Sunday, December 17, 2017
Sports

Freshman leads Penn St. to satisfying upset

MADISON, Wis. — A bright future for Penn State emerged Saturday. And Christian Hackenberg figures to only improve.

The freshman threw for 339 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-24 upset of No. 14 Wisconsin.

"He really stepped up in a big way," senior guard John Urschel said. "Words can't describe how thankful I am to that guy."

For a program that dressed only about 60 scholarship players and is banned from bowl games for the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal, an up-and-down season — from the 20-point loss at Indiana to the overtime win over Michigan — ended on a high note.

And the win, clinched by safety Ryan Keiser's interception of a Hail Mary in the end zone, came with Penn State a 24-point underdog, which coach Bill O'Brien made sure his players knew about.

"I'm not allowed to talk about that even though it seems like a lot of you guys thought it was the right line," O'Brien told reporters. "You're wrong."

Meanwhile, the loss ended the Badgers' shot at a BCS game.

"We'll move forward. Such is life," coach Gary Andersen said. "The way we played and the way I coached them, obviously, we don't deserve to have that opportunity."

No. 8 Stanford 27, No. 25 Notre Dame 20: Wayne Lyons' two fourth-quarter interceptions sealed it for the host Cardinal. The first came at the Stanford 41. After a Stanford three-and-out, Lyons leaped to intercept Tommy Rees at the Stanford 30 with 2:24 left. Rees' two touchdown passes passed Jimmy Clausen for second in school history. His 61 trail Brady Quinn by 34. Tyler Gaffney ran for 189 yards and a touchdown for Stanford.

No. 9 Baylor 41, TCU 38: Bryce Petty threw for two touchdowns and ran for one for the visiting Bears, who rebounded a week after suffering their first loss. Baylor scored the final 14 points of the first half and first seven of the second while gaining 3 yards. After a fumble recovery at the TCU 1, Petty's run put Baylor up 20-17. The Bears went three-and-out on their next possession, gaining 2 yards, then returned interceptions for touchdowns on the Horned Frogs' next two series. "The defense is the MVP of this team," Petty said; "the way they turned it around, the way they kept us in games."

No. 11 Mich. St. 14, Minn. 3: Jeremy Langford ran for 134 yards and a touchdown as the host Spartans capped their third perfect Big Ten season. The others, 1965 and 1966, came in seven-game seasons. Next is Ohio State in the Big Ten title game and a chance to go to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1988. "Everybody sets goals for themselves," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "And that's a goal that we've not yet accomplished." Langford's 15-yard scoring run capped Michigan's first possession of the first half. And Connor Cook's 12-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price capped its first possession of the second half.

No. 22 UCLA 35, No. 23 USC 14: Brett Hundley passed for 208 yards and ran for 80 and two touchdowns to lift the Bruins to their first win at the Coliseum since 1997. It was their second straight win against their crosstown rival but just their third over the past 15 years. The Trojans had won five straight under interim coach Ed Orgeron.

Around the nation: Pelini safe, AD says

Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst gave his support to coach Bo Pelini.

"We very much look forward to our upcoming bowl game and Coach Pelini continuing to lead our program in the future," the first-year AD said in a statement released by the school.

Pelini is 57-24 over six seasons and 8-4 in 2013. But Nebraska hasn't won a league title since 1999. After Friday's 38-17 home loss to Iowa, Pelini said, "If they want to fire me, go ahead."

Hawaii: Running back Willis Wilson was found dead at a beach. A Honolulu Fire Department report said he was among three men and two women who were wading in shallow water at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday. No other details were disclosed.

N'western 37, Illinois 34: Trevor Siemian threw for 414 yards and four touchdowns as the visiting Wildcats ended a seven-game skid.

Indiana 56, Purdue 36: Tre Roberson threw a career-high six touchdown passes for the host Hoosiers.

Colo. St. 58, Air Force 13: Kapri Bibbs ran for three touchdowns for the host Rams. His 28 lead Division I-A.

Southern 40, Grambling 17: Dray Joseph threw three touchdown passes to Lee Dross for the Jaguars in New Orleans. Two, from 17 and 30 yards, helped make it 27-3 at halftime.

Skid halted: Nick Mullens threw for five touchdowns and ran for one as visiting Southern Miss beat UAB 62-27. The Eagles had lost 23 in a row, the longest active streak in Division I-A.

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