ALAMO BOWL: No. 10 Oregon 30, Texas 7
Quarterback Marcus Mariota had 386 total yards and No. 10 Oregon returned two interceptions for touchdowns, spoiling Texas coach Mack Brown’s farewell with a runaway victory in the Alamo Bowl on Monday night.
The BCS-snubbed Ducks (11-2) dominated throughout even though their famously high-powered offense scored just one touchdown, when Josh Huff turned a short pass from Mariota into a spectacular 16-yard sprint to the end zone.
Brown received warm goodbyes from a sellout crowd in what was practically a home game for Texas (8-5). Even the school marching band spelled his name at halftime.
But the blowout was a final reminder of why Brown is resigning after 16 seasons at Texas, which he led to a national championship in 2005 but couldn’t reverse a sharp decline in recent years.
Walking off the field for the last time, Brown flashed the “Hook ’em Horns” hand signal to the scattered remaining Texas fans who stuck around to the end of another humbling loss this season.
Mariota led all rushers with 133 yards on 15 carries, making sure Oregon eased the sting of not playing in a BCS bowl for the first time in five years. He was 18 of 26 for 253 yards passing in his Heisman Trophy campaign tuneup for 2014, having announced earlier this month that he was coming back for his junior season.
Yet even Mariota was outscored by Oregon’s defense — and so was Texas, for that matter.
Oregon’s first touchdown came on the third play of the game when safety Avery Patterson intercepted an overthrown pass by Texas quarterback Case McCoy and returned it 37 yards to the end zone. McCoy later bookended a dismal performance in his final game with another pick-six, this one returned 38 yards by linebacker Derrick Malone that sent waves of burnt orange-clad fans streaming for the exits.
MUSIC CITY BOWL: Mississippi 25, Georgia Tech 17
Bo Wallace ran for two touchdowns and threw for another score as Mississippi beat Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl for the Rebels’ second straight bowl victory under coach Hugh Freeze.
The junior quarterback and Tennessee native made up for his three turnovers in the Egg Bowl overtime loss by throwing for 256 yards and running for 86 more, giving him the school record for total yards in a season and most completions in a season, topping Eli Manning for both.
Ole Miss (8-5) now has won six straight bowls and 10 of the last 11 in making up for the lone loss in that stretch in the 2000 Music City Bowl.
Georgia Tech (7-6) has lost eight of nine bowls. The Yellow Jackets scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as they tried to rally before a safety with 4:22 left ended their last chance.
ARMED FORCES BOWL: Navy 24, Middle Tennessee 6
Keenan Reynolds ran for 86 yards with two more touchdowns and Navy won for only the second time its last seven bowl games, beating Middle Tennessee State in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Reynolds had a 3-yard score to cap the opening drive for Navy (9-4) and added a 1-yarder in the fourth quarter. Already with the NCAA record for touchdowns rushing by a quarterback, Reynolds upped his total to 31 to match Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs, also a sophomore, for the national lead this season.
Middle Tennessee (8-5) was held to a season low in points. The Blue Raiders finished the regular season with a five-game winning streak, averaging nearly 43 points a game in that stretch — since a 34-7 loss on Oct. 12 at North Texas, about 40 miles away from the TCU campus where the bowl was played.
The Midshipmen overcame two fumbles by Reynolds, their first turnovers in six games. Both came after Navy got inside the 20 and were recovered by T.T. Barber, though the Blue Raiders failed to convert either into points.
Barber knocked loose one ball after tackling Reynolds, jumping over the quarterback to pounce on it late in the first half. The other came late in the third quarter when the Midshipmen drove from their own 6 to the MTSU 14 after stopping Middle Tennessee short on a fourth-and-2.
Reynolds, who finished the season with 1,346 yards rushing leading the triple option offense, had lost only two fumbles during the regular season.
Down 10-6 at halftime, the Blue Raiders drove to the Navy 7 on the opening drive of the second half. They opted to go for it on fourth down instead of trying a short field goal. But fullback Corey Carmichael managed only a yard before getting taken down by Travis Bridges and George Jamison, who also had an interception.
The Midshipmen never trailed after 10 rushing plays on their opening drive, capped by Reynolds’ first touchdown. Nick Sloan made a 32-yard field goal, and DeBrandon Sanders added a 41-yard TD run for Navy.