The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

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.”


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