Military Bowl:?No. 24 San Jose State 29,?Bowling Green 20
So what if San Jose State lost its coach before the Military Bowl. David Fales was still the quarterback, and that was plenty.
The dart-throwing junior started strong and finished stronger in the wind and cold at RFK Stadium. Fales, who led the nation in completion percentage during the regular season, completed 33 of 43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns Thursday in the No. 24 Spartans’ win over Bowling Green.
Fales led the drive that set up Austin Lopez’s 27-yard field goal with 4:43 remaining, and De’Leon Eskridge’s 1-yard run with 2:34 left provided the insurance. San Jose State (11-2), in the national rankings for the first time since 1975, capped the year with a seven-game winning streak for its first 11-win season since 1940, a remarkable turnaround for a program that was 1-12 just two years ago in Mike MacIntyre’s first season as coach.
But MacIntyre left earlier this month for a bigger payday at Colorado, leaving defensive coordinator Kent Baer in charge for the bowl. Baer was interested in the job full time, but the school instead hired San Diego’s Ron Caragher, who attended the game as an observer.
Bowling Green (8-5) had a similar turnaround, improving from 2-10 in 2010 under coach Dave Clawson. A defense that allowed only 15.8 points per game in the regular season — ninth best among FBS schools — did a decent job against a San Jose State team that was averaging 35.3 points.
Bowling Green retook the lead in the fourth quarter with a 68-yard drive, finished off by John Pettigrew’s 1-yard run with 10:26 remaining. But Fales went 7 for 10 on a 68-yard drive that got well within range for Lopez, who had a perfect season.
Belk Bowl:?Cincinnati 48, Duke 34
Brendon Kay threw for 332 yards and a Belk Bowl-record four touchdowns, and Cincinnati capitalized on Duke’s inept play in the closing minutes to beat the Blue Devils.
Duke appeared to have the game in hand and was driving for the go-ahead score — and its first bowl victory since 1961 — but the final 80 seconds proved disastrous. With the game tied at 34 and the Blue Devils positioning themselves for a winning field goal, running back Josh Snead fumbled at the Cincinnati 5-yard line with 1:20 left and Bearcats defensive lineman John Williams recovered.
Kay then connected with tight end Travis Kelce on an 83-yard touchdown strike down the middle with 44 seconds left for the go-ahead score.
Cincinnati (10-3) sealed it on the next series when Maalik Bomar drilled Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, forcing a deflection that Nick Temple returned 55 yards for a touchdown. Renfree threw for 358 yards for the Blue Devils (6-7).