Bowls: Wildcats only Big Ten bowl winner on New Year’s Day
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The stuffed monkey spent the last year in storage, out of sight but still in everyone’s mind.
Coach Pat Fitzgerald dusted it off for the Gator Bowl and even had it on the sideline Tuesday as a reminder of Northwestern’s decades-long, bowl losing streak — the ol’ monkey on their backs.
Now, it’s in pieces.
Behind huge interceptions early and late, No. 21 Northwestern beat Mississippi State 34-20 and snapped college football’s longest postseason losing streak. The Wildcats (10-3) hadn’t won a bowl game since 1949, a nine-game skid.
Georgia outslugs Nebraska
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Aaron Murray threw five touchdown passes to set a Georgia bowl record, including two in the fourth quarter, as the sixth-ranked Bulldogs beat No. 23 Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday.
Murray shook off a pair of first-half interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and passed for 427 yards — also a Bulldogs’ bowl record — against the nation’s top-ranked passing defense. He was named the game’s most valuable player.
Georgia (12-2) reached 12 wins for the third time in school history.
Nebraska (10-4) lost its third consecutive bowl game.
South Carolina clips Michigan
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Connor Shaw led No. 11 South Carolina to the brink of victory and Dylan Thompson carried the Gamecocks over the hump in the Outback Bowl.
Thompson came off the bench to throw a 32-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds remaining Tuesday, enabling South Carolina to match a school record for victories in a season with a 33-28 win over No. 19 Michigan.
Thompson replaced Shaw during the winning drive, covering the final 43 yards after Shaw begin the march from his own 30. Devin Gardner’s third TD pass of the game had given Michigan a 28-27 lead.
Shaw threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns after missing South Carolina’s regular season finale with a left foot sprain. Thompson led the Gamecocks (11-2) to a victory over their archrival, and threw for 117 yards and two TDs a backup Tuesday.
Purdue fades after bold move
DALLAS (AP) — Patrick Higgins made a big decision right away in his only chance to be in charge of Purdue.
The interim coach called for a fake punt just 13 yards from his end zone on the Boilermakers’ first possession, and it worked. He just never got another chance to influence the outcome.
Clint Chelf threw three of Oklahoma State’s five touchdown passes and the Cowboys shook off a tough Big 12 finish by rolling up 524 yards and forcing five Purdue turnovers in a dominating 58-14 victory in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Tuesday.