Florida State downed Auburn 34-31 in the BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena on Monday (January 6). It ended the SEC's streak of national championships at 7 and also halted a 4-year streak of champions from the state of Alabama. The Seminoles outscored the Tigers 31-10 after falling behind 21-3 and scored the game-winning touchdown on Jameis Winston's 2-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left in the game. The score came one play after an interference penalty in the end zone on a 3rd-and-8 from the Auburn 10. Florida State took its first lead of the game on a 102-yard kickoff return by Levonte Whitfield with 4:31 remaining to be played, only to see Auburn recapture the lead on Tre Mason's 37-yard run with 1:19 left. Including Auburn's 22-yard field goal from Cody Parker with 4:42 remaining, the two teams combined to score 24 points inside the final 5 minutes of the contest. Florida State finished the season as the nation's only undefeated team (14-0) while Auburn dropped to 12-2. FSU's 6th straight bowl win ties Ole Miss for the top current bowl streak, and the Seminoles' 16th consecutive victory overall leads the nation over Michigan State with 10. The loss ended Auburn's 5-bowl winning streak. The game marked the end of the BCS era as an ill-conceived 4-team College Football Playoff takes over for the 2014 season.
Just when it looked like Ball State would collect its first win in bowl history, the Cardinals found a way to lose 23-20 to Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. A Red Wolves win became even more improbable when the 8-point underdogs lost quarterback Adam Kennedy to a knee injury in the second quarter. Ball State took a 20-16 lead with 1:33 left on a 1-yard run by Jahwan Edwards, only to see the Arkansas State return the ensuing kickoff to its own 41. Five plays later, the Red Wolves were back on top 23-20 on a 13-yard pass from Fredi Muten to Allen Muse with 32 ticks remaining. With the clock winding down under 10 seconds on the following Ball State drive, Keith Wenning found Willie Snead on the sideline for a 10-yard gain and a late hit advanced the ball to the Arkansas State 21 to set up a 38-yard game-tying field goal attempt. New life in overtime appeared to be inevitable for Ball State, but Scott Secor's kick was smothered as time expired. It was the second GoDaddy.com Bowl win in as many years for Arkansas State, which notched both victories with defensive coordinator John Thompson serving as interim head coach. Bryan Harsin accepted the Boise State opening and North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson now takes over as head coach of the Red Wolves. Thompson coached last year's bowl game when Gus Malzahn left for Auburn.
Vanderbilt scored the first 24 points and the last 17 to stave off Houston 41-24 in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham on Saturday (January 4). It was third bowl win in 6 years for the Commodores after winning just 1 in its entire history prior to 2008. For the first time in school history, Vanderbilt has appeared in 3 consecutive bowl games, won 2 bowl games in a row, and posted back-to-back 9-win seasons with identical 9-4 records. From 1983-2007, the football program never won more than 5 games in a season. Vanderbilt jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead, only to see Houston erase that entire deficit in the 3rd quarter. But the 4th quarter was all Vandy's as Houston's 5 drives in the period ended with 2 interceptions, 1 fumble and 2 turnovers on downs. Vanderbilt is now 4-2-1 in bowl games while the Cougars dropped to 9-12-1 and finished the season 8-5.
Clemson rode 4 Ohio State second half turnovers to a 40-35 upset win in the Orange Bowl. With only the exception of the National Championship game, every BCS game this bowl season was won by the underdog team. Also on Friday night, Shane Ray's 73-yard fumble return with 55 seconds left sealed a 41-31 win for Missouri over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.
Ohio State had rallied from a 20-9 deficit by scoring 20 unanswered points to take a 29-20 lead in the 3rd quarter, and was in complete control of the game, when Clemson recovered a muffed punt return by the Buckeyes that led to a touchdown and, just three plays later, an interception set Clemson up take a 34-29 lead. The Buckeyes recovered from the staggering blows to recapture the lead on their next series, but Clemson retaliated with a 75-yard march to pull back in front. The game appeared to be over when Clemson took over at the Ohio State after forcing a Braxton Miller fumble, but lo and behold, Clemson gifted the ball right back to the Buckeyes just 3 plays later. Not to be outdone, Braxton was intercepted again just 2 plays later and the Tigers (11-2) had completed consecutive 11-win campaigns for the first time in school history. Ohio State (12-2) suffered a second straight loss after winning the first 24 games of the Urban Meyer era. Thanks to probation in 2012 and a loss to Michigan State in the 2013 Big Ten Championship game, that 24-game winning streak failed to produce a national championship opportunity or even a bowl victory. Meyer, as a head coach, lost a bowl game for just the second time (7-2) in his career.
The Cotton Bowl also had a wild finish. Missouri and Oklahoma State, former Big 12 and Big 8 conference foes, set a Cotton Bowl record for most points scored in the fourth quarter (41) and exchanged scores on six consecutive possessions. The streak was broken when Michael Sam sacked Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf and forced the fumble that Ray scooped up for the game-winning score. Missouri held a 17-7 lead at halftime and that didn't change until late in the 3rd quarter when the Cowboys benefitted from a James Franklin fumble at his own 33. Another Franklin fumble - this time at his own 11 - led to a 25-yard field goal to knot the score at 17. The teams then traded scores on each of the next 5 possessions with the Tigers going touchdown, field goal, touchdown and the Cowboys countering with 2 TD's. With Oklahoma State trailing 34-31, and in position for a game-tying field goal at the Mizzou 23, Michael Sam stripped quarterback Clint Chelf of the ball and Ray took it the distance for the final score. Oklahoma State dropped to 15-9 in bowls with the end of a 3-bowl winning streak. Missouri improved to 14-16. Both teams completed the season 11-2.
On January 2 in New Orleans, Oklahoma shocked Alabama with a 45-31 victory in the Sugar Bowl to end 'Bama's 4-game bowl winning streak. It's the first time the Tide suffered consecutive losses since falling in the 2008 SEC Championship game to Florida and the Sugar Bowl to Utah. Redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight got the surprising start over Blake Bell and became the unexpected hero with a 32-of-42 passing performance that accounted for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Oklahoma offense scored more points against Alabama than any team had all year, including Texas A&M. In fact, the 45 points was just 5 points fewer than 9 'Bama opponents scored cumulatively from September 21 through November 23. And Oklahoma managed to score more points against 'Bama than it did against every team besides Tulsa (51) and Iowa State (48). The Sooners opened a 2-TD lead just before halftime and maintained at least a 7-point cushion the remainder of the game. Alabama's last chance at a comeback ended when A.J. McCarron was sacked from the blind side by Eric Striker and Geneo Grissom returned the forced fumble 8 yards for the game's final score with 47 seconds left in the game. It was Oklahoma's 7th sack of McCarron on the night.
The last of six New Year's Day bowl games provided one of the biggest upsets of the BCS era as Central Florida shocked Baylor 52-42 in the Fiesta Bowl. The Golden Knights scored on their first two possessions to establish a 14-0 lead and never trailed in the contest. Baylor had the chance to tie it at 14-all but a mishandled snap on PAT prevented that opportunity from being realized. And, as it turned out, it wouldn't have mattered anyway on this evening as UCF had an answer for every Baylor comeback threat. When the Bears cut it to 21-20 late in the 2nd, UCF responded on the next drive to go up 28-20 at halftime. When Baylor caught the Knights at 28-all in the 3rd, UCF went 76 yards in 10 plays to make it 35-28. And when Baylor needed just 4 plays to cover 53 yards and pull to within 42-35 early in the 4th, Central Florida covered 75 yards in 4 plays to make it 49-35. A 36-yard field goal with 4:44 left gave UCF its largest lead at 52-35 and effectively put the contest out of reach. Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 301 yards and 3 TD's and added a career best 91 yards rushing and another score. Baylor quarterback sensation Bryce Petty did all he could, throwing for 356 and 2 touchdowns and running for 3 touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. In the end, as whacky as it sounds for a 52-42 game, it was the UCF defense that made the difference as that unit made enough stops to eventually remove the back-and-forth threat. Baylor didn't help itself either with 17 penalties for 135 yards. The win pushed UCF's final record to 12-1 to eclipse its 11-win season in 2010. It was also UCF's 3rd consecutive win in a bowl game to even that record at 3-3. Baylor dropped to 11-2 on the year and 10-10 in bowl games.
Michigan State made the most out of its first Rose Bowl appearance since the 1987 season by upsetting Stanford 24-20 in the 100th ediiton of "The Granddaddy Of Them All". The Spartans won their third straight bowl game in raising their final record to 13-1, besting their previous best by 2 wins. Michigan State also achieved double-digit wins for the third time in the last four seasons as it extended its school-record for consecutive bowl appearances to 7 seasons. The Cardinal, who fell to 11-3 and failed to achieve consecutive bowl wins for the first time since 1977-'78, were looking for back-to-back Rose Bowl wins after beating Wisconsin last year. The Spartans fell behind 17-7 with 2:07 left before halftime on a 40-yard interception return off an ill-advised throw by Connor Cook, but managed to get back within 3 on Cook's 2-yard pass to Trevon Pendleton just before the break. MSU tied the game on the opening possession of the 3rd quarter with a 31-yard field goal and the teams played a stalemate until Cook hit Tony Lippett for a 25-yard score with 13:22 to play and a 24-17 advantage. Stanford scored what proved to be the final points on a 39-yard field goal with 4:19 still left in the game and had one more drive opportunity after forcing a 3-and-out, but failed to convert a 4th-and-1 from its own 34 with 1:43 to play and the Spartans ended the game in victory formation.
South Carolina secured a third straight 11-win season with a 34-24 win over Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl. It was the fourth straight bowl loss for the Badgers and the 3rd straight bowl win for the Gamecocks. South Carolina was 0-8 through its first 8 postseason games, but is 7-4 since 1994. Wisconsin led 14-13 at halftime and made it 17-13 on a 35-yard field goal after its first possession of the 3rd quarter. But South Carolina took the lead for good on a 22-yard pass from Connor Shaw to Bruce Ellington late in the 3rd quarter. Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks made it 27-17 early in the 4th, only to see the ensuing kickoff returned 91 yards by Kenzel Doe to pull Wisconsin back to within 3. South Carolina replied with a 1-yard TD by Shaw to cap a 9-play drive to post the final score. Any hopes the Badgers had of a rally were extinguished by turnovers on each of its last three possessions, including an interception in the end zone with over 3 minutes to play. In all, 7 of Wisconsin's 11 drives ended on either interceptions (3), downs (2), fumble (1) or missed field goal (1).
LSU (10-3) eked past Iowa 21-14 in the Outback Bowl for its 4th straight double-digit win season. Jeremy Hill had 216 yards and 2 TD's for the Tigers who never trailed but couldn't put away the Hawkeyes until Hill's 2-yard run with 2:02 to play. Iowa scored a touchdown 20 seconds later, but LSU recovered the onside kick to secure the win. Freshman Anthony Jennings made his first collegiate start in place of the injured Zach Mettenberger and was sacked 4 times while completing just 7-of-19 passes for 82 yards, and the game-opening 8-play drive was all Hill with 5 carries for 60 yards until Jennings scored from 2 yards out.
Double-digit underdog Nebraska snapped a 3-bowl losing streak with a 24-19 upset of Georgia in the Gator Bowl. The game was a rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl. It was only the third meeting ever between the two teams and all have been in bowl games with the other taking place in the 1969 Sun Bowl which Nebraska won 45-6. Tommy Armstrong, Jr. set a bowl record with a 99-yard pass to Quincy Enunwa in the 3rd quarter that put Nebraska up 24-12, one play after Armstrong was sacked just inches from his own goal line. Georgia, which had posted nothing more than 4 field goals through the first 3 quarters, got a 25-yard touchdown reception by Todd Gurley from Hutson Mason with 14:49 to play. Mason, in relief of the injured Aaron Murray, threw for 320 yards,1 score and 1 INT on a 21-of-39 afternoon, but dropped balls ended late scoring chances in the wet and sloppy field conditions in Jacksonville. Nebraska also played the game behind a backup QB, but had played 8 games without Taylor Martinez. Murray wasn't injured until the second quarter of the Kentucky game and had only previously missed the semifinal start against rival Georgia Tech.
Also on New Year's Day, North Texas broke open a 14-7 game in the 4th quarter to drop UNLV 36-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Derek Thompson threw a TD pass and Brelan Chancellor had 2 rushing scores in the final quarter. It was the first-ever bowl loss for the Rebels (0-4) while the Mean Green secured their first bowl win since 2002 in their first trip back to the postseason since 2004. North Texas (9-4) was a member of the Sun Belt until migrating to Conference USA this year and wound up with its best record since 2003 (9-3). The program hadn't posted a winning season since 2004 (7-5) and won a total of 8 games from 2007-2010. UNLV hadn't made a bowl appearance, or even had a winning season, since 2000.
The final of four games on New Year's Eve went from unexpected blowout to dramatic comeback as Texas A&M survived Duke's upset bid 52-48 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. The Blue Devils jumped to a 21-3 lead early in the 2nd quarter and stretched it to 38-17 on a field goal on the last play of the first half. The Aggies responded in the second half, but Duke was still in position to win the game until quarterback Anthony Boone's pass to the flat was intercepted and returned 55 yards for a touchdown by Toney Hurd, Jr. with 3:33 to play. The Blue Devils marched to the A&M 38 with well over a minute to play when Boone tried to throw a ball away under heavy pressure and had that one picked off by Nate Askew to effectively end the game. Johnny Manziel threw for 382 and 4 touchdowns and ran for 73 yards another score for the Aggies who finished 9-4 and improved their bowl record to 16-19 with their third straight bowl win. Duke finished the season at 10-4 and dropped to 3-7 all-time in bowl games.
Mississippi State served Rice in every way possible on New Year's Eve. The 44-7 rout in the Liberty Bowl was the Bulldogs' 6th bowl win in their last 7 tries and raised the school's overall bowl record 10-7 while finishing the season at 7-6. Rice had a 2-bowl winning streak snapped and ended the season 10-4. It was just the second loss for the Owls in their last 10 games of the season.
The Sun Bowl was a competitive game with UCLA leading 14-10 going into the 4th quarter, but the Bruins outscored the Hokies 28-2 in the final stanza to blow out to a 42-12 win on Christmas Eve afternoon in El Paso. Virginia Tech backup quarterback Mark Leal was thrust into action when Logan Thomas was sat after a personal foul hit in the 2nd quarter. Leal threw 2 costly picks, one which was returned for a touchdown and another returned to the Tech 10, to get UCLA rolling. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley ran for 161 yards and 2 scores and threw for 226 and 2 more touchdowns, the last on a 59-yard bomb with under 6 minutes left to play and the game firmly in hand.
The New Year's Eve slate opened with the AdvoCare V110 Bowl, formerly the Independence Bowl, and saw Arizona never get threatened by Boston College in a 42-19 romp. It was the second straight bowl win for the Wildcats while the Eagles dropped their fourth straight after winning 8 in-a-row from 2000-2007. The game featured the nation's top two rushers and Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey shined with 169 yards and 2 TD's on 27 carries while Boston College's Andre Williams was held to 75 yards on 26 carries with a longest run of just 7 yards. Arizona led 21-6 at the half and stretched it to 42-6 early in the 4th before B.C. registered the final 13 points of the game.
Texas Tech upset Arizona State 37-23 in the Holiday Bowl as David Webb threw four touchdown passes, all in the first half. The Red Raiders opened a 27-6 lead and then kept the Sun Devils at arms length the rest of the game. ASU had its chances to rally, but a 1st-and-goal at the 1 produced 0 points just before halftime, and a long bomb touchdown pass early in the 4th quarter was simply dropped. When Arizona State did get to within 7 points in the 3rd quarter, Texas Tech's Reginald Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to promptly raise the lead back to 14. Arizona State dropped to 0-4 in Holiday Bowls and 13-13-1 overall as it finished the season with a 10-4 record by losing its last two games, the PAC-12 Championship and the bowl game. It was the fourth straight bowl win for Texas Tech and the 9th in its last 11. Under first-year head coach and former star quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, the Red Raiders opened the season with 7 straight wins and closed with 5 consecutive losses before the bowl victory.
Texas fought hard to give Mack Brown a final win as a going away present, but Oregon was just too much for the Longhorns to handle and ultimately pulled away for a 30-7 Alamo Bowl win in San Antonio on December 30. Brown resigned on December 14, amid heavy pressure from the school, after a 16-year tenure that produced a 158-48 record, including a 98-33 mark in Big 12 games. His teams went bowling every year except 2010 and went 10-5 in those bowl games. He also led the team to the 2005 national championship and a return trip in 2009 that came up short against Alabama. His career coaching record is 244-122-1 and trails only Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech among active coaches. The bowl loss was only the 2nd for Texas in its last 9 tries and lowered the school's overall bowl record to 27-23-2. It was Oregon's third straight bowl win and raised the Ducks' bowl record to 12-15.
Earlier Monday, quarterback Bo Wallace led Ole Miss to a 35-17 win over Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl. The Wallace was named bowl MVP after finishing the game with 256 yards passing and 1 touchdown to go along with 86 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Georgia Tech fell behind 23-7 before managing to cut the score to 23-17 with more than 13 minutes remaining, but the Rebel offense then ate up roughly 11 of the final 13 minutes and the defense tallied a safety to close out the scoring. Mississippi's 6th straight bowl win was also Georgia Tech's 8th bowl loss in its last 9 bowl appearances after last year's Sun Bowl win over USC snapped a 7-bowl losing streak. Georgia Tech mustered just 151 yards on the ground and 298 yards total, or nearly 50 yards less than Wallace had on his own for Ole Miss.
In the first of four bowls on Monday , Navy broke open a tight game with two touchdowns in the 4th quarter and the Midshipmen defense stymied Middle Tennessee for a 24-6 win in the Armed Forces Bowl. Navy broke a 2-game bowl losing streak and improved its overall bowl record to 8-10-1 while finishing 9-4 on the season for the Academy's best record since 2010 when it also went 9-4. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran for 86 yards on 20 carries and scored 2 touchdowns. The Navy offense saw 9 different players get at least 2 rushes and total 366 yards. Navy will open next season a 5-game winning streak while the loss ended a 5-game winning streak for the Blue Raiders.
Four bowl games on December 28 were capped off by Kansas State's 31-14 win over Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to snap a 5-bowl losing skid. Jake Waters threw for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Wildcats improved their bowl record to 7-10 and ended the season with an 8-5 record. The Wolverines lost a second consecutive bowl game and dropped to 7-6. Devin Gardner had to yield the quarterback duties for Michigan to true freshman Shane Morris who completed 24-of-38 throws for 198 yards and led all Wolverine rushers with 43 yards on 4 carries. It was announced on December 26 by head coach Brady Hoke that Gardner had broken his left foot in the third quarter against Ohio State, but stayed in that game to lead three touchdown drives in the fourth. Kansas State, which hadn't won a bowl game since 2002, never trailed in the game and led by as much as 31-6 before the Wolverines scored their only touchdown with 1:15 to play in the game.
The Russell Athletic Bowl was all Louisville in a 36-9 rout of Miami. The 'Canes were making their fourth trip to that bowl game and first since the 2010 Sun after self-imposing bowl bans each of the past two years. It was Miami's fourth consecutive bowl loss as the school hasn't emerged victorious in a postseason game since squeaking past Nevada 21-20 in the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl (now the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl) in Boise. Louisville improved to 9-8-1 all-time in bowl games with its second straight bowl win and fourth in its last five tries. Miami led 2-0 after just 3:09 on a sack of Teddy Bridgewater and didn't score again until it trailed 36-2 in the 4th. As for Bridgewater, he went on to pass for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. He added 6 rushes for 24 yards and a score as Bridgewater accounted for all of the Cardinals' touchdowns and all but 83 of his teams' 554 yards.
Cincinnati's trip to Charlotte in as many years wasn't nearly as much fun for the Bearcats who were rolled 39-17 by North Carolina on Saturday in the Belk Bowl. Cincinnati was a 48-34 winner over Duke in last year's game, but could never find an offensive rhythm against a strong defensive showing by the Tar Heels. The Bearcats could only muster 134 yards and 2 field goals in the first half with 3 drives ending in punts and another on a safety. T.J. Logan had a 78-yard kickoff return following the safety and Ryan Switzer added an 86-yard touchdown return after Cincinnati's first drive of the second half also resulted in a punt.
The day began with the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx where Notre Dame pulled away late for a 29-16 win over Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights dropped to 6-7 with the loss while the Irish finished the season 9-4. The score was tied at 13 at halftime and it was still a 3-point game at 19-16 in favor of Notre Dame after a 47-yard Rutgers field goal with 8:57 left to play. But the ensuing Notre Dame possession was a 10-play, 79-yard drive that culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run and the Irish added a field goal just 1:10 later after Rutgers QB Chase Dodd was intercepted on the next play. Notre Dame ended a 2-bowl losing streak by notching just its 3rd bowl win in the last 14 tries.
A trio of December 27 bowl games ended with a 31-16 win by Washington over BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park, the home of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants. The idea of playing football in baseball stadiums seems quite silly - very little room in the back of the end zones, teams standing on the same sideline, sight line issues for fans, etc. But for some reason, this has become a recent trend. In this particular game, Washington won the battle without head coach Steve Sarkisian who guided the team to an 8-4 regular season record before filling the USC opening. Boise State's Chris Petersen was announced on December 6 as Washington's new head coach, but Sarkisian's QB coach, Marques Tuiasosopo, was appointed interim head coach for the bowl season. In the end, the school secured its best final record (9-4) since Tuiasosopo himself quarterbacked the 2000 Huskies to an 11-1 mark and a Rose Bowl championship over Drew Brees and Purdue. That was also the year that Washington had to come from behind to win in 8 different games. A comeback wasn't necessary on this night as Washington never trailed. The Huskies broke open a tight game by scoring 17 of the game's final points. BYU finished 8-5 for the second straight season and saw a 4-bowl winning streak come to an end. Washington snapped a 2-bowl losing streak. The Huskies had finished 7-6 in each of the 3 previous seasons.
The twilight game of the Friday triple-header saw Syracuse beat Minnesota 21-17 in the Texas Bowl at Reliant Stadium in Houston which also serves as home for the National Football League's Houston Texans. The Golden Gophers were the favorites to win the contest, but instead suffered their 6th straight bowl loss and remain winless in the postseason since 2004. A ho-hum game saw the Orange lead 7-3 at halftime and stretch that advantage to 14-3 late in the 3rd quarter. It got considerably more interesting in the 4th as Minnesota opened the period by scoring two touchdowns in a little over two minutes to go on top 17-14. That lead held until late in the game. After Syracuse missed a game-tying 45-yard field goal with about 3-1/2 minutes left, the Orange forced a Minnesota punt and the booming 57-yard kick was returned even farther - 70 yards to the Gopher 14 - by Brisly Estime. QB Terrel Hunt scored two plays later on a 12-yard run at 1:14 and Minnesota got no further than the Syracuse 39 where it ended the game on two failed Hail Mary attempts.
The opening game on December 27 was the Military Bowl which moved this year from RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium near the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Marshall never trailed in the tight contest and didn't put the Terps away until late in the game on Rakeem Cato's 8-yard pass to Gator Hoskins with 3:42 to play. Cato, a junior, accounted for 337 yards passing and 3 touchdowns after throwing for over 3,500 yards and 36 touchdowns in the regular season. As evidence of how meaningless it can be to compare games against mutual opponents, both teams took Virginia Tech to overtime in the regular season with Maryland winning in 1 OT and Marshall losing in 3 OT's. Marshall saw its bowl record improve to 8-2 with its 3rd straight bowl win while Maryland dropped to 11-12-2 in bowls.
In the latter of two games on December 26, Joey DeMartino ran for 143 yards and a touchdown and Utah State beat Northern Illinois 21-14 in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch, the 3rd-place finisher in Heisman Trophy balloting, scored twice even though he was intercepted once and fumbled once while being limited to 216 yards passing and 39 yards rushing. Utah State opened a 21-7 lead with 4:14 left in the game, but the Huskies closed to within 21-14 on a TD pass from Lynch with 1:44 left. The Aggies recovered the ensuing onside kick to secure the win. It was the 7th win for Mountain West Conference teams in the 9-year history of the bowl game.
Earlier that evening, underdog Pittsburgh secured its first winning season since 2010 with a 30-27 upset of Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit. The Panthers finished 7-6 while the MAC champions dropped to 10-4. Chris Blewitt booted a 39-yard field goal with 1:17 left in the game and Bowling Green went nowhere on its final possession. Pitt had closed each of the last two seasons with bowl losses to wind up with 6-7 records.
The lone game on Christmas Even saw Oregon State beat Boise State 38-23 in the Hawaii Bowl for its first bowl win since 2008 while ending the Broncos' 4-bowl win streak. The Beavers halted a 5-game losing skid and avoided a losing season as the victory gave them a 7-6 final record. Boise State fell to 8-5 with its third loss in its last 6 games. The five losses in a single season are the most for the Broncos since 1998 (6-5). Rashaad Reynolds had touchdown fumble returns of 3 yards and 70 yards less than 11 minutes apart bridging the 2nd and 3rd quarters, the latter of which gave his Beavers a 24-6 advantage. The score would balloon to 38-6 before Boise State scored the final 17 points of the contest. Linebackers coach Bob Gregory served as interim head coach for the Broncos after Chris Petersen stepped down on as head coach on December 6 to accept the same position at Washington. Bryan Harsin was hired as Boise's new head coach on December 11.
East Carolina scored 20 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to score a 37-20 win over Ohio in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl at St. Petersburg, Florida on December 23. The first bowl win for the Pirates since 2007 ended the school's 4-bowl losing streak while the loss snapped Ohio's 2-bowl winning streak. East Carolina finished 10-3 for just its second 10-win season in history and first since 1991. Ohio finished 7-6.
The 2013 bowl season kicked off in grand style as Colorado State tallied 18 points in the final 2:52 to stun Washington State 48-45 in the New Mexico Bowl on December 21. After the Bulldogs cut the deficit to 45-37, the Cougars fumbled on their own 31-yard line and Shaquil Barrett, a CollegeFootballPoll.com All-American at linebacker, recovered. Kapri Bibbs scored from 1-yard out with 33 seconds remaining and Donnell Alexander added the 2-point conversion on a Statue of Liberty play as he dove head-long at the pylon and managed to strike it with the ball before landing out of bounds. The Cougars then fumbled the ensuing kickoff return at their own 24 to set up Jared Roberts' 41-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Washington State fell to 6-5 all-time in bowl games in its first postseason appearance since 2003. The Cougars dropped to 6-7 for the season, failing to secure their first winning campaign since 2003 and first non-losing season since 2006. Colorado State improved its bowl record to 6-7 in its first bowl game since 2008, and its 8-6 record this season represents the most victories since 2002 (10-4). It was the first-ever meeting between the teams. Last year, the New Mexico Bowl opened the bowl season in similar fashion as Arizona scored two touchdowns in the final 42 seconds for a 49-48 victory over Nevada.
There were no such last-minute fireworks at the Las Vegas Bowl as USC pounded Fresno State 45-20. With the victory, the Trojans improbably notched their 10th win of the season under their third head coach of the year. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton was given the interim job for the bowl game when Ed Orgeron was pushed aside after going 6-2 as interim head coach in the regular season. Head coach Lane Kiffin was fired after the Trojans began the year 3-2. Fresno State quarterback, and CollegeFootballPoll.com All-American, Derek Carr became just the 4th NCAA QB in history to pass for 5,000 yards and 50 TD passes in a single season. USC's Nelson Agholor, another CollegeFootballPoll.com All-American, had 2 TD catches. The Trojans improved to 33-17 in bowl games while Fresno State fell to 10-12 with its 5th straight bowl loss.
San Diego State had no trouble with Buffalo as it cruised to a 49-24 win in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Aided by turnovers, the Aztecs broke open a close 14-10 ball-game with two touchdown in the final 1:08 of the first half. The Bulls also fumbled on the first play of the second half to lead to another SDSU score. The deficit would stretch to 42-10 before Buffalo managed to break the drought early in the 4th quarter. Buffalo (8-5) was looking for its bowl win in just its second-ever bowl appearance. The Aztecs finished the year at 8-5 with their first bowl win since 2010 and improved to 3-6 all-time in bowl games. It was only the 2nd bowl win for San Diego State since 1969.
The day ended with a pair of Louisiana schools going at it in the New Orleans Superdome with Tulane playing in its hometown and stadium against Louisiana-Lafayette, a school from just 135 west of the Crescent City. The Ragin' Cajuns were making their third straight appearance in the New Orleans Bowl, the only bowl the school has ever played in, and looking for their straight bowl win. Tulane was making its first bowl appearance since the 2002 Hawaii Bowl. UL-Lafayette opened a 21-0 lead in the first 17:29, only to see the Green Wave rally and tie the score at 21-all with 2:34 to go in the 3rd quarter. The Cajuns went back on top 24-21 on a 27-yard field goal with 9:56 left in the game, then breathed a huge sigh of relief when Tulane's game-tying attempt from 48 yards away stayed just left of the uprights with 13 seconds remaining in the game. Tulane dropped to 4-7 in bowl games with the loss and finished its season at 7-6. Louisiana-Lafayette finished 9-4. The game drew a New Orleans Bowl record crowd of just under 55,000 actual attendees.
First Time In A Long Time
Waiting To Return
Bowl Appearance Streak
Bowl Winning Streak
Note: Auburn had a 5-bowl winning streak end with a 34-31 loss to Florida State in this season's BCS title game.
Bowl Losing Streak
Note: Kansas State ended a 5-bowl losing streak with a 31-13 win over Michigan in this season's Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Bowl Winless (at least 1 appearance)
Best Bowl Winning Percentage
Most Bowl Wins
UNDEFEATED AND WINLESS TEAMS:
FBS vs. FCS:
Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
Eastern Washington, McNeese State and North Dakota State also had wins vs. FBS teams last year.
Originally, 106 FBS schools scheduled a total of 110 games against FCS foes this year. But Colorado later replaced a game it lost vs. Fresno State (due to flooding) with Charleston Southern. Thus, 106 FBS schools played a total of 111 games vs. FCS foes. The schedule change also made Colorado the 4th FBS team to face at least two such schools this year. The others are Clemson and Georgia Tech with 2 apiece while FBS newcomer Georgia State scheduled 3 FCS teams and lost to each of them.
Michigan State - 10 game-winning streak. Beat Stanford 24-20 in the Rose Bowl.
UCF - 9-game winning streak. Beat Baylor 52-42 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Auburn - 9-game winning streak snapped with 34-31 loss to Florida State in the BCS National Championship Game.
Northern Illinois - 26-game home winning streak (FBS longest) in true home games (at own venue); 15-game road winning streak (FBS longest) in true road games (at opponent venue). A 21-14 loss to Utah State in the Poinsettia Bowl did nothing to effect either of those streaks.
LSU - Won 45 straight regular season nonconference games (FBS longest). Beat Iowa 21-14 in the Outback Bowl.
Georgia State - Lost 16 straight (tied for FBS longest). Season complete.
Miami (Ohio) - Lost 16 straight (tied for FBS longest). Season complete.
Kansas - Lost 24 straight road games (FBS longest). Season complete.
Kentucky - Lost 16 straight conference games (FBS longest). Season complete.