Bowl roundup: Wildcats win one for Big Ten
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Behind huge interceptions early and late, Northwestern beat Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl and snapped college football’s longest postseason losing streak.
The Wildcats (10-3) earned their first bowl win since 1949, ending a nine-game losing skid that was tied for the longest in NCAA history. They also celebrated double-digit victories for the first time since the 1995 Rose Bowl season.
Quentin Williams returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game and Nick Vanhoose set up a late touchdown with a 39-yard interception return. Those plays were the difference in a back-and-forth game that featured more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six).
Northwestern’s two-quarterback system kept the Bulldogs (8-5) off balance most of the day.
Scrambler Kain Colter ran for 71 yards, making up for his two interceptions. Backup Trevor Siemian threw for 120 yards and an interception, and also ran for a score.
STANFORD 20, WISCONSIN 14
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Stepfan Taylor rushed for 89 yards and an early touchdown, Kevin Hogan passed for 123 yards, and No. 8 Stanford won its first Rose Bowl since 1972, beating Wisconsin 20-14 on Tuesday night.
Usua Amanam made the decisive interception near midfield with 2:30 to play as the Pac-12 champion Cardinal (12-2) ended their four-decade drought in the Rose Bowl.
The Big Ten champion Badgers (8-6) lost the Rose Bowl in heartbreaking fashion for the third consecutive season. Montee Ball rushed for 100 yards and his FBS-record 83rd touchdown, but Wisconsin managed only 82 yards after halftime.
With impressive defense of its own, Wisconsin still stayed in position for an upset in the one-game return of Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez, who was back on the Badgers’ sideline seven years after hanging up his whistle.
Curt Phillips went 10 for 16 for 83 yards passing and threw that crucial interception for Wisconsin.
FLORIDA ST. 31, N. ILLINOIS 10
MIAMI (AP) — Senior fullback Lonnie Pryor, voted the game’s outstanding player, ran for a career-high 134 yards and two scores in only five carries and fellow senior EJ Manuel threw for 291 yards for the Seminoles.
The victory was a consolation prize for the Seminoles (12-2), who began the season with national championship hopes. They have won five consecutive bowl games, but the victory was their first in a BCS bowl since 2000.
Northern Illinois (12-2), playing in a BCS bowl for the first time, had a 12-game winning streak snapped. The Huskies came in as two-touchdown underdogs and fell to 5-28 against top 25 teams.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
GEORGIA 45, NEBRASKA 31
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Murray threw five touchdown passes to set a Georgia bowl record, including two in the fourth quarter, and the Bulldogs beat Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
Murray shook off a pair of first-half interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and passed for 427 yards — also a Bulldogs bowl record — against the nation’s top-ranked passing defense. He was named the game’s most valuable player.
Georgia (12-2) reached 12 wins for the third time in school history.
Nebraska (10-4) lost its third consecutive bowl game, and finished the season with two straight woeful defensive performances. The Cornhuskers lost the Big Ten championship game 70-31.
The Cornhuskers led 24-23 at the half, but committed two of their three turnovers in the final 30 minutes. Taylor Martinez had two interceptions and two touchdown passes for Nebraska and Rex Burkhead rushed for 140 yards in his final college game.
S. CAROLINA 33, MICHIGAN 28
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Connor Shaw led South Carolina to the brink of victory and Dylan Thompson carried the Gamecocks over the hump in the Outback Bowl.
Thompson came off the bench to throw a 32-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left Tuesday, enabling South Carolina to tie a school record for victories with a 33-28 win over No. 19 Michigan.
Thompson replaced Shaw during the winning drive, covering the final 43 yards after Shaw began the march from his own 30. Devin Gardner’s third TD pass of the game had given Michigan a 28-27 lead.
Shaw threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns after missing South Carolina’s regular season finale with a left foot sprain. Thompson led the Gamecocks (11-2) to a victory over their archrival, and threw for 117 yards and two TDs.
Gardner threw for 214 yards in his fifth start for Michigan (8-5) since Denard Robinson injured his right elbow late in the season. Robinson rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries.
HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
OKLA. STATE 58, PURDUE 14
DALLAS (AP) — Clint Chelf threw three of Oklahoma State’s five touchdown passes and the Cowboys shook off a disappointing Big 12 finish by dominating Purdue 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
The Cowboys, a year removed from a Fiesta Bowl win that capped the best season in school history, forced five turnovers and had another short TD drive after a 64-yard punt return from Josh Stewart.
With former Purdue quarterbacks Drew Brees and Kyle Orton watching, Robert Marve didn’t get to 100 yards passing until Oklahoma State led 45-0 as Purdue (6-7) fell to 0-4 on New Year’s Day.