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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Michigan St beats Stanford 24-20 in Rose Bowl
Connor Cook passed for a career-high 332 yards and hit Tony Lippett with a tiebreaking 25-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter, leading Michigan State to a 24-20 victory over Stanford yesterday in college football’s 100th Rose Bowl.
In the day’s other bowl games, Central Florida upset Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl, Nebraska defeated Georgia in the Gator Bowl, South Carolina outlasted Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl, Louisiana State beat Iowa in the Outback Bowl and North Texas beat the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Michigan State, which finished the season with 10 straight wins, earned its first Rose Bowl victory in 26 years.
Cook also threw a touchdown pass to Trevon Pendleton, and Jeremy Langford rushed for 84 yards and a score for the Spartans. The nation’s best defense ended the game by stopping Stanford on fourth-and-1 with 1:46 to play, stuffing a run play up the middle.
Tyler Gaffney ran for 91 yards and an early touchdown for Stanford, and linebacker Kevin Anderson returned an interception 40 yards for a score late in the first half. But the Cardinal couldn’t follow up last season’s victory in Pasadena with back-to-back Rose Bowl wins, managing just three points from their offense after the first quarter.
The Spartans have long labored in the shadow of Michigan and Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference, but coach Mark Dantonio’s seven-year rebuilding project has put them on top of the American Midwest in college football this season with an unbeaten run through conference play.
After knocking off the unbeaten Buckeyes in the league title game, Michigan State earned only the Big Ten’s second Rose Bowl win since 2000.
Central Florida, meanwhile, raced past the country’s top offensive team with an array of big plays to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the college football bowl season.
Blake Bortles threw for 301 yards and accounted for four touchdowns and Storm Johnson ran for three more scores as the Knights outlasted Baylor 52-42 in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Knights jumped out to an early 14-point and kept rolling, piling up 556 total yards in the highest-scoring game in Fiesta Bowl history.
Baylor, which led the nation in scoring this season, gained 550 total yards but lost 135 on 17 penalties.
Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong Jr. connected with Quincy Enunwa for two touchdowns, including a 99-yarder in the third quarter, to help the Cornhuskers beat Georgia 24-19 in the Gator Bowl.
Playing in their 50th bowl, the Cornhuskers avenged a 45-31 loss to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl last season.
Georgia’s Todd Gurley, who finished with 86 yards rushing and 97 yards receiving, caught a 25-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut Nebraska’s lead to 24-19.
But the Huskers stopped Georgia twice on fourth down in the closing minutes. Rantavious Wooten and Arthur Lynch dropped fourth-down passes that ended drives in the red zone.
South Carolina’s Connor Shaw was responsible for five touchdowns, including three passing, as the Gamecocks defeated Wisconsin 34-24in the Capital One Bowl.
Shaw, who also had rushing and receiving scores, completed 22 of 25 passes for 312 yards.
Bruce Ellington caught six passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns for the Gamecocks, who won their third straight bowl game to cap a third straight 11-win season.
The Badgers lost their fourth straight bowl game, failing to capitalize on 100-yard rushing games from both Melvin Gordon and James White.
Louisiana State’s Jeremy Hill ran for 216 yards and two touchdowns to help the Tigers hold off Iowa 21-14 in the Outback Bowl.
Craig Loston’s fourth-quarter interception stopped a potential tying drive by the Hawkeyes, after which Hill carried four times for 87 yards on a 92-yard march to give LSU a 21-7 lead.
Iowa pulled within a touchdown after Jordan Cotton returned the ensuing kickoff to the Tigers 4, but the Hawkeyes could get no closer before time expired.
North Texas’ Derek Thompson threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns and Brelan Chancellor scored twice as the Mean Green beat UNLV 36-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Both of Chancellor’s touchdown runs came in the fourth quarter. He had 121 yards combined rushing and receiving.
The Mean Green won their first bowl game since the New Orleans Bowl in 2002. AP
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