South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington salutes after catching the winning touchdown in Tuesday’s Outback Bowl against Michigan.
No. 21 Northwestern ends drought in Gator Bowl; Oklahoma State routs Purdue, 58-14
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Behind huge interceptions early and late, Northwestern beat Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl and snapped college football’s longest postseason losing streak.
The Wildcats (10-3) earned their first bowl win since 1949, ending a nine-game losing skid that was tied for the longest in NCAA history. They also celebrated double-digit victories for the first time since the 1995 Rose Bowl season.
Quentin Williams returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game and Nick Vanhoose set up a late touchdown with a 39-yard interception return. Those plays were the difference in a back-and-forth game that featured more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six).
Northwestern’s two-quarterback system kept the Bulldogs (8-5) off balance most of the day.
Scrambler Kain Colter ran for 71 yards, making up for his two interceptions. Backup Trevor Siemian threw for 120 yards and an interception, and also ran for a score.
OKLAHOMA STATE 58, PURDUE 14: Clint Chelf threw three of Oklahoma State’s five touchdown passes and the Cowboys shook off a disappointing Big 12 finish by dominating Purdue 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
The Cowboys, a year removed from a Fiesta Bowl win that capped the best season in school history, forced five turnovers and had another short TD drive after a 64-yard punt return from Josh Stewart.
It was the biggest bowl win for Oklahoma State since coach Mike Gundy was the quarterback in a 62-14 rout of Wyoming in the 1988 Holiday Bowl. The Cowboys (8-5) missed out on upper-tier bowls after narrow losses in their last two Big 12 games.
With former Purdue quarterbacks Drew Brees and Kyle Orton watching, Robert Marve didn’t get to 100 yards passing until Oklahoma State led 45-0 as Purdue (6-7) fell to 0-4 on New Year’s Day.
TAMPA, Fla. — Steve Spurrier’s plan to use two quarterbacks in the Outback Bowl worked so well that Dylan Thompson and Connor Shaw both earned game balls.
That’s a first for the Head Ball Coach, who has a well-known penchant for benching struggling QBs. Except in this case, the Gamecocks’ winningest coach used his talented pair of passers by design.
Shaw began Tuesday’s 33-28 victory over Michigan with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Damiere Byrd. Thompson closed it out by throwing a 32-yard TD strike to Bruce Ellington in the final minute to help South Carolina match the school record for victories in a season.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever given two quarterbacks a game ball, but today I said: ‘Hey, we’ve got to give them to both you guys,’” Spurrier said.
“Both those young men are just so super team-oriented. There’s no jealousy, nothing. … Those guys are just really, really good teammates. Wonderful team players,” the coach added. “We tried to tell Connor: ‘It’s your game.’ And it was his game, but Dylan was going to play. He understood that. It worked beautifully as it turned out.”
Thompson replaced Shaw during the winning drive, covering the final 43 yards after Shaw began the march from his own 30 and kept it alive with a 6-yard completion to Ace Sanders on a fourth-and-3 play. Devin Gardner’s third TD pass of the game had given Michigan a 28-27 lead.
“I wasn’t nervous. I knew I had great guys around me, and I trusted them and just was confident,” Thompson said.
Shaw threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns after missing the Gamecocks’ regular-season finale with a left foot sprain. Thompson led the Gamecocks (11-2) to a victory at archrival Clemson, and threw for 117 yards and two TDs in the bowl.
Gardner threw for 214 yards in his fifth start for Michigan (8-5) since Denard Robinson injured his right elbow late in the season. Robinson took some snaps at quarterback and even attempted his first passes in a game since Oct. 27, but lined up mostly at running back and rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries.
Sanders caught TD passes of 4 yards from Thompson and 31 yards from Shaw, who completed 18 of 26 passes before aggravating his foot injury and limping off during the final drive. The speedy receiver had nine catches for 92 yards and also scored on a 63-yard punt return — one of four plays over 50 yards yielded by Michigan.
Gardner was 18 of 36, including TD passes of 5 yards to Drew Dileo and 10 and 17 yards to Jeremy Gallon, who gave Michigan its late lead and finished with career bests of nine receptions and 145 yards. Robinson set the NCAA record for career yards rushing by a quarterback, hiking his four-year total to 4,495 — 15 more than West Virginia’s Pat White ran for from 2005-08.
Stanford holds off Wisconsin 20-14 in Rose Bowl
PASADENA, Calif. — Stepfan Taylor rushed for 89 yards and an early touchdown, Kevin Hogan passed for 123 yards, and No. 8 Stanford’s dominant defense shut out Wisconsin in the second half of a 20-14 victory in the 99th Rose Bowl on Tuesday night.
Usua Amanam made the decisive interception near midfield with 2:30 to play as the Pac-12 champion Cardinal (12-2) won their first Rose Bowl since 1972.
Stanford didn’t score many style points, but the Big Ten champion Badgers (8-6) couldn’t score many points at all while losing the Granddaddy of Them All in heartbreaking fashion for the third consecutive season.
Wisconsin still stayed in position for an upset in the one-game return of Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez, who returned to the Wisconsin sideline for one game after hanging up his whistle.
Montee Ball rushed for 100 yards and his FBS-record 83rd touchdown for the Badgers, who managed 82 yards after halftime.