Minnesota upsets Washington State
Golden Gophers emerge from turmoil to win Holiday Bowl
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.