Explosive Ducks zap Longhorns
By PAUL J. WEBER
AP Sports Writer
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.
Patterson said coaches interested in the job have come forward but wouldn’t discuss potential candidates.
Whoever Texas hires shouldn’t expect patience from a fanbase that grew accustomed to winning under Brown, and then became restless as the Longhorns slid from perennial BCS contention. Brown arrived in 1998 and went 128-27 by the end of 2009, when the Longhorns lost to Alabama in its second BCS title game in five years.
He goes out, however, 30-21 in his final four seasons.
Texas could do a lot worse than look to Oregon for how to pull off a coaching transition.
Although first-year coach Mark Helfrich couldn’t get the Ducks to a BCS bowl as Chip Kelly did in each of his four seasons, Oregon still finished with a fourth consecutive year of 11 or more victories. This was the Ducks’ third consecutive bowl win.
Playing before New Year’s Day was a disappointing consolation for the Ducks after entering November unbeaten and ranked No. 2. Losing to Stanford dashed their national title hopes, but they’ll be favorites to contend again in 2014 with Mariota back.
MUSIC CITY BOWL
OLE MISS 25
GEORGIA TECH 17
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bo Wallace wanted redemption for his poor play in the Egg Bowl. The Mississippi quarterback made sure the Rebels finished the season as winners.
Wallace ran for two touchdowns and threw for another score, and Ole Miss beat Georgia Tech 25-17 Monday in the Music City Bowl for the Rebels’ second straight bowl victory under coach Hugh Freeze.
The redshirt junior quarterback and Tennessee native made up for his three turnovers in the Egg Bowl overtime loss by throwing for 256 yards and running for 86 more, giving him the school record for total yards in a season and most completions in a season, topping Eli Manning for both.
“I knew I needed to have a good game,” said Wallace, also chosen the bowl’s MVP. “At the same time, I thought all day sometimes I try to make too many plays. I think all day I was thinking, ‘Don’t try to make too many plays. Just make the plays that are there.’ That’s what I did today.”
Freeze said he knew from watching Wallace prepare for this game that how the Rebels lost to rival Mississippi State last month didn’t sit well with the quarterback.
Ole Miss (8-5) now 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 longest bowl winning streak.
Georgia Tech (7-6) has lost eight of nine bowls. The Yellow Jackets scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as they tried to rally before a safety with 4:22 left ended their last chance.
“We didn’t play well enough in any facet to win the game,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said.
“We were fortunate that we had a chance at the end to come back and win.”
Yellow Jackets lineman Adam Gotsis, who also blocked an extra point, knocked down a 32-yard field goal attempt by Andrew Ritter giving Georgia Tech the ball at their own 20 with 4:36 left trailing 23-17.
But Georgia Tech lost 5 yards on the first play, then Vad Lee flipped the ball to Corey Dennis on a reverse with the receiver apparently looking to throw when he fumbled under pressure. Right tackle Ray Beno covered up the ball in the end zone for the safety. Freeze said he thought it might have been a touchdown but was glad to get some points. Johnson wishes his player had just tried to run for what he could get.
“It’s disappointing,” Johnson said.
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.
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