It’s bowl season in college football! Teams who have won 6 or more games during the regular season are the only ones eligible to take part in bowl season. Here, they are pitted against teams of a similar caliber to them in some funky-named bowl games e.g. Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Bahamas Bowl etc, hoping to end their season on a high.
The first batch of bowl games took place on December 17th (US time). Here are the results:
CELEBRATION BOWL – GRAMBLING STATE (11-1) vs NC CENTRAL (9-2)
Final Score: Grambling State 10 – 9 NC Central
Grambling State won a tight contest over NC Central to finish 12-1 for the season. Grambling quarterback Devante Kincade threw for only 149 yards and an interception, while his running back Martez Carter had 12 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown. For NC Central, Malcolm Bell threw for 240 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Wideout LaVontis Smith had 4 catches for 82 yards.
NEW MEXICO BOWL – NEW MEXICO (8-4) vs UTSA (6-6)
Final Score: New Mexico 23 – 20 UTSA
Despite it’s nation-leading rushing attack being slowed down, New Mexico managed to hold off UTSA’s comeback attempt to win their second ever bowl game. UTSA has yet to win a bowl game in the school’s history. New Mexico, who had averaged 360.9 rushing yards a game heading into this encounter, was held to just 219 rushing yards. For New Mexico, quarterback Lamar Jordan threw for only 77 yards and ran for 81 yards. Running back Richard McQuarley ran for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns. On UTSA’s team, Dalton Sturm threw for 118 yards, 2 touchdowns and a pick, while running back Jarveon Williams ran for 125 yards.
LAS VEGAS BOWL – HOUSTON (9-3) vs SAN DIEGO STATE (10-3)
Final Score: San Diego State 34 – 10 Houston
San Diego State scored 34 unanswered points to win the Las Vegas Bowl over Houston. Star running back Donnell Pumphrey managed to become the all-time leading rusher in FBS history, breaking Ron Dayne’s mark. Pumphrey ran for 115 yards and a touchdown to take his season tally to 2,133 yards and his career total to 6,405 yards. The other San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny managed to break 1,000 yards for the season, making the Aztecs the first team in FBS history to have a 2,000 yard and 1,000 yard rusher on the same roster. Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr struggled for the majority of the game, getting sacked 8 times and intercepted 4 times. After starting the year 5-0, the Cougars slumped to 9-4 to end the season.
CAMELLIA BOWL – APPALACHIAN STATE (9-3) vs TOLEDO (9-3)
Final Score: Appalachian State 31 – 28 Toledo
Toledo missed a game-tying field goal with under two minutes left which gave Appalachian State a narrow victory and complete a 10-win season. Quarterback Taylor Lamb threw for 119 yards and a score and rushed for 126 yards and a touchdown. Running back Marcus Cox ran for 143 yards and a touchdown. Despite the loss, some Toledo players managed to have record-breaking performances. Wide receiver Cody Thompson had five catches for 99 yards and a score. Thompson finished the season with 1,268 receiving yards, breaking the single-season school record held by Lance Moore (1,194 yards). Toledo running back Kareem Hunt had 120 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Hunt became the all-time leading rusher in Toledo’s history with 4,945 yards, breaking the record held by Chester Taylor (4,849 yards).
CURE BOWL – UCF (6-6) vs ARKANSAS STATE (7-5)
Final Score: Arkansas State 31 – 13 UCF
The mistakes piled on for UCF, allowing Arkansas State to take a commanding victory in the 2nd ever Cure Bowl. Arkansas State quarterback Justice Hansen threw for 205 yards and 3 touchdowns, all three going to receiver Kendall Sanders, who had five catches for 127 yards. For UCF, signal-caller McKenzie Milton threw for 175 yards and a touchdown but didn’t get much help from the run game.
NEW ORLEANS BOWL – SOUTHERN MISS (6-6) VS LA-LAFAYETTE (6-6)
Final Score: Southern Miss 28 – 21 La-Lafayette
Southern Miss held off La-Lafayette to claim the New Orleans Bowl. Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens threw for 346 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. Running back Ito Smith ran for 138 yards and 2 scores, while wide receiver Allenzae Staggers set a new New Orleans Bowl record with 230 receiving yards on 11 catches and a score. For Lafayette, quarterback Anthony Jennings threw for 95 yards and a pick, but ran for 2 rushing touchdowns. Lafayette tailback Elijah McGuire ran for 99 yards.