Min­nesota up­sets Wash­ing­ton State

Golden Go­phers emerge from turmoil to win Hol­i­day Bowl

The Denver Post - - OFF & RUNNING - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

san diego» Shan­non Brooks caught a tipped pass from Mitch Lei­d­ner for a 13-yard, go-ahead touch­down in the third quar­ter and the Min­nesota Golden Go­phers, be­set by turmoil af­ter 10 play­ers were sus­pended af­ter a sex­ual as­sault in­ves­ti­ga­tion, up­set Luke Falk and the Wash­ing­ton State Cougars 17-12 in the Hol­i­day Bowl on Tues­day night.

It was one of the few ex­cit­ing plays in an other­wise pedes­trian edi­tion of what tra­di­tion­ally has been one of the coun­try’s most ex­cit­ing bowl games.

WSU cor­ner­back Mar­cel­lus Pip­pins reached up with his right hand and de­flected Lei­d­ner’s pass in the end zone but it went right to Brooks for the TD and a 10-6 lead. That capped an 84yard, 10-play drive on Min­nesota’s first pos­ses­sion of the sec­ond half.

The Golden Go­phers (9-4) were look­ing to re­group af­ter back­ing down from a threat to skip this game if 10 team­mates sus­pended af­ter a sex­ual as­sault in­ves­ti­ga­tion weren’t re­in­stated. Their boy­cott lasted less than 36 hours, with univer­sity lead­er­ship never blink­ing. The play­ers backed down amid pres­sure from many who read de­tails of the al­le­ga­tions.

WSU (8-5) ended on a three­game los­ing streak and was held to its low­est point to­tal of the sea­son. The Cougars had scored more than 50 points four times this sea­son, a school record.

The Golden Go­phers frus­trated Falk most of the game, hold­ing him to 264 yards — 86 below his av­er­age — on 30-of-51 pass­ing. Falk didn’t crack 200 yards un­til the fi­nal min­utes, when he led a drive capped by an 8-yard TD pass to Kyle Sweet. Af­ter three tries due to Min­nesota penal­ties, the con­ver­sion at­tempt failed. Min­nesota then re­cov­ered an on­side kick.

Falk came in hav­ing com­pleted 71 per­cent of his passes in throw­ing for 4,204 yards and 37 touch­downs. The Cougars were ranked sec­ond in the na­tion in pass­ing.

Falk was in­ter­cepted by Adekunle Ayinde on fourth down with 3:05 left. That set up Rod­ney Smith’s 9-yard TD run with 2:06 left for a 17-6 lead.

WSU lead 6-3 af­ter a lack­lus­ter first half that in­cluded just three field goals.

The Cougars couldn’t get their vaunted Air Raid of­fense go­ing and crossed the 50 just twice, get­ting field goals of 26 and 41 yards by Erik Pow­ell.

Pow­ell’s sec­ond field goal was set up when Nnamdi Oguayo hit Lei­d­ner and forced a fum­ble that Isaac Dot­son re­cov­ered at the Golden Go­phers’ 38.

Wake For­est beats Tem­ple

B an­napo­lis, md.» When Wake For­est fans look back at 2016, per­haps they will re­mem­ber an ex­cit­ing vic­tory in the Mil­i­tary Bowl as the cul­mi­na­tion of the team’s first win­ning sea­son in eight years.

At least, that’s what De­mon Dea­cons coach Dave Claw­son would like to be­lieve.

Wake For­est at­tached a pos­i­tive end­ing to a sea­son marred by scan­dal, us­ing a strong per­for­mance by quar­ter­back John Wol­ford to beat heav­ily fa­vored Tem­ple 34-26.

Af­ter throw­ing an in­ter­cep­tion on the first se­ries of the game — a turnover Tem­ple used to take a 7-0 lead — Wol­ford helped the De­mon Dea­cons rat­tle off 31 straight points be­fore half­time.

Wol­ford left with a neck strain in the third quar­ter with the score 31-17. Wake For­est then with­stood a come­back bid by Tem­ple to se­cure its first bowl vic­tory since 2008.

That gave the De­mon Dea­cons some­thing to talk about this off­sea­son be­side a trou­bling spy story. Ac­cord­ing to a Wake For­est in­ves­ti­ga­tion, broad­caster Tommy El­rod leaked or at­tempted to leak game plan in­for­ma­tion to at least three op­po­nents. Al­though El­rod has not re­leased a pub­lic state­ment on the scan­dal, the school has since fired him.

The scan­dal was dubbed “Wakey Leaks.”

“It was im­por­tant we win this game so this game and this bowl cham­pi­onship be­comes the last­ing mem­ory for this foot­ball team and not some stupid hash­tag that no­body in our pro­gram was re­spon­si­ble for,” Claw­son said. “That be­comes the last­ing mem­ory for the team and not a bit­ter­ness of some­thing we’re ready to move past.”

Army outlasts North Texas

B dal­las» Jor­dan As­berry ran for a 3-yard touch­down on fourth down in over­time, send­ing Army past North Texas 38-31 in a re­match at the Heart of Dal­las Bowl.

As­berry’s score was the sixth rush­ing touch­down in the game for the Black Knights and 46th of the sea­son. That broke the school record held by the 1945 na­tional cham­pi­onship that had two Heis­man Tro­phy win­ners in the back­field. They rushed for 480 yards.

“One of our goals is not flinch and be­lieve no mat­ter what,” said quar­ter­back Ah­mad Brad­shaw, who ran for 129 yards and a score. “A lot of peo­ple say it’s a ques­tion­able call . ... We were de­ter­mined to get it in.”

Ah­mad Brad­shaw ran for 129 yards and a touch­down for Army while Dar­nell Wool­folk had 119 yards and two TDs.

North Texas had its chance in over­time. But af­ter Alec Mor­ris scram­bled for 4 yards and Jef­fery Wil­son lost 3, con­sec­u­tive in­com­plete passes fol­lowed. Mor­ris threw for 304 yards and three scores, but his des­per­a­tion fourth-down throw on the run ended the game.

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