Utah, Arizona hold on
LAS VEGAS >> Utah took advantage of a disastrous start by BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl, scoring five first-quarter touchdowns on turnovers — including two interceptions by Tevin Carter — before holding on to beat the Cougars 35-28 on Saturday.
Carter returned one of the picks for a touchdown and another to the 1 as No. 20 Utah romped to a 35-0 first-quarter lead in the first meeting of the two heated rivals outside of the state of Utah. BYU turned the ball over the first five times it had the ball, with freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum throwing three interceptions and fumbling once.
That was all the scoring Utah (10-3) did, and it nearly cost the Utes the game. Mangum would bring BYU (9-4) back, throwing two touchdown passes and rushing for another with 3:23 left to get the Cougars within one score, but BYU never got the ball back.
Bronco Mendenhall's last game as BYU coach was almost over even before some of the fans settled into their seats, thanks to an opportunistic Utah defense that forced Mangum to fumble on the third play of the game. Midway through the first quarter, the Utes were already up 28-0.
After the game, BYU said it hired former Cougars running back Kalani Sitake as head coach. Sitake was Oregon State's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.
Mendenhall, who is leaving BYU (9-4) after 11 seasons to coach at Virginia, failed in his try at win No. 100 at the school. Mendenhall, who wanted to coach the bowl game before leaving, finished his BYU career with a 99-43 record.
ARIZONA 45, NEW MEXICO 37
Anu Solomon threw two touchdowns passes and ran for another score to help Arizona hold off pesky New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl.
Arizona (7-6) and its quick offense overwhelmed the Lobos (7-6) in a game that saw New Mexico surge late after being down as many of 18 points.
Jared Baker ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns, and Cayleb Jones had 182 yards receiving and a touchdown. Linebacker Scooby Wright III, who battled injures all season, came back for the bowl game and had two sacks and 11 solo tackles. After the game, Wright said he will enter the NFL draft.
New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan rushed for three touchdowns and threw a 92-yard touchdown pass to Delane Hart-Johnson before leaving the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. Arizona held star running back Jhurell Pressley to 75 yards rushing and no touchdowns.
LOUISIANA TECH 47, ARKANSAS STATE 28
Kenneth Dixon had 215 yards from scrimmage and scored four times to become the NCAA's career touchdowns leader, and Louisiana Tech beat Arkansas State in the New Orleans Bowl.
Dixon caught six passes for 113 yards and touchdowns of 9 and 59 yards. He carried 21 times for 102 yards, including scoring runs of 8 and 4 yards.
He has 87 touchdowns and 522 points, putting him two TDs and 10 points ahead of Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who plays Monday in the Military Bowl.
Jeff Driskel, a transfer from Florida, closed out his college career by passing for 458 yards and three touchdowns for Louisiana Tech (9-4), which had 687 total yards in finishing a second straight season with a bowl victory.
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for Arkansas State (9-4), the Sun Belt Conference champion. Blaise Taylor had a 98-yard kickoff return TD for Arkansas State in the fourth quarter, but by then it was too late to mount a comeback.
APPALACHIAN STATE 31, OHIO 29
Zach Matics capped a wild Camellia Bowl with a 23-yard field goal on the final play to lift Appalachian State past Ohio.
The Mountaineers (11-2) moved from their own 21 in the final 1:42 after rallying from a 24-7 deficit in the fourth quarter only to lose the lead again. It was their first bowl game since moving up to FBS.
Quarterback Taylor Lamb had a 32-yard scramble then handed off to backup tailback Jalin Moore several times. Moore had a tackle-breaking 15-yarder and a 6-yarder to set up the kick by Matics, who missed two earlier attempts.
A safety and Josiah Yazdani's 21-yard field goal had given Ohio (8-5) the lead in a game where the Bobcats scored two defensive touchdowns after a sluggish start.
MVP Marcus Cox gained 162 yards on 24 carries for Appalachian State, which set a Sun Belt Conference record for wins in just its second season in FBS.
SAN JOSE STATE 27, GEORGIA STATE 16
Kenny Potter scored on a 42-yard run and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Josh Oliver in San Jose State's comeback victory over Georgia State in the inaugural Cure Bowl.
Austin Lopez kicked a pair of 19-yard field goals, and Tyler Ervin returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown for the Spartans (6-7). Ervin had 30 carries for 132 yards to become San Jose State's single-season rushing leader with 1,601. He also set the mark for most all-purpose yards in a season.
San Jose State was one of three teams given bowl berths despite losing records. The Spartans were awarded their postseason spot based on their Academic Progress Rate of 975.
Georgia State's Nick Arbuckle threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns, including a 19-yard scoring pass to Todd Boyd that gave the Panthers (6-7) a 16-13 lead early in the fourth quarter. Arbuckle also threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Harden, and set a Sun Belt Conference record for single-season passing yards with 4,368.