NCAA football bowl roundup
No. 9 Penn State 35, No. 12 Washington 28
Trace McSorley threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns, Saquon Barkley ran for two more scores and Penn State outlasted Washington in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday at Glendale, Ariz.
Penn State (11-2), No. 9 in the final College Football Rankings, had its way with Washington's vaunted defense early, building a 28-7 lead by the second quarter. Washington (10-3) woke up from an offensive slumber with two touchdowns and pulled to 35-28 on Myles Gaskins' 69-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The Huskies, No. 11 CFP, allowed Penn State to work the clock to under a minute on the next drive and gave up a season-high 545 total yards.
Washington had a shot with a desperation play of multiple laterals and passes, but Dante Pettis passed up a chance to step out of bounds to set up a another play, and threw a final lateral that was intercepted.
Washington had the nation's top run defense during the regular season, allowing 92 yards per game, but Barkley matched that on one run in the second quarter. Barkley had 137 of the Nittany Lions' 203 yards rushing.
Penn State also was 13 for 17 on third downs, including touchdown passes by McSorley and three conversions on its final clock-draining drive.
The Nittany Lions lost a chance at the CFP with consecutive losses to Ohio State and No. 24 Michigan State, but ended up in a familiar place: The Fiesta Bowl, where they had not lost in six previous trips.
Penn State raced toward No. 7 by going to the air early against the run-stingy Huskies.
McSorley picked Washington's secondary apart, hitting nine receivers for 219 yards in the first half. He connected with DaeSean Hamilton on a 48-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive, and set up scoring runs of 2 yards by Barkley and 1 yard by Miles Sanders.
Barkley then did it all himself, bursting through the left side for a 92-yard touchdown run to put Penn State up 28-7.
The Nittany Lions had 367 yards by halftime against a defense that allowed 277.4 yards per game during the regular season.
Washington was in the Fiesta Bowl for the first time, but it was not the first go-round for Huskies coach Chris Petersen; he made a name for himself by trick-playing Boise State to a pair of Fiesta victories
Petersen reached into his trick-play bag to spark Washington from an early funk, calling a double pass that led to 52-yard gain to tight end Drew Sample. That set up Jake Browning's 1-yard TD dive.
The Huskies turned a recovered fumble into a much-needed touchdown just before halftime, cutting Penn State's lead to 28-14 on Gaskin's 13-yard run.
Another big score came right after halftime: Browning 28 yards to Aaron Fuller.
Washington's defense continued to have trouble slowing the Nittany Lions and McSorley threw another TD pass to Hamilton, a 24-yarder to put Penn State up 35-21.
Iowa State 21, No. 19 Memphis 20
Allen Lazard tied a Liberty Bowl record with 10 catches and put Iowa State ahead with a remarkable 5-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, and the Cyclones beat Memphis on the Tigers' home field.
Iowa State (8-5) held on to win after losing its first fumble this season just as it appeared on the verge of scoring an insurance touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The Cyclones led 21-20 and had third-and-goal from the 1 when David Montgomery fumbled as he was crossing the goal line. Jonathan Cook recovered in the end zone for a touchback with 4:06 left.
The call stood after replays were inconclusive as to whether Montgomery had reached the end zone before Memphis' O'Bryan Goodson knocked the ball loose. Iowa State was attempting to become the first Football Bowl Subdivision team in recorded history to play an entire season without losing a fumble.
Memphis (10-3) drove to the Iowa State 40 on its next possession but lost the ball on downs when Riley Ferguson overthrew Phil Mayhue on fourth-and-10 with 1:52 remaining. Iowa State ran out the clock from there.
Iowa State pulled ahead for good on a bizarre play with 4:28 left in the third quarter. On second-and-goal from the 5, Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt's pass appeared to elude Memphis safety Josh Perry's outstretched arms and get tipped by Iowa State's Marchie Murdock before Lazard caught it in the back of the end zone.
The touchdown put Iowa State ahead 21-17 and came two plays after a roughing-the-passer penalty on Genard Avery wiped out an interception by Memphis' Curtis Akins and gave the Cyclones first-and-goal.
Lazard ended up with 142 yards receiving in his final college game and was named the Liberty Bowl's most valuable player. His 10th touchdown catch of the year set Iowa State's single-season record.
His 10 catches matched the highest total in the Liberty Bowl's 59-game history. Other receivers with 10 catches in a Liberty Bowl were Louisville's Deion Branch in 2000 and Arkansas' Bobby Joe Edmonds in 1984.
Memphis had the benefit of playing a bowl game on its home field — where it hadn't lost all season — although enough Iowa State fans traveled to the game to make the sellout crowd of 57,266 a pretty even split.
The Tigers entered averaging 47.7 points per game to rank second among FBS teams but posted their second-lowest point total of the season. Iowa State's defense was missing two key players, with defensive back Evrett Edwards ruled ineligible and safety Kamari Cotton-Moya suspended for a violation of team rules.
Ferguson was 21 of 33 for 286 yards with two touchdown passes but was sacked six times. The Tigers were playing without injured 1,154-yard rusher Darrell Henderson, who had averaged 8.9 yards per carry this season.
No. 24 Mississippi St. 31, Louisville 27
Freshman Keytaon Thompson, making his first start in place of injured quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, ran for 147 yards and three touchdowns to help Mississippi State beat Louisville and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in the TaxSlayer Bowl at Jacksonville, Fla.
Thompson and Jackson provided many of the highlights — and some lowlights.
Thompson scored twice in the fourth quarter, including a 1-yard plunge with 3:39 remaining that put the Bulldogs (9-4) ahead for good.
Jackson had the Cardinals (8-5) on the move late, but safety Mark McLaurin intercepted his third pass of the game. After a failed fourth-down conversation, Jackson got a final chance in the waning seconds, but his final desperation pass was batted away in the end zone.
Jackson completed 13 of 31 passes for 171 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He threw just six picks in the regular season.
He ran 24 times for 158 yards and a touchdown, breaking the TaxSlayer Bowl record for most rushing yards by a quarterback. West Virginia's Pat White set the previous mark with 145 yards in 2007.
Jackson also was sacked six times.
He had the longest run of his career, a 75-yarder late in the second quarter, and a 13-yard TD scamper earlier in the game in which he split two defenders and made another look silly.
But his poor throws overshadowed his ankle-breaking runs.
And he probably ended his college career with a loss. Jackson has yet to declare for the NFL draft, but most outsiders believe the dynamic junior will turn pro.
If so, he went out setting more records. Jackson became the third player in Football Bowl Subdivision history with at least 50 touchdown passes and 50 touchdown runs, joining Florida's Tim Tebow and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.
He also broke his record for rushing yards and yards from scrimmage in a season.
Thompson completed 11 of 20 passes for 127 yards. He ran 27 times, a clear part of interim coach Greg Knox's game plan for the inexperienced starter.
It was the fourth time this season in the Football Bowl Subdivision that both starting quarterbacks topped 100 yards rushing.
No. 5 Ohio State 24, No. 8 USC 7
Playoff-snubbed Ohio State got a bit defensive even without one of its best defenders in the Cotton Bowl.
Damon Webb returned an interception for a touchdown after recovering a fumble to set up an early score and the Buckeyes beat Southern California in a matchup that traditionally has been in the Rose Bowl instead of deep in the heart of Texas at Arlington.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 champions would usually play New Year's Day in Pasadena, but the Rose Bowl is a College Football Playoff semifinal game this season.
Ohio State (12-2) instead quickly settled in at the NFL stadium where three years ago it won the first national championship in the four-team CFP format. The Buckeyes — with that bad loss at Iowa after an early setback to playoff team Oklahoma — were the first team left out this season.
USC (11-3), the Rose Bowl champion last season, lost for only the third time in its last 23 games. The Trojans had four turnovers that led to 21 Ohio State points in what could have been third-year sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold's final game.
Buckeyes All-America junior cornerback Denzel Ward has already decided to go into the NFL draft and didn't play after practicing with the team this week.
With Ward on the sideline in his No. 12 jersey over street clothes, fellow defensive back Webb had a fumble recovery on the third play of the game. That led to J.T. Barrett's 1-yarder keeper for a score that put the Buckeyes ahead to stay.
Webb's 23-yard interception return for a TD put Ohio State up 17-0 less than a minute into the second quarter. It was the first pick-six this season for the Buckeyes, and the team-leading fifth interception for Webb. Ohio State was up 24-0 when Barrett rab 28 yards for another touchdown after the first of Darnold's two fumbles when stripped while being sacked. Darnold was sacked eight times overall.
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