Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Heavy-hearted Miss. St. QB shines

MEMPHIS — Dak Prescott delivered a performance that would have made his mother proud.

Prescott threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores Tuesday as Mississippi State trounced Rice 44-7 in the most one-sided Liberty Bowl victory in the game's 55-year history. The sophomore quarterback's mother, Peggy, died of cancer less than two months ago.

"It's really just been about Mississippi State University and this football team comforting me, being there for me and just helping me and making what I would say is the hardest thing in my life easier," Prescott said.

Mississippi State (7-6) wrapped up its fourth straight winning season and prevented Rice (10-4) from winning bowl games in back-to-back years for the first time. All of Mississippi State's losses this season came against teams currently in the Top 25: Oklahoma State (No. 13), Auburn (2), LSU (14), South Carolina (8), Texas A&M (20) and Alabama (3).

The Bulldogs became bowl eligible by closing with consecutive overtime victories against Arkansas and Ole Miss.

"They stuck together," coach Dan Mullen said. "… They fought through unbelievable injuries and adversity throughout the year."

Prescott set a Liberty Bowl record by accounting for five touchdowns. He was 17-of-28 for 283 yards passing and also ran for 78 yards on 14 carries.

Mississippi State's Jameon Lewis caught nine passes for 220 yards to break the Liberty Bowl receiving record held by Houston's Vincent Marshall (201 vs. South Carolina in 2006). Lewis also set the school single-game record.

The Bulldogs held Rice to 61 yards rushing, 179 below its season average.

"We knew coming into this game we were going to have to play our best to win it," coach David Bailiff said. "We didn't."

Advocare V100 Bowl: Ka'Deem Carey took a decisive victory in a showdown of two of the nation's top running backs, but Arizona's domination of Boston College was even more impressive.

Carey rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns, B.J. Denker threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and the Wildcats (8-5) rolled to a 42-19 victory over the Eagles (7-6) at Shreveport, La. Carey, a 5-foot-10, 207-pound junior, topped 100 yards rushing for a 16th straight game.

"He's the hardest runner in the country, and I think he's the best running back in the country," coach Rich Rodriguez said before slipping in a pitch to have the back return for his senior year. "And he's still got some things to learn. So another year and he'd be just right."

Boston College's Andre Williams, who came in with 2,102 rushing yards and won the Doak Walker Award over Carey, was held to 75 yards rushing and a touchdown. Boston College (7-6) didn't score a touchdown until Williams' 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

"The biggest key for us defensively was tackling (Williams) before he had the chance to get going," Rodriguez said. "We wanted to tackle him early and be physical."

Arizona amassed 529 total yards and scored 35 straight points.

"I thought Arizona did an unbelievable great job of taking advantage of opportunities to gain momentum," first-year Eagles coach Steve Addazio said. "And then they really put the pedal down."

Sun Bowl: UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley rushed for 161 yards on just 10 carries in shredding Virginia Tech's fourth-ranked defense in a 42-12 victory at El Paso, Texas.

Hundley had 86- and 7-yard touchdown runs, and completed 16 of 29 passes for 226 yards and two scores as the No. 17 Bruins (10-3) routed the Hokies (8-5).

"I guess he can run a little," UCLA coach Jim Mora said.

"It was a special game," Hundley said. "We played well as an offense. We had to make adjustments. When we did, we got things going."

The Bruins outscored the Hokies 28-2 in the fourth quarter.

"I was disappointed that we didn't execute better," said Hokies coach Frank Beamer, who lost starting quarterback Logan Thomas to an injury in the second quarter.

UF recruit flips to FSU: Miami Central running back Dalvin Cook, a former Clemson commitment before switching to the Gators in April, flipped again. Cook, set to play in Thursday's Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field, is headed for Tallahassee to enroll at FSU in the days after the game, ESPN reported. Oral commitments are not binding. National signing day is Feb. 5.


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