PASADENA, Calif. (AP)C.J. Stroud capped his record-setting offensive day by leading a 56-yard drive ending in Noah Ruggles’ 19-yard field goal with nine seconds to play, and No. 7 Ohio State beat No. 10 Utah 48-45 on Saturday night in the wild 108th edition of the Rose Bowl.
Stroud passed for a school-record 573 yards and a record-tying six touchdowns for the Buckeyes (11-2), who won the Granddaddy of Them All for the second time in four years with an offensive performance that shattered multiple long-standing offensive marks. Stroud’s yards passing and touchdowns both are Rose Bowl records, and he finished 3 yards shy of the record for yards passing in any bowl game.
Ohio State still had to rally from 10 points down late in the third quarter to get past the Pac-12 champion Utes (10-4), who got off to an electrifying start and stayed competitive even after star quarterback Cameron Rising went down with an injury with 9:56 to play in Utah’s first trip to the Rose Bowl.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba set the record for any FBS bowl game with 347 yards receiving while catching a school-record 15 passes and scoring three touchdowns. Marvin Harrison Jr. also caught three TD passes for the Buckeyes, who set a Rose Bowl record with 683 total yards.
Ohio State trailed 38-31 entering the fourth quarter despite the pyrotechnics of its passing game, but the Buckeyes immediately stopped Utah on downs at the Ohio State 31, and tied it on Harrison’s 5-yard TD catch with 10:12 left. Rising was injured moments later while getting sacked, the Utes had to turn to Bryson Barnes, who had never thrown a collegiate pass.
Smith-Njigba then made a 30-yard, over-the-shoulder catch for his third touchdown with 4:22 to play, but Barnes improbably led the Utes on a tying drive capped by a 15-yard TD pass to Dalton Kincaid with 1:54 left.
But Stroud coolly led the Buckeyes back downfield in the waning seconds, and Ruggles hit his easy field goal. Ohio State kicked off to Britain Covey, who already had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown earlier, but the Buckeyes smothered his cutback as time ran out.
Rising passed for 214 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 92 yards and a score, but he left the game with an apparent head injury after getting sacked.
NO. 9 OKLAHOMA STATE 36, NO. 5 NOTRE DAME 35
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Spencer Sanders accounted for 496 yards and threw three of his four touchdown passes to Tay Martin, and Oklahoma State overcame a 21-point deficit to beat Notre Dame 37-35 in the Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma State (12-2, No. 9 CFP) came up inches short of securing a College Football Playoff spot in a loss to No. 6 Baylor at the Big 12 title game and fell into 21-point, first-half hole against Notre Dame (11-2, No. 5 CFP).
Jack Coan led Notre Dame’s early charge while throwing for a Fiesta Bowl-record 509 yards and five touchdowns.
Sanders, who had a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jaden Bray in the first quarter, cut Notre Dame’s lead to 28-14 with a 9-yard scoring pass to Martin with 37 seconds left in the first half. The pair connected for two more touchdowns, from 5 and 8 yards, to tie the game, and the Cowboys went up 34-28 on three field goals by Tanner Brown.
Coan threw a 25-yard TD pass to Austin with 1:05 left to pull Notre Dame within two, but Oklahoma State recovered the onside kick to keep the Irish winless in major bowl games since the 1993 Cotton Bowl under Lou Holtz.
Sanders threw for 371 yards on 34-of-51 passing and ran for 125 yards.
The Irish appeared to be headed toward a rousing start to the Marcus Freeman era, building a 28-7 lead behind Coan. Notre Dame’s senior quarterback threw for 342 yards and four touchdowns in the first half, including two to tight end Michael Mayer. Coan finished 38 for 68.
NO. 6 BAYLOR 21, NO. 8 MISSISSIPPI 7
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Al Walcott set a Sugar Bowl record with a 96-yard interception return, Monaray Baldwin raced 48 yards for the go-ahead score on an end around, and Baylor beat Mississippi as injured Rebels quarterback Matt Corral watched from the sideline on crutches.
Abram Smith ran for 172 yards to finish with a single-season record 1,601 yards rushing for Big 12 champion Baylor (12-2), which won 12 games in a season for the first time. The defense did the rest, finishing with 10 sacks – two by game MVP Terrel Bernard – and three interceptions.
Corral, a dual-threat star QB and projected high-round NFL draft choice, became one of the big stories of the Sugar Bowl because of his decision to play, rather than opt out and minimize injury risks in advance of turning pro. His hopes of going out with a flourish faded on Ole Miss’ third series, when he was sacked from behind by Cole Maxwell amid a cluster of players. Corral didn’t put weight on his right foot.
Mississippi finished 10-3.
NO. 22 ARKANSAS 24, PENN STATE 10
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – KJ Jefferson picked up 104 of his 110 rushing yards in the second half and threw for 90 more to lead Arkansas past Penn State in the Outback Bowl.
Raheim Sanders had 79 yards and two touchdowns on 13 rushing attempts and Dominique Johnson added 85 yards on 11 carries. The Razorbacks finished with 361 rushing yards.
Arkansas (9-4), coming off four consecutive seasons of four or fewer wins, got its first nine-win year since going 11-2 in 2011. The Razorbacks also played in their first bowl game since the 2016 Belk Bowl.
Jefferson ran 20 times while completing 14 of 19 passes. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound sophomore was sacked five times and limited to 6 yards rushing on 11 carries during the first half.
Sean Clifford went 14 of 32 or 195 yards for Penn State (7-6). He gained 47 yards on the ground on 11 attempts.
NO. 25 KENTUCKY 20, NO. 17 IOWA 17
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Chris Rodriguez scored on a 6-yard touchdown with 1:48 to play and Kentucky rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Iowa in the Citrus Bowl.
Kentucky (10-3) was forced to rally after blowing a 10-point lead in the second half. Wan’Dale Robinson set up the winning score when he caught a 52-yard pass from Will Levis to get to the 1. Robinson finished with 10 catches for 170 yards, and Levis completed 17 of 28 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown.
DeAndre Square intercepted Spencer Petras’ pass with 48 seconds to seal it.
Iowa finished 10-4.