New Year’s Day featured six bowl games for the college football bowl connoisseur and none of them would disappoint as all five BCS bowls were decided by 10 points or less. Michigan State won its first Rose Bowl in 26 years and Central Florida shocked the nation with its performance against Baylor. Here’s a recap of yesterday’s bowl bonanza.
Heart of Dallas Bowl
North Texas 36, UNLV 14
North Texas QB Derek Thompson went 21-for-30 for 256 yards and two touchdowns and Brelan Chancellor had 121 total yards and two scores to lead the Mean Green to their first bowl win since 2002. The game was tied 7-7 at the half, but North Texas (9-4) broke the game open in the fourth quarter. The Mean Green defense held UNLV to 262 total yards. Devante Davis had 10 receptions for 96 yards for the Rebels.
Nebraska 24, Georgia 19
Quincy Enunwa had four catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, including a 99-yarder in the third quarter that helped give the Cornhuskers the advantage. Georgia just could not score advancing into the red zone seven different times and scoring only one touchdown. The Nebraska defense limited the Georgia running game to just 96 yards. Quarterback Hutson Mason, replacing the injured Aaron Murray, was 21-for-39 for 320 yards and a touchdown. RB Amir Adbdullah ran for 122 yards on 27 carries for Nebraska. Georgia had a chance late but TE Arthur Lynch dropped a pass on 4th-and-3 deep in Nebraska territory with 25 seconds to play.
LSU 21, Iowa 14
Jeremy Hill ran for 216 yards on 28 carries to lead LSU to a 21-14 win over Iowa. Freshman QB Anthony Jennings made his first start and was just 7-for-19, but was able to turn and hand off to Hill, who picked up the slack. The LSU defense held Iowa to 233 totals yards. The victory gave LSU (10-3) a fourth consecutive season of at least 10 wins.
Capital One Bowl
South Carolina 34, Wisconsin 24
Senior quarterback Connor Shaw went out in style accounting for all five South Carolina TDs as the Gamecocks defeated Wisconsin, 34-24. Shaw completed 22-of-25 passes for 312 yards and 3 TDs. He also ran 16 times for 47 yards and a touchdown. In the second quarter, he was on the receiving end of a nine-yard pass from Bruce Ellington. Ellington added six receptions for 140 yards and two TDs. Wisconsin led at the half, 14-13, but QB Joel Stave was injured in the third quarter. His backup, Curt Phillips, was intercepted twice.
Michigan State 24, Stanford 20
After the first quarter when they fell behind 10-0, the Spartans held Stanford to just 159 yards and Connor Cook connected with Tony Lippett on a 25-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter to seal the first Rose Bowl victory in 26 years for Michigan State. Cook went 22-for-36 for 332 yards, a career high. Stanford held MSU to only 65 yards rushing. Stanford’s Tyler Gaffney carried 24 times for 91 yards.
Central Florida 52, Baylor 42
In the shocker of the day, Central Florida QB Blake Bortles put on a show in leading the Knights past Baylor. The Bears were 17-point favorites, but UCF jumped out to an early 14-0 lead. Bortles threw for 301 yards and three TDs and ran eight times for 93 yards and a TD. Baylor tied the game at 28-28 early in the third quarter on a one-yard run by QB Bryce Petty, but UCF pulled away in the fourth.