Thursday, December 27, 2018

Baylor: 2018 Texas Bowl Champions



HOUSTON -- Charlie Brewer threw for 384 yards and two touchdowns, the second a tiebreaking 52-yarder in the fourth quarter, and ran for 109 yards and another score to help Baylor beat Vanderbilt 45-38 in the Texas Bowl on Thursday night.

Brewer connected with Marques Jones for the 52-yard stroke that that made it 45-38 with less than two minutes left. The Bears then stopped Vanderbilt on fourth-and-5 to secure the victory.

Brewer's other touchdown pass was a 75-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter and he scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter.

The Bears finished 7-6 a year after they managed just one in coach Matt Rhule's first season.

Vanderbilt (6-7) was led by Kyle Shurmur, who threw for 286 yards and a touchdown, and Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who ran for two touchdowns and set a Texas Bowl record with 243 yards rushing -- which ranks second in school history. Shurmur moved past Jay Cutler (8,697) for most career yards passing in school history with 8,865.

Baylor led by 3 with about 10 1/2 minutes left when a pass intended for Denzel Mims bounced off of him as he fell in the end zone and was intercepted by Randall Haynie. Haynie grabbed the ball and stood on tiptoes before falling backward out of the end zone.

Two plays later, Vaughn ran 66 yards to get Vanderbilt to the 1, and Khari Blasingame ran it in on the next play to put Vanderbilt up 35-31. The Bears regained the lead when Trestan Ebner scored on the 75-yard catch and run on the first play of the next drive.

Vanderbilt tied it on a 33-yard field goal with 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

Ebner's 34-yard touchdown run gave Baylor a 24-21 lead early in the third quarter. The Bears padded the lead when Brewer scrambled for a 1-yard score with about five minutes left in the third.

Vanderbilt had a chance to cut the lead to 3 after that, but Jared Pinkney fumbled after a 32-yard reception and the Bears recovered it at their own 2. But Baylor couldn't move the ball and had to punt.

Shurmur threw a 52-yard pass to Amir Abdur-Rahman to get the Commodores to the 2-yard line and Blasingame scored on the next play to get to 31-28 near the end of the third quarter.

The Commodores took a 7-0 lead when Shurmur connected with Blasingame on a short pass and dashed down the field for a career-long 65-yard touchdown reception on the third play of the game.

The Bears settled for a 23-yard field goal on their first drive before taking a 10-7 lead when John Lovett ran 12 yards for a touchdown with about two minutes left in the first quarter.

Vanderbilt went back on top 14-10 when Vaughn ran 68 yards for a touchdown late in the first.

JaMycal Hasty gave Baylor a 17-14 lead when he scored on an 18-yard run early in the second quarter.

But Vaughn's second long run came not long after that to make it 21-17. Vaughn broke a couple of tackles and then outran the rest of the defense on the 69-yard score. Jameson Houston dove at his feet near the 20-yard line, but barely clipped one of his legs and Vaughn didn't break his stride on the way to the end zone.

THE TAKEAWAY

Both teams showed power on offense but will need to improve on defense, especially in giving up big plays, if they hope to take another step next season.

UP NEXT

Baylor: After the turnaround this season, the Bears should be improved next year with Brewer returning.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores will have to find a replacement for Shurmur, their starter for the last three years, with his record-setting career ending Thursday night.

Wisconsin: 2018 Pinstripe Bowl Champions



NEW YORK -- Jonathan Taylor ran for 205 yards and a touchdown and topped the 2,000-yard season mark to help Wisconsin rout Miami 35-3 in a chilly Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday night.

Taylor, just a sophomore, ripped off runs of 39 and 41 yards and was sensational at Yankee Stadium and combined with a defense that forced five turnovers to help a Wisconsin (8-5) team ranked fourth in the first AP Top 25 poll salvage its fifth straight bowl victory.

The loss had to seem like a rerun for Miami: Taylor ran for 130 yards in Wisconsin's 34-24 win over the Hurricanes last season in the Orange Bowl.

"We've got the best back in the country," Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said after he accepted the trophy from Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner.

Both teams were ranked inside the top 15 last December. A year later, Wisconsin and Miami (7-6) both showed at times why two teams that opened the season inside the top 10 were stuck playing in a ho-hum bowl game with temperatures in the 30s and a sparse crowd in the Bronx. Miami's Malik Rosier threw three interceptions before he was replaced late in the third quarter; Wisconsin's Rafael Gaglianone whiffed on two field goals.

The Badgers, certainly used to the cold, came out swinging for the fences -- they scored two touchdowns just 3 1/2 minutes into the game and seemingly knocked the will out of Miami. Jack Coan made the most of his start for injured Alex Hornibrook (concussion) and hit Kendric Taylor for a 35-yard TD on the first drive. Rosier's first pass of the game was intercepted and Taylor capitalized with a 7-yard score to make it 14-0 before some fans even hit their seats with a hot drink.

Coan is a Long Island native and needed nearly 50 tickets for friends and family. He ran right for a 7-yard touchdown in the fourth for a 28-3 lead that made it worth the trip for the thousands of fans in red -- an unseemly sight in June at Yankee Stadium -- that stuck it out to the end. Coan made his fifth appearance this season and burned his eligibility to take a redshirt year.

It sure seemed worth it for Wisconsin.

Coan was the home state star but Taylor put a final exclamation point on a season that made one of college football's top stars.

Taylor had 117 yards rushing at halftime and finished with his fifth 200-yard game this season, not bad for a running back that averaged 165.8 yards per game. He joined Ron Dayne and Melvin Gordon as Wisconsin's 2,000-yard rushers.

Rosier got the start over N'Kosi Perry, who had a rocky season and faced heat for two questionable Snapchat posts, in a move that was quickly second-guessed. His third interception of the game was turned into Alex Ingold's 2-yard touchdown and a 21-3 lead. Perry eventually checked into the game -- but Taylor and Coan had long turned this one into a rout.

Taylor, the game's MVP, has been a bright spot for a team that failed to come close to lofty expectations. He finished last season with an FBS freshman-record 1,977 yards and showed the performance was no fluke this season, highlighted by a 321-yard outing against Purdue.

BLOWN AWAY

The Hurricanes played without center Tyler Gauthier (academics) and punter Zach Feagles (leaving the program).

ROOTING QBs

Former Wisconsin star Russell Wilson sent a videotaped message of support and former Miami QB Jim Kelly, who is battling cancer, appeared at midfield for the coin toss. Kelly also presented Taylor with the MVP trophy.

TAKEAWAY

Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz's final game before he leaves for Temple was a dud. The Badgers had 406 total yards.

Wisconsin needs to put a better team around Taylor to become a threat in the Big 10.

UP NEXT

Miami: Is Perry the answer at QB? Jarren Williams, who flirted with transferring, should push Perry for the No. 1 spot and both will try and win the job in training camp.

Wisconsin: Taylor returns for his junior season as a strong contender for the Heisman Trophy and will try and keep the Badgers in the College Football Playoff race.

Duke: 2018 Independence Bowl Champions



SHREVEPORT, La. -- Temple was making big special-teams plays, returning interceptions for touchdowns and looking like a team that might crush Duke for a big postseason win.

But the Owls had one problem that couldn't be overcome: Coach David Cutcliffe doesn't lose in Shreveport.

Daniel Jones threw for 423 yards and five touchdowns, T.J. Rahming caught 12 passes for 240 yards and two scores, and Duke recovered from a slow start to blow past Temple 56-27 in the Independence Bowl on Thursday.

Cutcliffe is now 4-0 in the Independence Bowl dating back to 1998.

"When we come to Shreveport," Cutcliffe said with a grin. "Don't bet against us."

Duke (8-5) snapped a two-game losing streak by putting on an offensive show. The Blue Devils scored touchdowns on seven straight drives, flipping a 27-14 deficit in the second quarter to a 56-27 lead by midway through the fourth.

"We kind of hit a lull for a second, but I don't think we ever lost confidence," Jones said. "We knew we had some good stuff and if we caught a few breaks we could catch momentum and keep it rolling."

Jones' five touchdown passes and 423 yards passing both set Independence Bowl records. So did Duke's 56 points. Cutcliffe wasn't surprised by the offensive success because he felt the team's preparation was excellent.

"It was very evident in Durham what their intentions were," Cutcliffe said. "We didn't have a bad minute of practice."

This was Cutcliffe's first Independence Bowl win at Duke. He led Ole Miss to victories in Shreveport in 1998, 1999 and 2002 and is already enshrined in the bowl's Hall of Honor.

Temple (8-5) lost for just the second time in its past eight games.

"We've got a great culture, we love each other and we're tough," Temple interim coach Ed Foley said. "But you still have to go out and make plays. And (Duke) went out and made more plays than us. That's what cost us the game."

The Owls took a 13-7 lead in the first half after Delvon Randall's 52-yard interception return for a touchdown. It was the 10th game this season in which they scored a non-offensive touchdown.

Temple pushed ahead 27-14 late in the second quarter, but Duke responded with 22-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Rahming to pull within 27-21 by halftime.

"When we came in at halftime our offense was hot. It was a just a matter of time," Cutcliffe said.

Temple's Anthony Russo completed 25 of 46 passes for 228 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Owls didn't score in the second half and gave up 42 unanswered points.

"They brought a little more pressure, but that's on me and the offensive line to get that picked up," Russo said. "I just don't think we found our groove in the second half."

JONES COMPLETES TO ... JONES

Things were going so well for Jones that he completed a 6-yard pass to himself during the fourth quarter. He tried to throw a pass over the middle, but a Temple defender batted it into the air before it fell back in Jones' hands and he sprinted forward to make something out of the play.

BIG PICTURE

Temple: The Owls looked great for most of the first half, but once Duke's offense got going, Temple's defense didn't have an answer. Now Temple will focus on the transition to new coach Manny Diaz, who replaces Geoff Collins.

Duke: It was an impressive win for Duke, which scored just 13 combined points in losses to Clemson and Wake Forest to end the regular season. The lopsided result gives the Blue Devils some momentum heading into 2019.

UP NEXT

Temple loses a senior class that's been to four straight bowl games. But the Owls will return some quality players on both sides of the ball, including Russo. Temple hosts Bucknell in the season opener next year.

Duke should return most of its defense next season, but must replace several offensive starters, including three linemen. The Blue Devils have a difficult game against Alabama in Atlanta to open next season.

TCU: 2018 Cheez-It Bowl Champions



PHOENIX -- TCU swapped kickers after California called a timeout at the end of regulation -- and missed.

Faced with a similar decision in overtime, the Horned Frogs stuck with their original kicker.

Jonathan Song delivered on his second-chance kick, ending a strange night in the desert.

Song kicked a 27-yard field in overtime after being replaced at the end of regulation, lifting TCU to a 10-7 win in an interception-filled Cheez-It Bowl on Wednesday night.

`They talked me out of it," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "I obviously got a chance to tell them they were wrong on the headset. We got another chance and did it."

TCU and Cal spent the night trading interceptions, turning the Cheez-It Bowl into the Cheez-INT Bowl by combining for nine interceptions, most in the bowl's 30-year history.

TCU's Jawuan Johnson had the final interception of the night to open overtime, nearly returning it for a pick-six.

At the end of regulation, the Horned Frogs (7-6) followed a Cal timeout by switching from Song to Cole Bunce, who hooked his 44-yard attempt wide left. TCU sent out Song again in overtime and, after another Cal timeout, opted to leave him.

The junior sent the kick straight through the uprights and the Horned Frogs rushing onto the field after a night of survival.

TCU's Sewo Olonilua ran for 194 yards and a touchdown -- one of the few offensive bright spots outside of Song's kick.

"It was a rough day for sure. Ugly win," said TCU quarterback Grayson Muehlstein, who threw four interceptions and had 27 yards on 7-of-20 passing. "Turned the ball over way too many times, but we managed to just hang in there and just keep fighting."

Jaylinn Hawkins had three interceptions, breaking the Cheez-It Bowl record while earning defensive player of the game.

The Bears (7-6) just couldn't overcome their own miscues.

Cal's Chase Garbers threw three interceptions before being replaced by Chase Forrest, who threw two more -- including the biggest one by Johnson in overtime.

"We just made too many mistakes during the game to win against a quality opponent like that," Cal second-year coach Justin Wilcox said.

Cal had the first big play after a miscommunication between Muehlstein and Jarrison Stewart led to Hawkins' first interception. Garbers scored two plays later on a 4-yard run .

Five more interceptions followed in the first half -- one on a failed TCU trick play -- and Cal led 7-0.

Garbers completed 12 of 19 passes, but had three interceptions so Cal's coaches opted to start Forrest in the second half.

"After the first half, you have some decisions like that that," Wilcox said. "Chase Garbers made and a couple of balls he obviously would like to have back. We felt like we needed a little bit of a spark."

TCU left Muehlstein in at quarterback despite three first-half interceptions. Hawkins picked up his third interception of the game on the opening drive and Muehlstein was briefly replaced by true freshman Justin Rogers before returning.

The Horned Frogs finally got something going in the third quarter, scoring their only touchdown on Olonilua's 2-yard run -- a run initially ruled short before being overturned on review.

Neither team could get much going the rest of the half and the interceptions continued until Song sent his chance kick through the uprights.

"I'm glad that's over," Patterson said.

TAKEAWAY

The Horned got in their own way all night, yet found a way to close out the season with a victory.

The Bears also couldn't get out of their own way, suffering a defeat that will sting all offseason.

HIGH-LEVEL TROLLING

Buffalo Wild Wings was the bowl's sponsor from 2012-13 before it became the Cactus Bowl. Cheez-It came on as the title sponsor this year and Buffalo Wild Wings couldn't resist a little Twitter jab as the strange night wore on.

"Cal-TCU is headed to overtime, and we've never owed you a bigger apology," the company tweeted.

SID PENALTY

TCU was called for a sideline interference penalty on Johnson's overtime interception when sports information director Mark Cohen stepped onto the field to celebrate.

Patterson was not thrilled and couldn't resist a couple of digs.

"Jiminy Christmas," he said. "Have you guys ever known that, in 150 years of a football that the SID gets a penalty?"

UP NEXT

TCU: Robinson transferred to Missouri, but the Horned Frogs hope to have Collins back and healthy next season. Top receiver Jalen Reagor also is a sophomore, so he should be back in 2019.

Cal: RB Patrick Laird and top linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk are seniors, but Garbers is a freshman and the offensive line is relatively young.

Minnesota: 2018 Quick Lane Bowl Champions



DETROIT -- Mohamed Ibrahim took full advantage of holes his teammates created to burst through the line or get to the outside.

And when defenders were in Ibrahim's way, he simply lowered his shoulder to run over them.

Ibrahim ran for career-high 224 yards and two touchdowns, leading Minnesota to a 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech on Wednesday night in the Quick Lane Bowl.

The Golden Gophers (7-6) won three of their last four games, and Ibrahim had a lot to do with that. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound redshirt freshman running back had 121 yards rushing in a win at Wisconsin that made Minnesota bowl eligible and ran for 155 yards last month in a victory over Purdue.

"He's not the biggest, strongest or fastest," coach P.J. Fleck said. "He has that too short, too small, too this, king of the toos, which is right up my alley. This kid's got more heart, passion, courage and plays the game the right way more than anybody I've ever met."

The Yellow Jackets (7-6) did not have the speed or strength to slow down Ibrahim, who was so effective Minnesota didn't have to punt once. And, their triple-option offense was stunted in coach Paul Johnson's finale .

"They did pretty much whatever they wanted," said Johnson, who is retiring as Georgia Tech's coach. We never stopped the run and then we let them throw it over our head a couple times.

"I wasn't expecting that, but that's life and you move on."

The Gophers limited Georgia Tech to 206 yards on the ground after it led the nation with 335 yards rushing per game.

Minnesota led 13-0 early in the second quarter after Tanner Morgan threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Johnson in the first quarter and Emmit Carpenter made two field goals. Ibrahim's 3-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter made it 20-3.

The Yellow Jackets responded with Nathan Cottrell's 20-yard touchdown run, but their defense allowed Ibrahim to score again on the ensuing drive. Morgan connected with Johnson on a 30-yard touchdown strike with 6:19 left, giving the Gophers a 24-point cushion.

THE TAKEAWAY

Minnesota: Ibrahim has the potential to be one of the top players on offense in the Big Ten next season. He runs with a mix of speed and power.

"He's a physical back," Johnson said. "He broke tackles and he ran through us some."

Ibrahim had the best day on the ground for a Gopher since 2005 when Laurence Maroney had 258 yards rushing against the Badgers.

"That's big," Ibrahim said. "He's a superstar and he had a great career."

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets were in trouble when they fell behind because they don't pass much, making it tough to come back. They averaged fewer than 10 passes during the regular season and it was clear both of their quarterbacks were not comfortable dropping back to throw.

"It's tough to go out this way," Marshall said. "We didn't come ready to play and it showed."

RECORD WATCH

Johnson set single-season school record with 1,169 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns. He finished the season with 78 catches, six short of another Minnesota record.

"The hard work and dedication paid off," he said.

MISSING MEN

Georgia Tech linebacker Charlie Thomas and Minnesota linebacker Kamal Martin were suspended for undisclosed violations of team rules.

"If you don't do the right things, you're not going to travel," Fleck said.

The Gophers also were without senior linebacker Blake Cashman, who announced his intention to skip the bowl game to focus on preparing for the NFL draft.

UP NEXT

Minnesota: The Gophers had a nation-high 52 percent of their roster filled by freshmen, giving them a lot of hope for next season when they open at home Aug. 29 against South Dakota State.

"We have a bright future -- for sure," Ibrahim said. "We're coming together as a team."

Georgia Tech: It will be challenging for Geoff Collins to win in his coaching debut with the Yellow Jackets. They play Aug. 22 at Clemson in the first game on the ACC Network. The former Temple coach, who is from Georgia, will be installing a new offense without a handful of starters on offense and the defense is losing eight starters.