College Football Bowl Game Capsules
(Saturday, December 21st)
Final Score: Southern California 45, (21) Fresno State 20
Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - Clay Helton's reign as USC's head coach may be a brief one, but he was able to do what his two predecessors this season failed to accomplish -- win his final game. With Cody Kessler tossing four first-half touchdown passes and the defense shutting down national passing leader Derek Carr for much of the day, the Trojans set a foundation for a promising new era with a dominating 45-20 victory over 21st-ranked Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Kessler added a career-high 344 passing yards while hitting on 22-of-31 attempts to outshine the more-heralded Carr and end the Trojans' tumultuous season on a very high note. Marquis Lee and Nelson Agholor each hauled in two of the quarterback's scoring strikes, with Javorius Allen lending a pair of touchdowns on the ground in the rout. USC (10-4) enters new head coach Steve Sarkisian's debut season having won seven of its final eight games and went 8-2 after Lane Kiffin's dismissal in late September. Much of that success came under Ed Orgeron, who left the program after being passed over for Sarkisian to elevate Helton from offensive coordinator for the bowl game. Lee, playing in what's expected to be his final game before declaring for the NFL Draft, finished with 118 yards on seven catches. Carr, meanwhile, managed just 217 yards and two touchdowns with an interception on 30-of-54 passing against the Trojans' airtight pass defense. The senior standout entered the matchup having put up 400 or more yards in four of his last five outings. After making a case for a possible BCS bowl berth late in the season, Fresno State (11-2) dropped two of its last three games and was outclassed by the more athletic Trojans from virtually start-to-finish.
Final Score: Colorado State 48, Washington State 45
Albuquerque, NM (SportsNetwork.com) - Colorado State got college football's postseason off to a thrilling start, scoring 18 unanswered points in the final three minutes to rally for a 48-45 victory over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl. Kapri Bibbs' third rushing touchdown of the day -- and 31st of the season -- brought the Rams within 45-43 with 33 seconds left, and Donnell Alexander just got to the pylon on a Statue of Liberty play to convert the 2- point conversion and tie the score. Washington State's Teondray Caldwell then fumbled away the ensuing kickoff to set up Jared Roberts' 41-yard field goal as time expired to give Colorado State (8-6) the improbable win. The Rams overcame a 22-point first-half deficit as well as a career-high six touchdown passes from Cougars quarterback Connor Halladay in their first bowl appearance since defeating Fresno State in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl. Bibbs racked up 169 yards on 27 carries and Garrett Grayson threw a pair of touchdown passes, including a 12-yarder to Jordon Vaden with 2:52 remaining that began the comeback. Grayson finished with 369 yards through the air with one interception on a 31-of-50 completion rate. Halladay piled up 410 yards on 37-of-58 passing with one interception for Washington State (6-7), which was bowling for the first time since 2003. River Cracraft added 125 yards and a touchdown on nine catches in the Cougars' shocking setback.
Final Score: San Diego State 49, Buffalo 24
Boise, ID (SportsNetwork.com) - Adam Muema ran for 229 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries to power the San Diego State Aztecs to a 49-24 victory over the Buffalo Bulls in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Quarterback Quinn Kaehler also accounted for three scores in San Diego State's highest scoring output in 12 all-time bowl appearances. Kaehler finished with 211 yards on 15-of-28 efficiency and threw touchdown passes to Dylan Denso and Adam Roberts for the Aztecs (8-5). Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata completed 13-of-30 passes for 196 yards and three touchdowns, two coming in the fourth quarter with the outcome all but decided. Branden Oliver had 114 yards on 28 carries for Buffalo (8-5), which played in just the second bowl game in school history.
12/21 22:48:20 ET