FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Greg Ward threw three touchdown passes in the final 3:41 of the Armed Forces Bowl, two after Houston recovered onside kicks, and completed a winning 2-point conversion in the Cougars’ 35-34 victory over Pittsburgh on Friday.
Pitt (6-7) took a 31-6 lead on James Conner’s touchdown run with 14 minutes left, but Houston (8-5) had the biggest comeback in an FBS game this season and matched the third-largest ever in a bowl game.
Ward threw an 8-yard TD pass to Deontay Greenberry, the Cougars recovered their first onside kick and Ward teamed with Demarcus Ayers on a 29-yard scoring play on fourth-and-13 with 1:58 left.
Houston’s onside kick didn’t go 10 yards on the rain-slickened field, but the ball was touched by the same Pitt defender who couldn’t handle the first one and Houston running back Kenneth Farrow jumped on it at the Cougars 43. Greenberry started the drive with a 38-yard catch, then on third-and-16 had a 25-yard touchdown catch with 59 seconds left. Interim coach David Gibbs opted for a win-or-lose 2-point conversion try, and Greenberry made a leaping catch in the back corner of the end zone.
Gibbs, the defensive coordinator, was filling in for fired Houston coach Tony Levine. The Cougars’ new coach is Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who still has one more game with the Buckeyes after they beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl to advance to the national championship game Jan. 12.
Ward was 15 of 24 for 274 yards, with 237 of those yards and all three TDs coming in the fourth quarter. He also ran for 92 yards. Farrow ran 22 times for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
NO. 14 UCLA 40, NO. 11 KANSAS STATE 35
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Quarterback Brett Hundley led UCLA to a 31-6 halftime lead and the Bruins held off Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl.
Kansas State (9-4) scored 22 of the first 25 points in the second half, cutting it to 34-28 on quarterback Jake Waters’ 1-yard run with 4:54 left.
Paul Perkins countered for UCLA (10-3) with a 67-yard run with 2:20 to go. Waters threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett with 1:21 left, but UCLA recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Perkins ran for 194 yards on 20 carries.
Lockett had 13 catches for 164 yards for Kansas State.
Waters was 31 of 48 for 338 yards, but was sacked seven times – twice by Butkus Award winner Eric Kendricks – and threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.
Hundley ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries and passed for 136 yards. UCLA coach Jim Mora has said Hundley is forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
TENNESSEE 45, IOWA 28
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Joshua Dobbs accounted for three touchdowns, Jalen Hurd ran for two scores and Tennessee beat Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl for its first postseason victory since 2008.
Tennessee (7-6) scored on its first four possessions, leading 28-0 before Iowa (7-6) managed 70 yards.
Hurd broke tackles on nearly every run, capping Tennessee’s first possession with a 3-yard score and adding a 29-yard touchdown scamper on the next drive. Tennessee made it 21-0 late in the first quarter when Dobbs threw a lateral to running back Marlin Lane in the right flat. Lane, a senior from nearby Daytona Beach, turned and hit Vic Wharton in stride down the sideline.
Hurd, a freshman, finished with 122 yards on 16 carries, the most yards rushing for any Tennessee player in a bowl game since Travis Henry ran for 180 against Kansas State in the 2001 Cotton Bowl.
Dobbs, a sophomore filling in for injured quarterback Justin Worley, completed 16 of 21 passes for 129 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for 76 yards and two scores. His 19-yard scoring pass to Von Pearson in the closing seconds of the first half made it 35-7.
OKLAHOMA STATE 30, WASHINGTON 22
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – Mason Rudolph threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns, Desmond Roland ran for 123 yards and Oklahoma State held off Washington in the Cactus Bowl.
Oklahoma State (7-6) built off its comeback victory over rival Oklahoma to earn a bowl berth, dominating Washington on both sides of the ball to take a 17-point halftime lead.
The Cowboys kept the Huskies’ vaunted front seven from harassing Rudolph most of the night and the freshman was poised in his third career start, shrugging off three turnovers to hit 17 of 26 passes.
Defensive tackle James Castleman even got in on the offensive action with a 1-yard touchdown run and 48-yard reception.
Washington (8-6) stagnated offensively in the first half before finding a rhythm, but couldn’t overcome the early deficit to close out coach Chris Petersen’s first season with a loss.