’t get an offense going. Baker Mayfield threw a TD and 2INTs and was held to a net of -15 rush yards. Samaje Perine was also held to just 58 yards and a TD. Mark Andrews caught the TD pass. Kicker Austin Seibert also made a FG in this game. The Sooners didn’t even have the ball for 25 minutes in this game. This proven rushing offense was held to just 67 yards on the ground. Clemson was the better team in this game and had too much for OU to stop or keep up with. Oklahoma finishes the season 11-2 overall and 8-1 in the Big 12. Their only loss came to Texas in the Red River Rivalry game. This will be an extremely scary team next season.
–Allstate Sugar Bowl: 16Oklahoma State 20 12Ole Miss 48; Oklahoma State’s defense wasn’t great this season and that showed in this game. The Cowboys were down 6-34 at halftime and couldn’t mount a comeback. Mason Rudolph and JW Walsh combined for 303 passing yards, but it was Walsh who rushed for OKST’s 2TDs. Ben Grogan kicked 2FGs in this one. The Cowboys were outgained 207-63 in rushing yards yards but had the ball for nearly 4 minutes longer than Ole Miss. Oklahoma State started the season 10-0 but ended 10-3 and 7-2 in Big 12 play.
–AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Kansas State 23 Arkansas 45; Kansas State looked like they might be able to upset Arkansas after taking a 10-7 lead on the Hogs in the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Arkansas is a team that wears out defenses as the game goes on. Kody Cook threw for 163 yards and a TD to Winston Dimel who also rushed for a TD. Joe Hubener threw an INT late in the 4th quarter and that sealed the loss because KSU didn’t get the ball back. Elijah Lee picked off Brandon Allen deep in Arkansas territory on the Hogs’ first series and the Wildcats were able to turn that into a TD. Kicker Matthew McCrane was 3/3 on FGs on the night. Kansas State only had the ball for 22:30 and only gained 242 total yards. Kansas State finishes the season 6-7 overall and 3-6 in the Big 12. Kansas State had to win their final 3 games of the season to become bowl eligible and beat West Virginia 24-23 in their final game.
–Valero Alamo Bowl: 11TCU 47 15Oregon 41 3OT; The score makes it look like this game was competitive throughout. It wasn’t. Oregon went into halftime with a 31-0 lead but TCU had a lot of fight left in them. Bram Kohlhausen was 28/45 for 351 yards, 2TDs and an INT, and rushed for 2 more scores. Jaelan Austin and Emanuel Porter each caught TDs and Aaron Green rushed for 101 yards and a score. Kicker Jaden Oberkrom was 4/4 on FGs in this game including a game-tying FG with 19 seconds left in regulation and made a 46-yarder in the second OT. Kohlhausen ran for an 8-yard TD in the 3rd OT and even thought they missed the 2-point conversion, their defense was able to stop Oregon to get the win. TCU outgained Oregon 545-419 in total offensive yards and were also 3-4 on 4th down. The Horned Frogs also had the ball for almost 11 minutes longer than Oregon. All of this was done without the two best players from TCU being on the field. What a game. TCU finishes the season 11-2 overall and 7-2 in the Big 12.
–Motel 6 Cactus Bowl: West Virginia 43 Arizona State 42; West Virginia ended up benefiting from questionable decision making by the Arizona State coaching staff. This game started out with 4FGs, but it soon turned into an offensive shootout. Skyler Howard was 28/51 for 532 yards, 5TDs, and 2INTs. Shelton Gibson had 143 receiving yards and a TD, Daikiel Shorts caught 2TDs, and Gary Jennings and David Sills each caught TDs. Kicker Josh Lambert was 3/3 on FGs for the Mountaineers. WVU got the ball with just under 5 minutes left and were able to drive down the field and score. The PAT gave them a 1-point lead and that would turn out to be enough. West Virginia outgained ASU 676-520 in total yards. This was a great game and it sucked that it didn’t start until after 10pm ET. West Virginia finished the season 8-5 overall and 4-5 in Big 12 play.
–Hyundai Sun Bowl: Miami(FL) 14 Washington State 20; There was no sun featured in this Sun Bowl. The snow started coming down hard and neither team was able to do much offensively after the first half. Brad Kaaya threw a TD to Stacy Coley and also threw an INT. Mark Walton rushed for a TD and Joseph Yearby threw an INT that really killed Miami’s momentum. The Hurricanes racked up nearly 100 penalty yards in this game and also turned the ball over 3 times. Miami was also just 3-13 on 3rd down. Despite firing their coach halfway through the season, Miami ended up 8-5 and 5-3 in the ACC.
–New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Duke 44 Indiana 41 OT; Duke won a bowl game. For the first time since 1961. That is a very long time. Thomas Sirk was the star of this game for Duke. He threw a TD and 2INTs, but also rushed for 155 yards and 2 scores (one was 73 yards and the other came with 41 seconds left to tie the game). Shaun Wilson rushed for an 85-yard TD, threw a pick, and also had a 98-yard kick return to tie the game at 37 in the 4th quarter. Kicker Ross Martin was the difference in the game, going a perfect 3/3 on FGs. These two teams combined for 6 turnovers and 1,203 total offensive yards in this back-and-forth game. Duke wrapped up an 8-5 season that also saw them go 4-4 in the ACC.
–Camping World Independence Bowl: Virginia Tech 55 Tulsa 52; Everyone was rooting for the Hokies and Frank Beamer in this game. Virginia Tech had a huge 52-31 lead midway through the third quarter but Tulsa didn’t give up. This game started off with 4TDs in the first 3:18. Which made no sense. I didn’t think either team would score more than 35 points. Michael Brewer passed for 344 yards and a TD to Isaiah Ford, who ended up with 12 catches for 227 yards. Travon McMillian rushed for 2TDs and Sam Rogers, Bucky Hodges, and Trey Edmunds each ran for a TD. Greg Stroman had a punt return to put VT up by 24 points in the second quarter. Kicker Joey Slye was a perfect 2/2 on FGs to give the Hokies the edge in the game. Virginia Tech was 2 yards shy of gaining 600 offensive yards. This was Frank Beamer’s last game as a coach and his players got him win 238 as the VT head coach. Virginia Tech finished the season 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the ACC.
–Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: Pittsburgh 28 21Navy 44; Pittsburgh started this game off with a 100-yard kickoff return by Quadree Henderson. Pittsburgh didn’t score again until 3:14 left in the 3rd quarter. The Panthers got within 10 points of Navy twice, but couldn’t put together a defense stop to get any closer. Nathan Peterman threw a TD to Qadree Ollison who also rushed for a TD. Jordan Whitehead returned a fumble 22 yards for a TD 17 seconds after Ollison’s first TD. Pitt only had the ball for 17:55 in this game. Pittsburgh finishes the season with an 8-5 record overall and a 6-2 record in the ACC.
–Russell Athletic Bowl: 10North Carolina 38 17Baylor 49; North Carolina fought gallantly, but they couldn’t stop the Baylor rush attack. Marquise Williams threw for 233 yards and 3TDs and an INT as well as rushing for 2TDs. Bug Howard, Brandon Fritts, and Kendrick Singleton each caught TDs for the Tar Heels. Usually being responsible for 5TDs is enough to get the win for your team, but when your defense allows your opponent to rush for 645 yards, it is hard to win. UNC turned the ball over twice and Baylor was able to convert both into TDs. UNC was outplayed in this game and while there were able to answer most of Baylor’s scores, they couldn’t stop Baylor from scoring. UNC finishes up a great season with an 11-3 overall record and an 8-0 mark in the ACC.
–Belk Bowl: NC State 28 Mississippi State 51; NC State was unable to stop Mississippi State and Dak Prescott in his final game. The Wolf Pack had two quick scored to pull within a TD, but couldn’t score enough to get back into the game. Jacoby Brissett threw an 82-yard TD pass to Pharoah McKever and also threw 2INTs. Brissett also ran for a TD. Jaylen Samuels rushed for 2TDs for NC State as well. NC State racked up 424 yards of total offense but were still outgained by nearly 150 yards. NC State finishes the year with a 7-6 overall record and a 3-5 record in the ACC.
–Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Louisville 27 Texas A&M 21; Louisville got out to an early 20-7 lead in the 4th quarter of this game but were only able to score one more time in the final 3 quarters of play. Lamar Jackson was all of the Cardinals’ offense in this game. He threw 2TDs and also carried the ball 22 times for 226 yards and 2TDs. Keith Towbridge and Mickey Crum each caught TDs. Louisville outgained Texas A&M 534-445 in total offensive yards. Texas A&M turned the ball over 4 times in the second half (fumble, INT, missed FG, downs). Louisville finishes the season 8-5 overall and 5-3 in ACC play.
–Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: 9Florida State 24 18Houston 38; Florida State just didn’t look prepared for this game. It didn’t help that Sean Maguire threw 4INTs. He was also 22/44 for 392 yards and 2TDs. Dalvin Cook was held to just 33 yards and a TD on 18 carries. Travis Rudolph caught 7 passes for 201 yards and a TD. Jesus Wilson also caught a TD. The normally reliable Roberto Aguayo was just 1/2 on FGs. Despite turning the ball over 5 times, the ‘Noles were in this game the whole time. I was extremely impressed with how well Houston’s defense was able to stop Dalvin Cook. Sean Maguire hurt his ankle in this game and he didn’t play very well when he came back in. Florida State finished the season 10-3 overall and 6-2 in ACC games.
–College Football Playoff Semifinal: Capital One Orange Bowl: 1Clemson 37 4Oklahoma 17; Clemson won this game by taking over in the second half. The Tigers were down 16-17 at halftime but held Oklahoma to 0 in the second half. Deshaun Watson threw a TD and an INT and also rushed for 145 yards and a score. Hunter Renfrow caught the TD. Wayne Gallman rushed for 150 yards and 2TDs and gave Oklahoma a really tough time. Kicker Greg Huegel was 3/4 on FGs in the game. Clemson outgained Oklahoma 530-378 in total offensive yards and had the ball almost 10 minutes longer than the Sooners. Clemson clearly took offense to being the underdog in this game. They played the second half like they were the number one team in the country and I think they will give ‘Bama all they can handle in the National Championship game.
–Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: BYU 28 22Utah 35; BYU shot themselves in the foot early by turning the ball over 5 times on their first 5 possessions. Utah turned all of those turnovers into TDs and it was just too much for BYU to overcome. Tanner Mangum was 25/56 for 315 yards, 2TDs, 3INTs (2 pick sixes), and rushed for the TD that made it a one-score game. Francis Bernard rushed for a TD for the Cougars and Nick Kurtz and Remington Peck each caught TDs. BYU decided to kick the ball to Utah after their final TD with 3:23 remaining because their defense had been doing great, but they never got the ball back. It was impressive to see BYU fight back after going down 35-0 early. The Cougars finish 9-4 this season.
–BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl: 8Notre Dame 28 7Ohio State 44; Notre Dame got started to slow in this game. They were down 0-14 after the first quarter and couldn’t make a comeback. DeShone Kizer threw for 284 yards and 2TDs and an INT and also rushed for a score. Will Fuller was the leading receiver with 6 catches for 113 yards and a TD. Chris Brown caught the other TD. Josh Adams also rushed for a TD for the Fighting Irish. Ohio State’s defense showed up in this game and Ezekiel Elliott could not be stopped. Notre Dame finished the season 10-3 overall. The other two losses were on the road at 1Clemson (lost by 2) and 6Stanford (lost by 2).
–Miami Beach Bowl: USF 35 Western Kentucky 45; This game didn’t start out like the shootout it was expected to be. The Bulls took a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter but then allowed 24 unanswered points. They were able to get back within 3 points twice, but WKU pulled away both times. Quinton Flowers threw for 273 yards and a TD and also rushed for 109 yards and 2 scores. Rodney Adams had 130 receiving yards and a TD and also rushed for a score. D’Ernest Johnson threw a TD to Tyre McCants. Kicker Emilio Nadelman was 0/2 on FGs, missing from 43 and 54 yards. USF amassed 597 offensive yards in this game and did not turn the ball over. The Bulls were just 2-15 on 3rd down but were 3-4 on 4th down. USF finishes the season 8-5 overall after starting 1-3, and they finished 6-2 in AAC play.
–Marmot Boca Raton Bowl: 24Temple 17 Toledo 32; Temple only found the end zone once in this game and it wasn’t until 2:50 was left. They were still in the game at that point, but were unable to come out of the pile with the ball after their onside kick. PJ Walker was 23/42 for 236 yards and an INT. Kip Patton rushed for the only Owl TD. Kicker Austin Jones was 3/3 on FGs. Temple allowed Toledo to score 20 points in the 4th quarter. Temple finishes the season 10-4 and 7-1 in American Athletic play.
–Hawai’i Bowl: Cincinnati 7 San Diego State 42; Cincinnati looked like they didn’t really want to play this game. The Bearcats didn’t have QB Gunner Kiel and backup Hayden Moore threw 3INTs, one of which was a pick 6. The only score for Cincinnati came on a run by Mike Boone late in the fourth quarter. Cincy was penalized 10 times for 110 yards, making it hard for them to try to come back. The Bearcats were picked to win the American conference but finished 7-6 overall and 4-4 in conference play.
–St. Petersburg Bowl: Connecticut 10 Marshall 16; This game was much closer than I thought it would be. UConn’s defense was extremely impressive and kept them in the game. Their offense just couldn’t score enough to beat Marshall. The Huskies’ only TD came on the ground from Ron Johnson. Bobby Puyol hit a 52-yard FG by bouncing it off the crossbar and in at the end of the 3rd quarter to pull within 3 points of Marshall. UConn was outgained by 176 yards, but still kept this one close. The Huskies finish the season 6-7 overall and 4-4 in the AAC. This was the first bowl appearance since they played Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2010 season.
–Camping World Independence Bowl: Tulsa 52 Virginia Tech 55; This bowl game got started fast and stayed that way. These two teams combined for 4TDs in the first 3:18 of the game. Tulsa was down 24 points in the second quarter and 21 in the 3rd quarter before cutting the lead to 3 points with just under 4 minutes remaining. They did get the ball back but they turned it over on downs. Dane Evans threw for 374 yards and 3TDs and also rushed for a score. Joshua Atkinson had 139 receiving yards and a TD and Keyarris Garrett had 137 receiving yards and a TD. Bishop Louie also caught a TD. D’Angelo Brewer rushed for 105 yards and 2TDs with Zack Langer also rushing for a score. Kicker Redford Jones also made his only FGA of the game. These two teams combined for 1,161 yards of offense and just 84 penalty yards. Tulsa finishes the season 6-7 and 3-5 in the American conference.
–Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman: 21Navy 44 Pittsburgh 28; The American Conference got their first bowl win of the year in this game. Keenan Reynolds was the star of this show. He threw for 126 yards and a TD to Tyler Carmona, he had a 47-yard reception, and of course, he rushed for 144 yards and 3TDs. He finishes his career at Navy with 88 rushing TDs. He took back his record from LA Tech’s Kenneth Dixon. Demond Brown and Toneo Gulley each rushed for scores in this game as well. Navy amassed 590 yards and had the ball for 42:05. There were only 3 penalties called in this game for just 20 yards. This win caps off a great year for the Midshipmen, who finish with an 11-2 overall record and 7-1 in their first season in the American Conference.
–Birmingham Bowl: Memphis 10 Auburn 31; I don’t know what was going on with Paxton Lynch in this game. He never found a rhythm and definitely didn’t look like the best QB prospect in the upcoming draft. This game was tied at halftime, but it was all Auburn in the second half. Lynch was just 16/37 for 106 yards. The only TD for Memphis came on a 53-yard pick 6 by Reggis Ball. Jake Elliott was 1/2 on FGs in this game, but his make came from 53-yards out. Memphis ended up with just 205 total offensive yards in this game. Memphis finishes the season 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the American. Memphis started out the season 8-0.
–Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: 18Houston 38 9Florida State 24; What a game for Houston and Tom Herman. Greg Ward Jr. was 25/41 for 238 yards, a TD and an INT, and also rushed for 2TDs. Demarcus Ayers also threw a TD. Chance Allen caught both TDs. Ryan Jackson rushed for a score as well. Kicker Ty Cummings also made his only FGA of the game. The Cougars led 21-3 at halftime but FSU got back in it in the second half. The Cougs only outgained FSU by 35 yards, but they had the ball for 9 and a half minutes longer. Houston finished this amazing season 13-1 overall, 7-1 in the AAC, and won the American Conference. The only loss came to Connecticut 17-20 when Greg Ward Jr. was still banged up from the Memphis game.
Mountain West (4-4):
–Gildan New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico 37 Arizona 45; New Mexico rallied from 18 down, but they were unable to come all the way back. Lamar Jordan was 3/9 for 110 yards, a TD, and 2INTs, and also rushed for 135 yards and 3 scores. Austin Apodaca also played QB for the Lobos, throwing an INT and also rushing for a TD. Delane Hart-Johnson had the only TD reception of the game for the Lobos, and it was a 92-yard catch and run. New Mexico controlled the time of possession and had the ball for nearly 41 minutes, but Arizona’s scoring drives rarely took more than a minute. The Lobos couldn’t stop the Wildcats in this game, but they played tough until the end. They were driving for the tying score, but an INT ended the drive the Lobos’ hopes to win the game. New Mexico finished the season 7-6 and 5-3 in MWC play.
–AutoNation Cure Bowl: San Jose State 27 Georgia State 16; The Spartans were able to win this game despite not scoring an offensive TD until midway through the 4th quarter. SJSU had a 13-7 lead going into the fourth quarter thanks to two 19-yard FGs and an 85-yard punt return TD from Tyler Ervin. QB Kenny Potter threw a TD to Josh Oliver and rushed for another. Tyler Ervin also rushed for 132 yards for the Spartans. SJSU had the ball for 38:19 in this game. Both defenses played great in this one. San Jose finishes 6-7 overall and 4-4 in the MWC.
–Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State 21 Akron 23; Utah State very nearly overcame 3 turnovers, but couldn’t recover the onside kick with 1:12 remaining. The Aggies used two QBs in this game. Chuckie Keeton was 14/25 and threw a TD and an INT and Kent Myers was 14/20 for 2TDs. Hunter Sharp caught one TD and Brandon Swindall caught the other 2. Devante Mays rushed for 124 yards for the Aggies as well. Utah State took a 14-13 lead early in the 3rd quarter, but they were unable to go ahead again. USU outgained Akron 363-282 in offensive yards and ended up having 5 more first downs than the Zips despite not getting one until 13 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Utah drops to 6-7 after this game and 5-3 in Mountain West play.
–San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Boise State 55 Northern Illinois 7; This one wasn’t even a little close. Boise State outgained Northern Illinois 654-33 in offensive yards. Brett Rypien was 29/40 for 337 yards and 3TDs. Jeremy McNichols rushed for 2TDs and also caught a TD. Kelsey Young and Thomas Stuart each rushed for TDs and Chaz Anderson and Alec Dhaenens each caught TDs. Kicker Tyler Rausa was 2/2 on FGs for the game as well. There isn’t much more to say about this one except Boise State completely demolished NIU. The Broncos finish the season 9-4 and 5-3 in the MWC.
–Hawai’i Bowl: San Diego State 42 Cincinnati 7; The Aztecs took lead early in this one. Rashaad Penny returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a TD and SDSU never looked back. Christian Chapman threw a TD, Donnel Pumphrey threw a TD and rushed for a TD, Dakota Gordon rushed for a score and caught a TD, and Mikah Holder also caught a TD. Alex Barrett also had a pick 6 for SDSU. The Aztecs flat out outplayed Cincinnati in this game. There was never a point where it looked like Cincy was going to get back into this game. This game capped off and amazing 11-3 season for SDSU who also went 8-0 in the MWC and beat Air Force in the MWC Championship game.
–Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Air Force 36 California 55; Air Force had no answer for Jared Goff in this game. This game wasn’t ever really completely out of reach for Air Force until the end of the third quarter. Karson Roberts threw 2TDs and a big INT in the red zone. He also rushed for a TD with Jacobi Owens and Tyler Williams also rushing for scores. Jalen Robinette and Timothy McVey each caught TDs for the Falcons. Air Force turned the ball over 3 times and was outgained 586-434 in offensive yards. This was a good game, but Jared Goff was the difference maker. Air Force finished the season with an 8-6 overall record and a 6-2 record in the Moutain West.
–NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Nevada 28 Colorado State 23; I’m still angry about this game. I do not understand how two teams from the same conference could possibly be matched up when 80 teams go bowling. This was a very exciting game. It was close from the beginning and CSU wasn’t out of it for sure until the end. James Butler rushed for 189 yards and 2TDs for the Wolf Pack and Elijah Mitchell returned a kickoff 96 yards for a TD. The rest of Nevada’s points came off kicker Brent Zuko’s 3FGs. The game-winning score came with just over one minute left in the game. Jasen Oden Jr. and Nick Stevens rushed for TDs for the Rams and kicker Wyatt Bryan was also 3/3 when it came to FGs. Colorado State was driving at the end of the game, but ran out of time waiting for the referees to spot the ball. CSU made it all the way to the Nevada 12-yard line. Personally, I have seen way too many games end with refs taking too much time to spot the ball. That should not be the ways games are decided. Nevada finishes the season with a 7-6 overall record and 4-4 regular season MWC record (including a home loss to UNLV). Colorado State also finishes 7-6 overall and 5-3 in the MWC.
–Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Ohio 29 Appalachian State 31; The Ohio Bobcats were up 24-7 midway through the third quarter of this game before allowing a huge 4th quarter comeback by the Mountaineers. During the 2nd and 3rd quarters Ohio scored 24 unanswered points. The only offensive TD for the Bobcats came on an AJ Ouellette run. Quentin Poling had a 20-yard pick 6 and Jovon Johnson had a 45-yard fumble recovery TD and a safety. Kicker Josiah Yazdani was 2/2 on FGs in the game. QB JD Sprague also threw 2INTs. The Bobcats gave the ball back to App State with too much time and couldn’t hold on to their one point lead. Ohio finishes the season with an 8-5 record and 5-3 in the MAC.
–Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Akron 23 Utah State 21; The Akron Zips were able to hold on to beat Utah State to win their first bowl game ever. Neither team played great in this game, but Akron made the least mistakes. QB Thomas Woodson caught the first TD of the game from Tyrell Goodman and Donnell Alexander rushed for a TD. Kicker Robert Stein was 3/3 on FGs. Utah State was driving at the end of the first half and looked like they would tie the game, but Jatavis Brown forced a fumble and Rodney Coe returned it 56 yards to set up a FG at the end of the half. The Zips finish the season 8-5 and 5-3 in MAC play.
–Marmot Boca Raton Bowl: Toledo 32 24Temple 17; The Rockets scored 12 in the second quarter and 20 in the 4th quarter to secure their 10th win of the season. QB Phillip Ely had a great game, going 20/28 for 285 yards and 2TDs. Cody Thompson had 4 receptions for 119 yards and an 80-yard TD. Corey Jones also caught a TD. Kareem Hunt rushed for 2 scores for the Rockets, both coming in the 4th quarter. Toledo outgained Temple 435-335 in this game. The Rockets wrap up a 10-2 season and a 6-2 MAC record.
–San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl: Northern Illinois 7 Boise State 55; Northern Illinois didn’t have a chance in this game. Their only score of the game came on 96-yard kick return by Aregeros Turner. The Huskies ended up with just 33 total offensive yards and they also fumbled the ball 3 times. NIU was also just 1-12 on 3rd down. Northern Illinois ends the season 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the MAC.
–GoDaddy Bowl: Bowling Green 27 Georgia Southern 58; This game seemed like it would be a dogfight after the first half. Bowling Green scored with 36 seconds remaining in the 2nd quarter to take a 27-23 lead into halftime. The Falcons didn’t score again. Matt Johnson was 15/34 for 246 yards and 3TDs. Travis Greene rushed for a score and Ronnie More, Gehrig Dieter, and Roger Lewis each caught TDs. BGSU was unable to get anything going in the second half and they couldn’t Georgia Southern. Bowling Green ended up 10-4 and won the MAC with a 7-1 record in conference play.
–Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Western Michigan 45 Middle Tennessee 31; Western Michigan came into this game with an 0-6 record in bowl games. The Broncos scored 21 fourth quarter points to get their first ever bowl win. The score was 17-17 after the first quarter and it seemed like this would be a high scoring, back and forth game. Neither team scored in the second quarter and each only scored once in the 3rd quarter. The Broncos controlled the second half of the 4th quarter and MTSU just couldn’t move the ball. Zach Terrell threw for 297 yards and 2TDs. Corey Davis had 183 receiving yards and a TD and Daniel Braverman had 101 receiving yards and a TD. Jamauri Bogan carried the ball 19 times for 215 yards and 4TDs in this game. The Broncos amassed 613 yards despite only converting 3 of 12 third downs. WMU finished the season 8-5 overall and 6-2 in the MAC.
–Quick Lane Bowl: Central Michgian 14 Minnesota 21; The Chippewas took a 14-13 lead early in the 4th quarter but couldn’t stop Minnesota from answering. Cooper Rush threw an INT and also rushed for a TD for CMU. Romello Ross rushed for 100 yards and a TD as well. This game was a defensive struggle for both teams. CMU was outgained 381-249 in offensive yards. This wasn’t the most exciting game, but it was competitive. I was sure CMU was going to hold on to get the win, but Minnesota ended up wanting it more and it showed. Central Michigan finished the season 7-6 overall and 6-2 in the MAC including a big win over Northern Illinois.
–R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana Tech 47 Arkansas State 28; Clearly I didn’t do enough research on Louisiana Tech. I didn’t even realize that Kenneth Dixon was that close to Keenan Reynolds in TDs. Dixon is now the NCAA career leader for receiving and rushing TDs with 87 after his 2 rush TDs and 2 receiving TDs in this game. He did all of that with a banged up ankle. Jeff Driskel had a great final game, throwing for 458 yards and 3TDs. Trent Taylor had 10 receptions for 149 yards and a TD as well. Kicker Jonathan Barnes was 4/4 on FGs, including a 50-yarder. The Bulldogs amassed 687 offensive yards in this game and didn’t turn the ball over. They were penalized 13 times for 154 yards. The LA Tech defense did a great job at stopping the high-scoring Arkansas State offense. Louisiana Tech finished the season 9-4 overall and 6-2 in CUSA games.
–Miami Beach Bowl: Western Kentucky 45 USF 35; This game started slow, but quickly turned into an exciting bowl. Brandon Doughty was the star of this game, going 32/45 for 461 yards, 3TDs, and 2INTs. Nicholas Norris caught 5 passes for 120 yards and 2TDs and Jared Dangerfield had an amazing TD catch. Anthony Wales rushed for 105 yards and 2TDs and Nacarius Fant also rushed for a score. Kicker Garrett Schwettman connected on a 39-yard FG at the end of the first half on his only attempt of the game. The Hilltoppers ended up with 612 yards of offense and had a slight advantage in time of possession. WKU fell behind 0-14 early in the second quarter before scoring 38 of the next 45 points. USF got within 3 points twice, but WKU answered both times. WKU finishes the season 12-2 (losses to Indiana and then 5th ranked LSU) and was a perfect 8-0 in conference play and beat Southern Miss in the CUSA Championship.
–Popeyes Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee 31 Western Michigan 45; Middle Tennessee was in this game until the 4th quarter, but they couldn’t overcome the Broncos’ offense. Brent Stockstill threw for 327 yards, 3TDs, and a momentum changing INT that set up WMU for the TD that put the game out of reach. Richie James had 126 receiving yards and 2TDs and also rushed for a score. Christian Collins caught the other TD for the Blue Raiders. This game featured a ton of explosive plays and was a fun one to watch even though I had picked MTSU. The Blue Raiders finish the season 7-6 overall and 6-2 in CUSA games.
–St. Petersburg Bowl: Marshall 16 Connecticut 10; I’m guessing Marshall thought this game would be a little easier to win. The Huskies came out ready to play and they never let up. Marshall was able to outscore Connecticut just enough to win this game. QB Chase Litton was 23/34 for 218 yards and a TD to Ryan Yurachek. He also threw an INT late in the game but UConn was able to convert it into any points. Kicker Nick Smith was 3/4 on FGs to help lift the Thundering Herd over the Huskies. Marshall outgained UConn 389-213 in total offensive yards and also had an almost 10 minute advantage in time of possession. Marshall finished the season 10-3 and 6-2 in conference play.
–Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Southern Miss 31 Washington 44; The Golden Eagles were in this one the whole time, but were just unable to stop Myles Gaskin. Nick Mullens was 25/38 for 331 yards and 2TDs to Michael Thomas, who ended up with 9 catches for 190 yards. Ito Smith rushed for 2 score for USM, but it wasn’t enough. Southern Miss was just 6-15 on third downs in this game. USM was able to tie the game at 24 near the end of the 3rd quarter, but then gave up 17 unanswered points and couldn’t get their offense moving to answer. Southern Miss had one of the best turnarounds in the country, going 9-5 overall, 7-1 in CUSA, and playing for the conference championship after going a combined 4-32 the previous 3 seasons.
Sun Belt (2-2):
–Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Appalachian State 31 Ohio 29; Appalachian State pulled off an amazing comeback to win their first ever bowl game. The Mountaineers took an early 7-0 lead, but didn’t score again until the 4th quarter where they scored 24 points. The game-winning FG came as time expired from 23 yards out off the foot of Zach Matics (who had missed his first 2 FG attempts). QB Taylor Lamb threw 2TDs to Barrett Burns and he also rushed for a score. Marcus Cox carried the ball 24 times for 162 yards and a TD for App State. The Mountaineers outgained Ohio 427-272 in total yards and both teams turned the ball over 3 times. This was an extremely exciting game. Appalachian State goes into the offseason with an 11-2 overall record and 7-1 in Sun Belt play.
–AutoNation Cure Bowl: Georgia State 16 San Jose State 27; Georgia State came back in the 4th quarter to take a 16-13 lead, but SJSU scored two unanswered TDs to finish the game. Nick Arbuckle threw for 208 yards, 2TDs, and an INT. Todd Boyd and Donovan Harden each caught TDs for the Panthers. Georgia State was able to pin SJSU deep early in the 4th quarter and were able to force a safety and then scored, but that was the end of their scoring. The Panthers had the ball for less than 22 minutes in the game. This was Georgia State’s first ever bowl game. The Panthers finished the season 6-7 and 5-3 in Sun Belt play.
–R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Arkansas State 28 Louisiana Tech 47; Arkansas State couldn’t stop Kenneth Dixon or Jeff Driskel in this game. This game was tied at 17 going into the half, but the Red Wolves were outscored 30-11 in the second half. Fredi Knighten threw 2INTs in the second half and also rushed for a TD. Warren Wand also rushed for a TD for ASU. Blaise Taylor had a 98-yard kickoff return TD in the 4th quarter and they were able to get the two-point conversion, but the Red Wolves were unable to score again in the final 10 minutes of the game. Arkansas State ended up with just 323 yards of offense and also turned the ball over 3 times. They also got flagged 11 times for 109 yards. Arkansas State turns in a 9-4 season and a perfect 8-0 Sun Belt record.
–GoDaddy Bowl: Georgia Southern 58 Bowling Green 27; What a way to finish the season for Georgia Southern. This was the first bowl game for the Eagles and they made a statement. They were down 9-20 early in the 2nd quarter, but they scored 7 of the last 8TDs and all 5 second half TDs. Kevin Ellison threw a TD to Montay Crockett, but Favian Upshaw and the run game were the real stars. Upshaw carried the ball 12 times for 199 yards and 4TDs with Wesley Fields, Matt Breida, and LA Ramsby each adding scores on the ground as well. GASO outgained Bowling Green 534-362 in total offensive yards. They also controlled the time of possession, having the ball for 40:39. Georgia Southern finished the season 9-4 and 6-2 in the Sun Belt.
Stats and Scores from ESPN.com