Jim Rassol | Sun Sentinel
Florida State running back Lonnie Pryor breaks free for a 60-yard touchdown run against Northern Illinois in the first quarter of the Discover Orange Bowl on Tuesday in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Gerry Melendez | The State
South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson celebrates after throwing a game-winning 32-yard touchdown with 11 seconds to play in the fourth quarter against Michigan in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday. South Carolina rallied for a 33-28 win.
MIAMI — It wasn’t a lost cause, but a loss on the field for Northern Illinois, which crashed the Orange Bowl party as unwanted guests from the Mid-American Conference and fell Tuesday night to favored Florida State, 31-10.
Jordan Lynch, the proclaimed “tough kid from the South Side of Chicago,” hoped to will himself and his NIU teammates to an upset victory before the crowd of 72,073 at Sun Life Stadium.
But Lynch struggled to get anything going consistently and wound up completing just 15 of 41 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown. He was intercepted once. He also carried the ball for an Orange Bowl quarterback-record 23 times but gained just 44 yards.
“Yeah, it got frustrating at times,” Lynch said. “We tried to keep our composure and we had a lot of good stuff. We didn’t execute at times. Myself, I missed a lot of throws out there that would have helped our O-line out. There’s a reason they’re a top-five defense in the nation. All the respect goes to them.”
Rod Carey was notably upset after the loss as his first game as head coach snapped NIU’s 12-game winning streak.
“It’s too raw right now for me to summarize this game,” Carey said. “I’m proud of our kids … 12-1 on the (regular) season. We’re disappointed here, but we set a school record in wins. It’s a good season.”
Florida State fullback Lonnie Pryor was named Orange Bowl MVP after rushing for 134 yards on five carries. He scored touchdowns on runs of 60 and 37 yards.
Florida State led 14-3 at the half, but NIU pulled to within 17-10 going into the fourth quarter. After recovering an onside kick, NIU had the ball driving into Florida State territory in the third quarter when Terrence Brooks intercepted a Lynch pass and returned it 20 yards.
“I was trying to throw it low and away. I missed it inside,” Lynch said. “(Brooks) made a nice play. I should have realized that it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to force a ball there. Just take the three points (to make it 17-13), and we still would have been in the game. But I forced a turnover and they ended up capitalizing on that position.”
The scoring began after Lynch punted 52 yards on fourth down from a shotgun formation to the Florida State 5-yard line.
One play later, James Wilder Jr. ran the ball to the 20 and then quarterback EJ Manuel hit Greg Dent for a 20-yard completion.
Pryor took the next handoff and darted 60 yards for a touchdown with 5 minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter to give the Seminoles a 7-0 lead. The Florida State fullback never had had a run longer than 49 yards entering the Orange Bowl.
Recap: Oklahoma State vs. Purdue
Dallas, Texas — Clint Chelf completed 17-of-22 passed for 197 yards and three touchdowns to lead Oklahoma State to a 58-14 win over Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Charlie Moore, Blake Jackson and Blake Webb each caught touchdown passes for the Cowboys (8-5), who won their third bowl game in as many seasons.
J.W. Walsh also threw for a pair of scores while Isaiah Anderson and Jeremy Seaton also added receiving touchdowns in the triumph.
“Obviously, a very good game for our team. Our players competed, had really good preparation over the last three weeks,” said Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. “We did a great job taking care of the football and forced turnovers, took advantage of those turnovers. We had a number of players that played very well.”
Robert Marve for threw for 212 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions and Brandon Cottom and Tommie Thomas each added a receiving score for the Boilermakers (6-7), who had a three-game winning streak and two-game bowl- winning streak.
“We just ran into a very good football team today,” said Purdue head coach Patrick Higgins. “As you know, when you play a quality opponent like Oklahoma State, when you turn the ball over five times, you don’t take advantage of your opportunities, the game can turn out like this.”
Chelf’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Moore put the Cowboys up 7-0.
Marve’s pass on the ensuing touch was intercepted by Shamiel Gary and returned to the Purdue 26. Three plays later, Chelf found Johnson in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown pass.
Walsh’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Seaton gave OSU a 21-0 with 14:22 left until half. Chelf guided Oklahoma State down to the Purdue 16-yard line, before the Cowboys brought in Walsh, who threw his 12th touchdown pass of the season.
Smith’s 5-yard touchdown run capped a seven-play, 72-yard drive to push the OSU spread to 28-0.
Daytawion Lowe recovered O.J. Ross’ fumble and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-0 early in the third quarter.
The Cowboys forced a Purdue punt and drove down to the Boilermakers’ 3-yard line, but couldn’t crack the goal line on 3rd-and-goal and settled for Quinn Sharp’s 20-yard field goal.
Chelf’s 37-yard pass to Anderson pushed the Cowboys’ spread to 45-0.
Purdue finally got on the board when Marve connected with Cottom for a 32-yard touchdown. Marve faked the handoff and rolled to his right before throwing across field to a wide-open Cottom.
Oklahoma State, though, came right back with a 21-yard field goal to give the Cowboys a 48-7 advantage with 11:21 to play.
The Cowboys cashed in on another Purdue turnover when Walsh found Webb for a 37-yard touchdown, the freshman receiver’s first career touchdown reception.
Sharp’s 42-yarder put OSU up 58-7 and Marve’s 16-yard pass to Thomas accounted for the final margin.
Recap: Nebraska vs. Georgia
Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Georgia was left completely out of the BCS after coming up five yards shy to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and of playing in the BCS title game.
Aaron Murray made sure there’d be no letdown in the Capital One Bowl.
Murray threw five touchdown passes in the sixth-ranked Bulldogs’ 45-31 triumph over No. 23 Nebraska.
The junior signal-caller tallied 427 yards through the air on 18-of-33 efficiency against the nation’s top-ranked passing defense for Georgia (12-2), which reached 12 wins for the third time in program history.
Chris Conley had 136 yards receiving with a pair of touchdowns, Tavarres King caught three balls for 104 yards and a score and Todd Gurley added 125 yards and a score on the ground in the triumph.
“I’m very proud of our guys, especially on offense,” said Murray. “We definitely didn’t make all of the plays that were out there, but when you put up 45 points against a team like Nebraska with a great defense, you have got to feel happy about that.”
Rex Burkhead had 140 yards rushing and a score on 24 carries for the Cornhuskers (10-4), who suffered a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. Burkhead also had a receiving touchdown.
Taylor Martinez registered 202 yards passing on 16-of-27 effectiveness with two touchdowns and interceptions, while also recording 46 yards rushing in defeat.
Nebraska closed the campaign with back-to-back losses on the heels of a six- game winning streak.
“At the end of the day we had our opportunities and there were some situations where you have to make plays. They made them and we didn’t, and it cost us the football game,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said.
Georgia trailed 31-23 midway through the third following Burkhead’s 2-yard TD run, but the Bulldogs scored the final 22 points of the contest.
Murray tossed three of his scores during that stretch.
It took just five plays for Georgia to tie the contest as Murray hit Conley with a 49-yard TD pass and completed the ensuing two-point conversion to Rhett McGowan.
Alec Ogletree recovered Ameer Abdullah’s fumble on Nebraska’s next series, but Georgia didn’t take advantage of the miscue and went three-and-out. But it scored on its ensuing touch.
Murray fired a 31-yard completion to Justin Scott-Wesley and hit Keith Marshall for a 24-yard score four plays later on the first play of the fourth for a 38-31 Georgia advantage.
The Huskers went three-and-out on their ensuing trek and the Bulldogs went up by two scores just three snaps later as Conley took a slip screen 87 yards for a touchdown and a 45-31 spread early in the fourth.
Martinez threw an interception on Nebraska’s following touch and Georgia then took the next 4:39 off the clock to essentially seal the win.
Earlier, Shawn Williams blocked a Brett Maher punt on Nebraska’s opening possession of the game, but Scott-Wesley was unable to fall on top of the ball in the end zone and the resulting scrum caused the football to go out-of- bounds for a safety.
Murray slung a 29-yard TD pass to Arthur Lynch following the safety, but Martinez found Jamal Turner for a 14-yard score on Nebraska’s ensuing possession to make it 9-7.
Will Compton returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown on the second play of Georgia’s next touch, but Murray lofted a 75-yard score to King on the Bulldogs’ next snap for a 16-14 Georgia margin late in the first.
Damian Swann brought back a Martinez interception 19 yards to the Nebraska 38 early in the second and Gurley rumbled 24 yards untouched for a touchdown, which gave Georgia a 23-14 cushion.
Nebraska, though, put up the next 17 points of the game.
Maher nailed a 39-yard field goal midway through the second and Martinez flipped a 16-yard score to Burkhead a bit later to give Nebraska a 24-23 edge heading into the break.
Recap: Northwestern vs. Miss State
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Pat Fitzgerald never won a bowl game at Northwestern as a player, but now he’s helped end the Wildcats’ long postseason drought as a coach.
An elongated 64-year stretch to be exact.
Venrick Mark, Trevor Siemian and Tyris Jones all ran for touchdowns in No. 21 Northwestern’s 34-20 win over Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl.
The Wildcats’ lone bowl win prior to Tuesday was a victory over California in the 1949 Rose Bowl.
Kain Colter and Siemian split time at quarterback. Siemian threw for 120 yards on 12-of-20 efficiency with an interception, while Colter tossed two picks and completed 9-of-16 passes for 76 yards. Colter added 71 yards on the ground for Northwestern (10-3), which made its fifth consecutive bowl appearances and had dropped nine straight postseason tilts coming in.
“That was our plan all along,” Fitzgerald said about playing both quarterbacks. “We really felt like both guys were playing at a high level at the end of the season. We wanted to be able to be multiple in what we were trying to do and what we were trying to accomplish.”
Dan Vitale caught seven passes for 82 yards in the win.
Tyler Russell struggled mightily and completed just 12 passes on 28 attempts for 106 yards with four interceptions for the Bulldogs (8-5), who lost five of their last six contests to close the year after a 7-0 start.
The Bulldogs hadn’t lost a bowl game since the 1999 Cotton Bowl.
“At times I thought we did some very good things during the day today, but there were times when we made some very big mistakes. When that stuff happens and you get out of sync, you see what happens,” Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said.
Mississippi State overcame three Russell interceptions over the first 14-plus minutes and a 13-0 deficit before tying the contest with a 47-yard field goal on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the second half.
Northwestern, though, answered with a pair of touchdowns on its next three treks to take a 14-point lead.
Siemian had back-to-back completions to Demetrius Fields and Vitale for 27 and 34 yards before Jones scampered in from three yards out.
Following a Mississippi State punt, Siemian gave the ball right back to the Bulldogs after Nickoe Whitley picked him off. But Mississippi State did nothing with the miscue and Siemian capped off an 8-play, 74-yard drive with a 4-yard TD scamper to make it 27-13 late in the frame.
Russell had thrown for just 45 yards on the Bulldogs’ first 10 offensive marches, but tabulated 43 yards through the air on Mississippi State’s ensuing 8-play, 60-yard sequence, which culminated when Russell found Malcolm Johnson for a 14-yard score.
Mississippi State got the ball back following a Wildcats’ three-and-out, but Russell was intercepted by Nick VanHoose, who returned the pick 29 yards. A Bulldogs penalty on the play placed the ball at the 5-yard line. Mark plunged in two plays later to make it 34-20 midway through the fourth.
The Bulldogs punted on their next series and Northwestern took the next 3:58 off the clock and Mississippi State regained possession at their own 20 with 2:54 left. But Quentin Williams, who returned a pick 29 yards for a score on the third offensive play of the game, sacked Russell on 4-and-20 to seal the outcome.
Following Williams’ touchdown, Russell was picked off again on Miss State second series, which led to a Jeff Budzien 34-yard field goal. Budzien booted through a 37-yarder early in the second for a 13-0 spread.
Devon Bell nailed a 27-yard field goal midway through the stanza and Russell’s 18-yard TD strike to Arcelo Clark with a little over a minute left in the half cut the deficit to 13-10 heading into the break.
Recap: Michigan vs. So Carolina
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - South Carolina proved on Tuesday that two quarterbacks are better than one.
Starter Connor Shaw threw for 224 yards and pair of scores, while backup Dylan Thompson also tossed two touchdown passes, including a 32-yarder with 11 seconds remaining to send the 11th-ranked Gamecocks to a 33-28 victory over No. 19 Michigan in the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.
Shaw completed 18-of-26 passes and also rushed for 96 yards on 10 carries, but the junior quarterback was injured during South Carolina’s go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter. Thompson carried the Gamecocks from there, completing back-to-back passes before spiking the ball at the Michigan 32 to stop the clock with less than 20 seconds left and his team trailing by one.
The sophomore signal-caller then found Bruce Ellington streaking down the seam for a 32-yard touchdown to give the Gamecocks a decisive five-point edge.
Thompson finished 7-of-10 for 117 yards and two scores, while Ace Sanders hauled in nine passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns and also returned a punt 63 yards for a score to help South Carolina (11-2) earn back-to-back bowl victories and notch its second consecutive 11-win season.
“I wasn’t nervous,” Thompson said of the final drive. “I knew I had great guys around me and I trusted them and just was confident.”
Devin Gardner connected on 18-of-35 passes for 214 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for the Wolverines (8-5), who fell to 20-22 all-time in bowl games.
Denard Robinson, playing his final game in the maize and blue, carried the ball 23 times for 100 yards, while Jeremy Gallon finished with nine catches for 145 yards and two scores in the setback.
Robinson has amassed 4,495 rushing yards over his four years at Michigan to set the NCAA record for career rushing yards by a quarterback, eclipsing the previous mark set by former West Virginia signal-caller Pat White (4,480, 2005-08).
“I’d rather win the game,” Robinson said of setting the record. “I tried to make the most of it.”
Michigan led 22-21 early in the fourth before South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney made his presence felt.
With the Wolverines at their own 41, Clowney met running back Vincent Smith in the backfield and sent the senior’s helmet rolling down the field. The force of Clowney’s hit also knocked the ball free and the sophomore defensive end quickly scooped it up to give South Carolina possession at the Michigan 31.
On the next play, Shaw found Sanders in the back of the end zone for a 31-yard TD strike. Shaw was unable to convert the two-point try, though, leaving South Carolina with a 27-22 edge with just over eight minutes left.
Michigan answered quickly with a 10-play, 64-yard scoring march that Gardner kept alive with a 1-yard surge on 3rd-and-1. Facing 3rd-and-13 later in the drive, Gardner hit Gallon on a slant for a 17-yard touchdown, but Smith was stuffed on the two-point conversion to leave Michigan leading 28-27 with 3 1/2 minutes to play.
On South Carolina’s final drive, Shaw kept things moving with a 6-yard completion to Sanders on 4th-and-3 from the South Carolina 37.
Two plays later, Shaw shook free of a defender before finding Sanders for six yards, but both players were injured on the play, forcing Thompson to enter the game.
Thompson converted a 3rd-and-6 from the Michigan 39 with a 7-yard toss to Damiere Byrd before finding Ellington for the go-ahead score.
South Carolina opened the game with a quick scoring strike, as Shaw found Byrd for a 56-yard touchdown on the third play from scrimmage to give the Gamecocks a 7-0 edge just over 1 1/2 minutes into the game.
Gardner was intercepted on Michigan’s ensuing possession, but the junior quarterback bounced back on the Wolverines’ second touch.
Gardner completed three straight passes on the 8-play, 51-yard scoring drive, but the march stalled at the South Carolina 21 and the Wolverines were forced to settle for a 39-yard field goal from Brendan Gibbons.
Michigan lost yards on its next touch, forcing punter Matt Wile to kick the ball away from his own goal line. Sanders fielded the punt in his own territory before making a defender miss near midfield en route to a 63-yard punt return touchdown to make it 14-3 with 5:27 left in the first.
The Wolverines answered with an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive spanning the first and second quarters. Michigan converted three third downs on the drive, which Gardner capped with a 5-yard TD toss to Drew Dileo on 3rd-and-3 to bring Michigan within 14-10 with 12:41 left in the second.
Thompson took over on South Carolina’s ensuing touch and completed all four of his passes on the quick 4-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Thompson found Nick Jones for 70 yards on the third play of the drive before hitting Sanders for a 4-yard score to make it 21-10 with just under 11 minutes left in the half.
South Carolina running back Kenny Miles fumbled the ball away on South Carolina’s next touch, setting up Gibbons’ 40-yard field goal to trim the margin to 21-13 heading into the locker room.
South Carolina moved deep into Michigan territory on its opening touch of the second half following a 64-yard scamper from Shaw, but Adam Yates missed a 33- yard field goal to keep it a 21-13 margin.
Michigan answered with a 52-yard field goal from Wile on its ensuing touch before the Gamecocks turned the ball over on downs at the Michigan 35.
Gardner kept the ensuing Michigan drive moving with a 19-yard surge on 4th- and-1 and then converted a 3rd-and-5 with a 10-yard rush down to the South Carolina 22.
Two plays later, Gardner found Gallon for a 10-yard touchdown, but Gardner’s pass on the two-point conversion was intercepted to leave Michigan clinging to a 22-21 lead late in the third quarter.
South Carolina responded with a deep drive into Michigan territory, but Yates’ 43-yard field goal try was blocked to keep the Gamecocks behind by one early in the fourth.