College football: Florida State beats Southern Miss 42-13 in Independence

  • Florida State quarterback James Blackman (1) passes under pressure from Southern Mississippi linebacker Darian Yancey (22) and defensive lineman Xavier Thigpen (32) in the first half of the Independence Bowl NCAA college football game in Shreveport, La., Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

SHREVEPORT, La. — Freshman James Blackman was throwing the touchdown passes. Another freshman, Cam Akers, was gaining big chunks of yards on the ground.

Florida State might still be a little melancholy after a season that started with national championship hopes ended on Wednesday with an Independence Bowl win. But the performances from young players like Blackman and Akers in the 42-13 victory over Southern Mississippi are a solid hint that the Seminoles could be a powerhouse again in a hurry.

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Blackman threw for 233 yards and an Independence Bowl-record four touchdowns, including three to junior receiver Auden Tate. Akers led the Seminoles with 94 yards rushing and also caught a 14-yard touchdown pass.

Blackman started the season’s final 12 games after sophomore starting quarterback Deondre Francois suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener. He’s had some ups and downs since the promotion, but saved the best for last against Southern Miss.

“It’s pretty impressive, he had to grow up really fast,” Florida State interim coach Odell Haggins. “He had to take the diapers off and go to work.”

Florida State (7-6) ended the season on a four-game winning streak and avoided its first losing season since 1976. Now new coach Willie Taggart takes over and appears to have plenty of talent on the roster to work with going forward.

Southern Miss took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter after a 63-yard touchdown drive that was aided by two 15-yard Florida State penalties, one for unsportsmanlike conduct and the other for roughing the kicker.

But the Golden Eagles couldn’t keep the momentum, mainly because of their own mistakes, including four defensive offside penalties on Florida State’s opening drive.

“If you can get a little momentum going, you’ve got a chance to get this thing into the third quarter or the fourth quarter and we’ll see what happens,” Southern Miss coach Jay Hopson said. “But give (Florida State) credit, they deserved to win. They made plays, but I thought we fought hard. Just a tough loss today.”

Blackman matched an Independence Bowl record with three touchdown passes in the first half to help Florida State take a 23-6 lead.

The Seminoles pushed the advantage to 33-6 late in the third quarter before Southern Miss finally responded with a touchdown. By then, the game was essentially out of reach.

Southern Miss (8-5) was led by Ito Smith, who ran for 92 yards. Kwadra Griggs completed 13 of 25 passes for just 86 yards and a touchdown.

Texas Bowl

Texas 33, Missouri 16

HOUSTON — Freshman running back Daniel Young had 64 yards receiving with a touchdown and added 48 yards on the ground to help Texas beat Missouri 33-16 in the Texas Bowl on Wednesday night.

The Longhorns (7-6), in a bowl for the first time since 2014, bounced back from a loss to Texas Tech in their regular-season finale to finish with their first winning record since going 8-5 in Mack Brown’s final season in 2013.

Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger split time at quarterback for Texas, and both players threw a touchdown pass. The defense helped out, too, with Anthony Wheeler scoring a TD on a fumble return in the first half and Davante Davis grabbing an interception with about three minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Armanti Foreman dashed 18 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing drive to extend the lead to 33-16 and put the game out of reach.

Drew Lock passed for 269 yards and a touchdown, but also threw an interception and lost a fumble in the loss, which snapped a six-game winning streak for the Tigers. Lock led the nation during the regular season with a Southeastern Conference-record 43 touchdown passes and he had thrown three or more in eight straight games.

Pinstripe Bowl

Iowa 27, Boston College 20

NEW YORK — Drake Kulick fought for a 1-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter on his only carry of the game and Iowa beat Boston College 27-20 in the frigid Pinstripe Bowl on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium to snap a five-game bowl losing streak.

The Hawkeyes (8-5) had been the only team in the nation to lose a bowl game in each of the last four seasons. Iowa had last won a bowl game in 2010 and started the losing streak the next season.

The Hawkeyes used their first sack of the game late in the fourth to spark the winning drive. Iowa defensive end Anthony Nelson hit Darius Wade, and Parker Hesse recovered a fumble at the BC 45.

Nate Stanley’s pass to Nate Wieting on a rollout was ruled a touchdown until a review showed the tight end was down at the 1. No worries. Kulick got the call over 1,000-yard rusher Akrum Wadley and barged through for the go-ahead score. The smattering of Iowa fans went wild and Josh Jackson gave them reason to stay on their feet when he sealed the win with an interception.

Boston College (7-6) had nothing on its final drive and that ended an otherwise miserable day at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees’ postseason games in October seemed downright balmy compared to the kickoff temperature of 23 degrees and a wind chill that made it feel like 12 degrees.

Foster Farms Bowl

Purdue 38, Arizona 35

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Elijah Sindelar threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Mahoungou with 1:44 remaining and Purdue capped coach Jeff Brohm’s first season in dramatic style with a 38-35 victory over Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl on Wednesday night.

The Boilermakers (7-6) had squandered a 17-point halftime lead when Khalil Tate threw his fifth TD pass with 3:21 remaining to give the Wildcats (7-6) the lead.

But Sindelar responded with a 75-yard drive that ended with the deep throw into the end zone to Mahoungou, giving the Boilermakers their first winning record since 2011 and first bowl win over a major conference team since beating Washington in the 2002 Sun Bowl.

Sindelar threw for 396 yards and four touchdowns, with Mahoungou (118 yards) and Gregory Phillips (149) each topping the 100-yard mark and catching two TD passes.

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Tate was just as good, showing he can win with his arm as well as he can with his legs that carried him to 1,353 yards rushing in the regular season. Tate threw for 302 yards and five touchdowns but his late interception to Jacob Thieneman ended the comeback attempt.

Brohm pulled out all the stops, going for it three times on fourth down, calling a couple of flea-flickers and using an innovative trick play to set up a field goal at the end of the first half that made it 31-14. The Boilermakers took over at their 32 with 56 seconds left after Tate lost a fumble. Purdue appeared to be taking a knee on the paly to run out the clock, but running back D.J. Knox was crouching hidden behind a guard. Sindelar then handed the ball to Knox, who waited an instant and then ran around left end for a 30-yard gain that helped set up the field goal.