Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Ohio: 2018 Frisco Bowl Champions

FRISCO, Texas -- Nathan Rourke ran for two touchdowns and threw for another score, leading Ohio to a 27-0 victory over San Diego State in the drizzly Frisco Bowl on Wednesday night.

A.J. Ouellette rushed for 164 yards and the Bobcats (9-4) finished with 215 on the ground, the most the Aztecs (7-6) allowed all season with the fourth-best run defense in FBS.

Ohio finished with six wins in seven games and won a second straight bowl game under Frank Solich. He became the oldest head coach in FBS at 74 before bowl season when 79-year-old Bill Snyder retired at Kansas State.

San Diego State was shut out in a bowl for the first time since its first postseason appearance -- a 53-0 loss to Hardin-Simmons in the 1948 Harbor Bowl at long-since-demolished Balboa Stadium in San Diego.

The Aztecs had 44 of their 287 yards on one run by Juwan Washington while losing a fourth straight game in a season for the first time in eight years under coach Rocky Long.

San Diego State's first meeting with Ohio was its first loss in 15 games against Mid-American Conference teams. The 27-point margin ended a streak of 10 straight games decided by single digits for the Aztecs, which the school said was the longest such streak since at least 1980.

Light rain that fell throughout the first half didn't seem to bother Rourke. The junior fooled the entire San Diego State defense with a fake handoff to Ouellette and ran untouched 9 yards around left end to cap a 15-play drive for a 10-0 lead in the second quarter.

Rourke's other scoring run was from 11 yards before halftime, and he threw a 35-yard TD to a wide-open Andrew Meyer near the goal line on a flea-flicker from Ouellette in the fourth quarter. Rourke was 10 of 22 for 206 yards passing with 44 yards rushing.

Washington had 129 yards rushing. Ryan Agnew threw for 126 yards, many of them with the game out of reach late, after replacing Aztecs starter Christian Chapman in the first half.


San Diego State: Long is one of five current coaches to lead his team to a bowl in each of his first eight seasons. The Aztecs, who have been to nine straight bowls, are 3-5 in the postseason under Long with consecutive losses in the Dallas area. Army was a 42-35 winner in last year's Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth.

Ohio: The Bobcats have a 1-1 postseason record in Texas, getting even 56 years after losing to West Texas State 15-14 in the school's first bowl appearance in the 1962 Sun Bowl in El Paso. The school's only other game in Texas was in nearby Denton, a 31-30 double-overtime win against North Texas in 2009.


San Diego State: Standout LB Kyahva Tezino is eligible to enter the NFL draft, so his decision will go a long toward determining the Aztecs' hopes of getting back to 10 wins after a two-year streak ended. San Diego State opens at home against Weber State on Aug. 31.

Ohio: Solich's 15th season should be the third as a starter for Rourke, who is losing his top running back in Ouellette and three of his offensive linemen. The Bobcats open at home against Rhode Island on Aug. 31.

UAB: 2018 Boca Raton Bowl Champions

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Two seasons after shutting down its football program, UAB closed out the year on an electrifying note.

Tyler Johnston III threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns, three of them to Xavier Ubosi, and UAB beat Northern Illinois 37-13 in the Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday night.

Ubosi had seven catches for 227 yards for the Conference USA champion Blazers (11-3), who got their first-ever bowl victory in three appearances. UAB played in its second consecutive bowl since the program was reinstated after the self-imposed hiatus.

"I guess in our wildest dreams we dreamed of winning a conference championship and then cap it off with a bowl win, so it's really that sweet," UAB coach Bill Clark said. "I don't think it could have gone any better for us, so I'm very proud."

Northern Illinois (8-6), the Mid-American Conference champion, has lost six consecutive bowl games since beating Arkansas in the 2012 Bowl.

"It really comes down to three things. We gave up three touchdowns on three deep balls," NIU coach Rod Carey said. "Old-fashioned go routes. Give those guys credit. They ran by us. They threw it, caught it. That's the difference. If not, it's 16-13. In the fourth quarter, I like our chances.

"We have to own it as coaches. We have to own it as players. We didn't coach good enough. We didn't play good enough. Thirteen points isn't winning football. Bummer."

Johnston, who took over the starting job for the injured A.J. Erdely at midseason, set career highs in passing yards and touchdown passes, and Ubosi's 227 yards were the third-most receiving in a game in school history. Ubosi came into the game ranked second in the country at 21.8 yards per catch, and his TD receptions covered 70, 46 and 66 yards.

"I'm surprised but at the same time you work for it," Ubosi said. "Just practice hard and whatever you do in practice you'll do in the game."

All-American Spencer Brown, who entered with 1,167 rushing yards and a school-record 16 touchdowns, caught a 3-yard shovel pass for a score and had 78 yards on the ground.

UAB's 10th-ranked defense harassed Huskes quarterback Marcus Childers, sacking him five times and forcing two fumbles (one lost). He finished 22 of 29 for 179 yards and had 35 yards rushing on 18 carries. NIU led the nation with 50 sacks, but never got to Johnston.

Johnston hit Ubosi in stride for a 70-yard TD just 18 seconds after the opening kickoff.

"It made it easier for me," Johnston said. "Everyone wants to score on the first play of the game. I trusted (Ubosi). He said, `Just put it in front of me and I'll go get it."

After a penalty on a punt gave the Blazers a fourth-and-1 opportunity that they converted, the duo connected again with 5:11 remaining in the first half for a 24-10 lead.

The Huskies cut it to 27-13 early in the third, but a little over two minutes later, Johnston found Ubosi down the sideline for his third score.

Nick Vogel kicked three field goals for UAB.

"We talk a lot about making history," Clark said. "We talked about it with Tyler and Xavier and we knew we were going to make history. We wanted to finish."

Carey said the loss shouldn't blemish the careers of his senior class.

"It's a reward for a championship team," Carey said. "We want to win. Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to let the narrative be about me. You want to write I'm 0-6 in bowl games, I could take that. I'm a big boy. But that's not what it's about."


Northern Illinois will be losing 6-foot-6, 320-pound left tackle Max Scharping, an NFL prospect who has started 53 consecutive games. Scharping is finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, given annually to the best scholar-athlete in college football.

UAB will be losing 35 seniors, including 15 starters. Ubosi has played his final game for the Blazers, along with four of five starting offensive linemen, both starting safeties, their middle linebacker and nose tackle. But Johnston and Brown have just begun their collegiate careers.