It was the holiday season’s first full bowl featuring 13 games for the rabid college football fan. The week began with a fine performance by one of college football’s best quarterbacks as Western Kentucky beat South Florida 45-35 in the Miami Beach Bowl and ended with an upset of sorts as Nebraska, which made it to the Foster Farms Bowl despite a 5-7 record, defeated UCLA 37-29. Here’s a look at who won and who lost during the week.
Speaking of Western Kentucky, quarterback Brandon Doughty went out in style. The Hilltoppers senior completed 32-of-44 passes for 461 yards and three touchdowns to lead his team to victory in the Miami Beach Bowl. Trailing 14-10 at the half, WKU erupted for 28 points in the third quarter. All three of Doughty’s TD passes came in the deciding quarter. Fans also got a treat, if they like offense. The two teams combined for 1,209 yards of total offense.
Akron kicker Robert Stein almost left the program after his scholarship was taken away after a disappointing freshman season. Good thing he stuck with it. Stein’s three field goals proved to the difference, and won him an MVP award, as Akron beat Utah State 23-21 to win the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. With the win, the Zips finish 8-5, the first time since joining the FBS that Akron has won eight games in a season.
Only two years into the FBS, Georgia Southern won its first bowl game and in convincing style. The Eagles defeated MAC champion Bowling Green 58-27 in the GoDaddy Bowl. Georgia Southern ran all over the Falcons defense to the tune of 452 yards. QB Favian Upshaw led the way with 12 carries for 199 yards and four touchdowns. The Georgia Southern defense held the prolific Falcons offense scoreless in the second half and Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson had just 246 passing yards.
San Diego State quietly finished the season at 11-3 with a dominant 42-7 win over Cincinnati in the Hawaii Bowl. Head coach, Rocky Long’s team, did it with defense and a running game led by RB Donnell Pumphrey. Pumphrey ran 25 times for 99 yards and a touchdown and also threw a TD pass in the win. The Aztecs defense held Cincinnati to just 77 rush yards and did not give up a point until 3:21 remained in the game.
Frank Beamer leaves college football with 280 victories after his Hokies pulled off a 55-52 win over Tulsa in the Camping World Independence Bowl. It was completely atypical Virginia Tech football. The Hokies scored 45 first half points and then had to fend off a late Tulsa rally that saw them score 21 second-half points. Regardless, Beamer goes out a winner.
With its 55-7 loss to Boise State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Northern Illinois (8-6) ends its season with three straight losses. The Huskies were dominated by Boise State, which held Northern Illinois to just 33 total yards, including -5 on the ground. Also with the loss, UNI has now lost seven of its last nine bowl games.
Did the Hyundai Sun Bowl not get the memo? During the annual bowl game in El Paso, Tex., both teams, Miami and Washington State, as well as fans had to brave the snow. Yes, snow, in Texas. The game was competitive as Washington State (9-4) scored all their points in the first half and held on to win 20-14. Still, it’s not supposed to snow at the Sun Bowl.
Prior to the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, the Southern Miss (9-4) defense had fared pretty well giving up 24 points a game in the pass-happy Conference USA. Then, they ran into Washington (7-6). The Huskies ran for 296 yards led by RB Myles Gaksins whose 86-yard TD run in the fourth quarter sealed a 44-31 Washington victory. Gaskins rushed 26 times for 181 yards and four touchdowns on the day. Meanwhile, the Huskies defense held Southern Miss to just 22 yards on the ground.
Indiana led Duke 41-34 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl after a 25-yard TD pass from Nate Sudfeld to Mitchell Paige. The Blue Devils rallied behind QB Thomas Sirk, who led a 13-play, 78-yard drive that he capped with a five-yard scoring run to tie the game with just 41 seconds to play. In overtime, Sirk was injured, and the Blue Devils settled for a field goal on their opening possession. The Hoosiers offense could generate only four yards on their first possession of the extra frame. Griffin Oakes appeared to have made the 38-yard field goal, but officials called it no good giving Duke its first bowl win in 54 years. The miss on the field goal attempt is non-reviewable by replay officials.