STANFORD STIFLES 2-POINT CONVERSION
el paso» Stanford got its usual dual-threat, standout performance from its running back Friday, but this time it wasn’t Christian McCaffrey.
Bryce Love took over for the absent McCaffrey in the backfield, running for 119 yards and catching a 49-yard touchdown pass to help No. 16 Stanford beat North Carolina 25-23 in the Sun Bowl.
“I always feel like my next game will be my best one,” Love said. “But it’s always good to win.”
Stanford held on after North Carolina pulled within two with 25 seconds left on Mitch Trubisky’s 2-yard pass to Bug Howard, sacking Trubisky on the 2-point conversion try.
“When the game was on the line and we had to make a big play, we did,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “It was an outstanding football game. Two really tough, talented football teams played all the way to the end. Thankfully, our guys made enough plays at the end to seal the victory.”
McCaffrey skipped the bowl game to focus on his NFL career. Still, in the postgame press conference, Shaw made sure his contributions to the team weren’t overlooked.
“You heard my comments (in the postgame ceremony) thanking Christian,” he said. “When we weren’t playing well, he was playing great. At the end of the year, he played so well. He played so hard until the rest of us on offense started picking it up around him. So this sixgame run that we finished the season on is a large part to him.”
Enter Love, who showed flashes of what he could do with a 100-yard-plus performance and a score against Notre Dame. He ran for more than 600 yards this season in a backup role, although everyone said they were excited to see what he could do. That included North Carolina, which also recruited the Wake Forest, N.C., product.
Stanford took a 25-17 lead on Conrad Ukropina’s 27yard field goal with 3:23 left. North Carolina was forced to punt on its next series but used two timeouts to get the ball back.
After taking over at their own 3, the Tar Heels drove 97 yards in 10 plays and 1:11. After competing passes of 44 and 27 yards, Trubisky capped the drive with the 2-yard scoring pass to Howard.
Stanford then sacked Trubisky on the 2-point try, a rush led by Solomon Thomas forcing the quarterback to retreat before being taken down. Thomas was selected the game’s MVP.
“It’s an honor to go out on a win,” Thomas said.
Georgia rallies past TCU
B memphis, tenn.» Nick Chubb and Sony Michel combined to rush for 229 yards and two touchdowns as Georgia came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat TCU 31-23 in the Liberty Bowl.
“At the end of the day, we were able to run the ball when we had to run the ball and they knew we had to run the ball,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “That’s a mark of two good backs. That’s the mark of some tough guys up front.”
Chubb rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while Michel ran for 87 yards and a score on 16 attempts.
“We never stopped,” Chubb said. “Nobody on our offense stopped. Nobody on our team stopped. We kept pounding.”