A busy day of bowl games following Christmas, as Nebraska celebrate despite finishing the season with a losing record, Virginia Tech win to give Frank Beamer a proper send off, Duke win a first bowl game in over 50 years thanks to a bad call by the officials, Washington State break a bowl game drought of their own against Miami, Washington look impressive against Southern Miss and Marshall keep on piling those 10-win seasons, this time against Connecticut.
Connecticut (6-7) 10 Marshall (10-3) 16 (St. Petersburg Bowl): The Huskies lose in their first bowl game in five years to finish the season below .500, held to only 213 yards by the Thundering Herd, winning their fifth consecutive bowl game. Nick Smith, with a field goal to give Marshall a six point lead with 1:44 to go, put the game to bed. Marshall have now won 10 games in three consecutive seasons under Doc Holliday, who is 50-28 since becoming their head coach.
Miami (8-5) 14 Washington State (9-4) 20 (Sun Bowl): The Sun Bowl in El Paso turned into a snow storm and a weird encounter that was the last one for Miami before Mark Richt takes over, while the Cougars win their first bowl game since 2003, which means a first for Mike Leach to complete his best season since coming to Pullman. Luke Falk threw a couple of touchdown passes and WSU forced three turnovers which helped them keep their distance from the Hurricanes.
Washington (7-6) 44 Southern Miss (9-5) 31 (Heart of Dallas Bowl): The Huskies put up 580 total yards of offense as they win their first bowl game under Chris Petersen (second season), running away with the game finally in the fourth quarter with Myles Gaskin giving them a 17-point lead after a 13-yard run. Gaskin had a huge day with 181 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, while Southern Miss tried doing it in the air with Nick Mullens throwing for 331 yards and two touchdowns.
Duke (8-5) 44 Indiana (6-7) 41 (Pinstripe Bowl): Maybe the wildest bowl game of the season, and a first bowl game win for Duke since 1961. They scored a field goal in overtime to take the lead in a game with a lot of long runs for touchdowns. Indiana seemed to hit theirs as well, but it seemed too close to call for the officials as it went over the upright and they decided to rule it no good, probably the wrong decision. Thomas Sirk had a big day for Duke with a touchdown pass and 155 yards on the ground, including two touchdowns. Devine Redding ran for 227 yards and a touchdown for Indiana.
Tulsa (6-7) 52 Virginia Tech (7-6) 55 (Independence Bowl): Frank Beamer goes out in style, although not one he’s known for. The Hokies overcame two turnovers to put 598 yards of offense, including Michael Brewer throwing for 344 yards and a touchdown while a combined effort did the rest of the work on the ground, giving Beamer a 23rd consecutive winning season at Blacksburg and a third bowl win in four seasons.
UCLA (8-5) 29 Nebraska (6-7) 37 (Foster Farms Bowl): Despite their losing record, Nebraska don’t have to feel too bad about their season, a first under Mike Riley, filled with close losses and at least a bowl game win. Nebraska had 500 yards of offense and dominated in the second half, breaking a 21-21 tie at half time with a Tommy Armstrong touchdown throw to Stanley Morgan and then running for one himself.