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Bowl Roundup: Tech loses in the Music City Bowl

Bowl Roundup: Tech loses in the Music City Bowl

Bowl Roundup: Tech loses in the Music City Bowl

Navy Midshipmen quarterback Keenan Re...


    NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets started the Music City Bowl just as they wanted, running on 11 of their 14 plays as they finished the drive with a touchdown.
    Then Mississippi essentially shut down their triple-option offense from there and handed Georgia Tech yet another bowl loss Monday 25-17.
    "We never got in sync on offense at all," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "Never really got into any kind of rhythm. It was just kind of haphazard. We hit some plays here and there, but nothing to gain any consistency."
    Robert Godhigh ran for an 8-yard touchdown, and Vad Lee connected with Darren Waller on a 72-yard TD pass as the Yellow Jackets (7-6) tried to rally late. But the nation's fourth-best rushing offense that came in averaging 311.7 yards a game managed just 151 yards and was outgained 477-298 in total offense.
    Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace outrushed Lee 86-24 by himself.
    "They played about every kind of defense known to man," Johnson said of how the Rebels stopped Lee. "They were just popping gaps and lining up, and we were really just tossing the ball."
    Georgia Tech (7-6) now has lost eight of its last nine bowls.
    Ole Miss (8-5) 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. The Rebels came in tied with Auburn and Florida State, who play Jan. 6 for the BCS national championship, for the nation's longest bowl winning streak.
    "I didn't want to screw that up today," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "So I'm glad to win two bowl games in our first two years. With what we inherited, I think says we're heading in the right direction for sure. It is a very positive step."
    The Yellow Jackets had other issues in the game.
    Johnson said he shouldn't have given punter Sean Poole the option to run on a fake punt that ended with Poole tripping up 2 yards shy of the line of scrimmage at midfield. They also had a chance to finish off a 10-point rally in the fourth quarter after Adam Gotsis blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt, giving Georgia Tech the ball with 4:36 left.
    But an attempted reverse play with receiver Corey Dennis trying to throw turned into a safety when he fumbled, and Ray Beno covered the ball up in the end zone.
    "We'd been waiting for a series-and-a-half to get the ball in the middle of the field because I knew it was going to work," Johnson said. "They made a play, and we didn't. If it worked, you'd be calling me a genius."
    Ole Miss finally punted back to Georgia Tech with 37 seconds left. Senquez Golson intercepted Lee on the next play to seal the victory for the Rebels in the bowl, sponsored by Franklin American Mortgage Company.

Navy pounds MTSU
    FORT WORTH, Texas — Keenan Reynolds amazes so many people with how he directs Navy's triple-option offense and keeps scoring touchdowns.
    As for the quarterback, he is in awe of the company he now keeps after joining the 30-touchdown rushing club in the Midshipmen's 24-6 victory over Middle Tennessee State in the Armed Forces Bowl on Monday.
    "It's huge. You just say the name Barry Sanders and you can stop right there," Reynolds said. "He probably was the greatest college player there was. Just to be even in that conversation with guys like that is a humbling experience. I never thought I would be in that category."
    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.
    The only players with more rushing TDs in a season were Sanders (37) with Oklahoma State, and Wisconsin's Montee Ball (33).
    Reynolds, playing 50 years after Hall of Fame quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion Roger Staubach won the Heisman Trophy at Navy, still has two seasons left in college.
    The Midshipmen ran 10 consecutive times on the game's opening drive, with Reynolds going 3 yards to put them ahead to stay.
    "It's hard to simulate on a scout team what Navy does," Blue Raiders coach Rick Stockstill said.
    Navy, which won for only the second time in its last seven bowl games, piled up 366 yards rushing and finished this season with five straight victories.
    The Blue Raiders (8-5) were held to a season low in points. They had 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.
    "This was the first time we kept a team completely out of the end zone. It was huge to finish like this," senior linebacker Cody Peterson said.
    "Last two games, our defense has played phenomenal," coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "Middle Tennessee has been moving the ball against a lot of people."
    In its previous game, just more than two weeks earlier, Navy beat Army 34-7 in the snow and freezing temperatures in Philadelphia.
    It was 32 degrees at kickoff on Monday, but with sunny and clear skies.

Oregon messes with Texas
    SAN ANTONIO — 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 30-7 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.

McCoy scored on a 1-yard rush in the first quarter for Texas' only touchdown. He finished 8 of 17 for 48 yards and was pulled at times in the second half for freshman Tyrone Swoopes.

Running back Malcolm Brown was the lone offensive constant for Texas, finishing with 130 yards on 26 carries.

Far from the uplifting send-off Texas wanted for Brown, the school now shifts its focus to finding a replacement. New Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said before kickoff that he wants a successor by Jan. 15.

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