A busy day with some high profile teams means we’re getting more and more serious. USC beat Nebraska in something of a home game in the Holiday Bowl; Penn State got their first bowl win under coach Franklin, beating Boston College in the Pinstripe bowl; South Carolina won the Independence bowl against Miami; Virginia Tech beat Cincinnati to claim the Military Bowl and in the Sun Bowl, Arizona State edged out Duke.
Holiday Bowl – Two schools that wanted more out of this season clashed in San Diego, giving the fans a high scoring affair with USC winning 45-42 against Nebraska, enjoying the local support. After a strong first quarter the Huskers fell off and woke up too late to make an effective comeback. Javorius Allen had a big day on the ground with 152 yards and two touchdowns, while Cody Kessler threw three touchdown passes, one of them for 71 yards to Adoree’ Jackson. Jackson also returned a kickoff 98 yards for a score.
Pinstripe Bowl – It wasn’t the best of seasons for Penn State, finishing at 7-6, but they win their first bowl game in the post ban era under James Franklin, beating Boston College 31-30 in overtime. Christian Hackenberg threw the game winning touchdown after the Eagles missed the extra point attempt. Hackenberg compelted 34-of-50 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns to rewrite the Nittany Lions bowl game record book, hoping he has a more competent offensive line next season.
Independence Bowl – South Carolina beat Miami 24-21 to have at least one thing to smile about in this disappointing season. The Gamecocks grabbed control of the game in the second quarter to take a 17-6 lead and felt comfortable in their win when Dylan Thompson ran for a two yard touchdown to put his team up by 10 points in the fourth quarter. This was probably Thompson’s best performance of the season, throwing for two touchdown passes and not a single interception. Duke Johnson of Miami ran for 132 yards.
Military Bowl – Virginia Tech beat Cincinnati 33-17 which didn’t include a lot of passing. J.C. Coleman ran for 157 yards and a touchdown and the Hokies sealed the deal in this game, taking a 27-10 lead when they recovered a fumble and Greg Stroman took it 12 yards for the score. Gunner Kiel, the Cincinnati starting quarterback, was harassed and hounded all game long, eventually getting injured and was unable to finish the game. His replacement, Michael Colosimo, ran on the ground better, but overall didn’t actually improve things for his team.
Sun Bowl – Arizona State reach the 10-win mark with a 36-31 victory over Duke, who suffer from a massive falling apart at the end of the season, leaving a slightly bitter taste in the players’ mouth. After Taylor Kelly put the Sun Devils in the lead (36-31) with 4:45 in the game, throwing a touchdown pass to Demario Richard, the Blue Devils had a drive take them all the way to ASU’s 14-yard line. There, Anthony Boone was intercepted by Kweishi Brown, finishing the game. Richard scored all four touchdowns (two rushing, two receiving) for his team.