Trojans hang on to edge Huskers in Holiday Bowl
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Southern California held on for a 45-42 win over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl on Saturday, with Adoree’ Jackson scoring touchdowns on a 98-yard kickoff return and a 71-yard pass from Cody Kessler.
In the day’s other college bowl games, Pennsylvania State beat Boston College in overtime in the Pinstripe Bowl, Arizona State had a tight win over Duke, South Carolina edged Miami in the Independence Bowl, while Virginia Tech had a relatively comfortable win against Cincinnati in the Military Bowl.
USC quarterback Kessler threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns for the Trojans who were playing Nebraska in a bowl game for the first time.
With 2-1/2 minutes left, the Trojans defense stopped De’Mornay Pierson on fourth-and-3 from the USC 31-yard line. Nebraska had one final shot but Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s desperation pass as time ran out was knocked down inside the 10.
Armstrong had brought the Cornhuskers back from a 45-27 deficit with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Westerkamp and a 15-yard keeper and a 2-point conversion pass to Kenny Bell.
Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Carter in overtime and kicker Sam Ficken slotted the extra point that Boston College could not, delivering a 31-30 win over the Eagles in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
The Nittany Lions played in a bowl game for the first time since January 2012 after college sports’ administrator, the NCAA, lifted the severe sanctions levied against the program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Ficken sent the game to overtime with a 45-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in regulation, capping Penn State’s comeback from a 21-7 deficit in the third quarter, and then won it in overtime.
Boston College got a touchdown on the opening driver of overtime, when Tyler Murphy hit David Dudeck with a 21-yard pass, but kicker Mike Knoll shanked the extra point for the Eagles.
Arizona State’s Kalen Ballage returned a kickoff 96 yards to set up the winning score which gave the Sun Devils a 36-31 victory over Duke in the Sun Bowl.
Ballage’s big return came after Duke had taken a 31-30 lead on receiver Jamison Crowder’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Blakeney with 5:03 left.
On the kickoff, Ballage took the ball near the goal line and, with the aid of blocking, made it all the way to the 4-yard line.
On the next play, Demario Richard bullocked his way into the end zone for what proved the final score. Quarterback Taylor Kelly was stopped on the 2-point conversion try.
Duke drove to 14 on its final drive, but Anthony Boone’s third-and-10 pass was intercepted in the end zone with 45 seconds left.
South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score to lead the Gamecocks to a 24-21 victory over Miami in the Independence Bowl.
Pharoh Cooper was Thompson’s favorite target, catching nine passes for 170 yards, including a spectacular 25-yard grab on the decisive drive late in the fourth quarter.
South Carolina has won a school-record four straight bowl games. Miami ended the season with four defeats and has not won in the postseason since 2006.
Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson ran for 132 yards and caught five passes for 51 yards, but his costly fumble with a little more than 5 minutes remaining set up South Carolina’s winning drive.
Virginia Tech’s J.C. Coleman ran for 157 yards and a touchdown as the Hokies beat Cincinnati 33-17 in the Military Bowl.
The key moment came in the third quarter when Cincinnati quarterback Gunnar Kiel was sacked, forcing a fumble. Nigel Williams picked up the ball and fumbled at the 12, but Greg Stroman scooped it up and took it into the end zone for a 27-10 lead.
Kiel was taken off the field injured and did not return.
Hokies quarterback Michael Brewer went 14 for 24 for 94 yards and a touchdown.