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College football bowls today - Analysis and must-see moments

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Nick Saban reacts to winning a record seventh title (2:02)

Alabama coach Nick Saban talks to Scott Van Pelt about setting an NCAA record with his seventh national title. (2:02)

The college football season came to a close after No. 1 Alabama's 52-24 victory against No. 3 Ohio State in Monday's national championship game in Miami Gardens, Florida.

It might feel like a year ago since the Myrtle Beach Bowl kicked things off on Dec. 21, but here is a recap of every game along with our top moments from bowl season.

Jump to a section: Must-see moments | Bowl game analysis


Must-see moments

Rapinoe is rolling with the Tide

After Najee Harris shouted out U.S. women's national soccer team star Megan Rapinoe in a news conference leading up to the Rose Bowl, she couldn't help but give her best "Roll Tide!"

Get the stopwatch

Following a big win in the Orange Bowl, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher showed that he still has wheels.

Razzle Dazz-le

North Carolina had several opt outs for the Orange Bowl. Luckily, Dazz Newsome wasn't one of them.

Send in the paramedics

Not really, but Brandin Echols tried his best to sell this shove.

Keep an eye on Harris next season

After Cincinnati lost to Georgia, Justin Harris made it clear he's coming back better next season.

Disaster avoided

Max Duffy nearly had his punt blocked, but he evaded the defender to get it off.

Justin Fields strong

Just moments after taking this hit ...

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields came back and threw this touchdown less than a minute later:

He even added another touchdown pass before the end of the half to give the Buckeyes a 35-14 lead.

Miss me with that Gatorade bath

Georgia players gotta be quicker if they want to come after Kirby Smart.

Touching tributes

Georgia running back James Cook did not play in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl because of his his father's death, but RB coach Dell McGee made sure he would be there in spirit by wearing his jersey on the sideline for the game.

And when Zamir White scored a touchdown, he gave a special shoutout to Cook as well.

Another turnover celebration we can get behind

Celebrating an interception with a dunk? Why not, right?

Fightin' Rece Davises back in action

The Vrbo Citrus Bowl might just have the best field.

And there's even a spot reserved just for Rece Davis.

Alas, the field didn't actually have "Fightin' Rece Davises" on it, but hey, maybe next time!

Brawl breaks out at Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Following Mississippi State's win over Tulsa, a melee ensued.

Here's what Mississippi State coach Mike Leach had to say about the postgame fight.

Tempers had already been running high prior to the start of the game when this scuffle broke out.

Running people over like no one else

Maybe it's just safer to get out of the way when it's Corey Taylor II coming at you.

Now this is how you celebrate

Oklahoma beat Florida by a whopping 35 points and celebrated by paying homage to OU great Malcolm Kelly.

Wisconsin got a little too excited about its bowl win

The Duke's Mayo Bowl trophy Wisconsin received lived a short life before it shattered in the Badgers' locker room. How it happened, and the Badgers solved the issue, by taping a mayo jar onto what's left.

What a letdown

Unfortunately for many college football fans, there was in fact no mayo shower for Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst.

The Bachelor is all-in

Matt James, who used to play football for Wake Forest, is locked in on Duke's Mayo Bowl.

'Second chances'

Chris Olave perfectly teed up the Sugar Bowl for Ohio State.

A moment of silence for Jordan

Prior to kickoff at the Alamo Bowl, teams paid tribute to Utah running back Ty Jordan, who died Dec. 26.

A Cheez-It shower

Yep, take a look for yourself. Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy was certainly elated to be covered in this snack after the Cowboys defeated Miami in the Cheez-It Bowl.

Flameout

Liberty gambled by trying to run down the clock before scoring in a 34-34 tie against unbeaten Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl on Saturday night. The Flames didn't expect a fumble at the goal line.

A rockin' touchdown

After getting wide open, how else was Khaleb Hood supposed to celebrate this score?

Who can resist a fry bath?

To celebrate winning the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Nevada players dumped french fries on coach Jay Norvell before giving him a more traditional Gatorade bath.

Beach brawl and ... a golden plunger?

As most of them are, it was an interesting day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Monday. Our beloved Marty & McGee were working the sidelines and enjoying the local flavor, while things got a little chippy on the field. In the end, North Texas was no match for Appalachian State and its, uh, unique sideline prop. Learn more about the plunger here.

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Tulsa, Mississippi State have skirmish before the game

There is some pushing and shoving before Tulsa and Mississippi State face off in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

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Leach reacts to massive brawl after Mississippi State's bowl win

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach says he isn't going to lose his mind over the Bulldogs' postgame brawl and adds that his team hasn't had any problems like this during the season.

Bowl game analysis

CFP National Championship Presented by AT&T (Jan. 11): No. 1 Alabama, 52, No. 3 Ohio State 24

In this unpredictable college football season, Alabama was a constant -- an unyielding, dominant force. The Crimson Tide's victory delivered coach Nick Saban a record seventh national title and the school its sixth in the past 12 years. A trio of stars led the way: Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith had 12 catches for 215 yards and three touchdowns; quarterback Mac Jones went 36 for 45 for a CFP championship-record 464 yards and five touchdowns; and Najee Harris had 158 yards from scrimmage on 29 touches, scoring three times for an SEC record 30 TDs on the season. As Jones said following the dominant display: "I think we're the best team to ever play."

Capital One Orange Bowl (Jan. 2): No. 5 Texas A&M 41, No. 13 North Carolina 27

Those associated with Texas A&M will probably always wonder what would have happened if the Aggies had been selected for the final College Football Playoff spot, but the consolation isn't so bad. The Aggies entered the Orange Bowl ranked No. 5 in the AP poll, and their victory against No. 13 North Carolina will likely lift them to at least No. 4 when the final poll is released. If that happens, it would mark the Aggies' best finish since 1939, when they finished No. 1.

The Aggies' win came as a result of great balance on offense: Kellen Mond threw for 232 yards, while Devon Achane, Isaiah Spiller and Mond combined for 226 yards on the ground. North Carolina took a 20-17 lead into the fourth quarter and didn't fall behind until Achane's 76-yard touchdown run with 3:44 to go. It was a disappointing end for the Tar Heels, but their progress in coach Mack Brown's second season was impressive. -- Kyle Bonagura

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 2): No. 10 Iowa State 34, No. 25 Oregon 17

Iowa State's victory against Oregon cements the season as the best in school history for the Cyclones, who will end with their best-ever finish in the AP poll. Prior to this season, Iowa State had finished ranked on just two occasions (No. 25 in 2000; No. 19 in 1976) but it will likely climb into the top 10 when the final poll is released. After trading touchdowns through most of the first half, the game changed when Iowa State recovered an onside kick late in the second quarter after taking a 21-14 lead.

A quick touchdown followed -- the last one of the game -- and Iowa State kept Oregon off the scoreboard in the second half. All-American running back Breece Hall ran for 136 yards on 34 carries with a pair of touchdowns for Iowa State. Oregon gave extended playing time to quarterback Anthony Brown for the first time all season, but four costly turnovers and zero third-down conversions prevented the Ducks from keeping pace. -- Kyle Bonagura

Outback Bowl (Jan. 2): Ole Miss 26, No. 11 Indiana 20

The Rebels made the most of their first bowl appearance in five years Saturday with an upset of the Hoosiers, whose only previous loss was to Ohio State. Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral capped what was a huge sophomore season with 342 passing yards and two touchdown passes. He threw 29 TDs on the season and is a big reason for such optimism at Ole Miss as Lane Kiffin goes into his second season in Oxford. Prior to the game, Ole Miss announced a new four-year contract for Kiffin, whose Rebels broke the SEC record for total offense in conference games (562.4 yards per game). -- Chris Low

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (Jan. 2): Kentucky 23, No. 23 NC State 21

Kentucky's long season, which included last month's firing of offensive coordinator Eddie Gran and quarterbacks coach Darin Hinshaw, ended on a high note, as the Wildcats ran for 281 yards in their finale. Asim Rose Jr. ran for a career-high 148 yards on 12 carries, and Chris Rodriguez Jr. added 84 yards with two scores. UK coach Mark Stoops hired Los Angeles Rams assistant Liam Coen to retool the offense for next season, and his first order of business will be deciding on a starting quarterback.

Terry Wilson isn't expected to return, so Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood or Beau Allen will probably get the nod. UK ranked last in the SEC and 121st in the FBS in passing with only 124.4 yards per game. The Wildcats dedicated their third straight bowl win to late offensive line coach John Schlarman and to linebacker Chris Oats, who has been battling a serious medical condition since May.

The Wolfpack saw their four-game winning streak end, but they finished with an 8-4 record, a four-game improvement from 2019. NC State played without four defensive starters: safety Tanner Ingle (suspension), tackle Alim McNeill (opted out) and linebackers Payton Wilson (undisclosed injury) and Drake Thomas (undisclosed injury). Those absences undoubtedly contributed to NC State's inability to slow down UK's running game. -- Mark Schlabach

Allstate Sugar Bowl (Jan. 1): No. 3 Ohio State 49, No. 2 Clemson 28

After two controversial calls in last season's semifinal against Clemson, the Ohio State Buckeyes didn't want to leave it to chance this season. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields withstood a vicious first half hit and recovered to throw for 385 yards and six touchdowns. The Buckeyes outscored the Tigers 21-0 to take a commanding 35-14 lead into halftime. Trey Sermon's performance from the backfield was key to Ohio State maintaining a comfortable lead in the second half. He finished the game with 193 yards and a touchdown. The Buckeyes will now face Alabama for the first time since the semifinal following the 2014 season, a game they won 42-35 on their way to a national championship.

The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Capital One (Jan. 1): No. 1 Alabama 31, No. 4 Notre Dame 14

The good news for Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish held Alabama below 35 points for the first time in 25 games. The bad news: Alabama held Kyren Williams to just 64 yards rushing, took away the Notre Dame receivers, and forced the Irish to move the ball with short passes to tight ends and running backs. The Crimson Tide allowed just 4.7 yards per play on 80 offensive plays, part of the reason the Tide didn't get as many scoring opportunities. When they did, however, they were unstoppable. Mac Jones (25-of-30, 297 yards, 4 TDs, tying an Alabama bowl record) and DeVonta Smith (7 catches, 130 yards, 3 TDs, tying a Rose Bowl record) looked like worthy Heisman Trophy candidates, with Smith making a strong case to claim the award. Najee Harris added 125 yards on just 15 carries, including a highlight-reel hurdle. -- Dave Wilson

Vrbo Citrus Bowl (Jan. 1): No. 14 Northwestern 35, Auburn 19

After what had been a disappointing final few weeks of the regular season for Northwestern, the Wildcats capped things Friday with an impressive postseason performance against Auburn. Northwestern was the more physical team in the line of scrimmage and was in control the whole way after losing two of its last three games, to Ohio State and Michigan State, to close the regular season. Northwestern (7-2) held Auburn to 61 rushing yards. The Tigers were playing without leading rusher Tank Bigsby. The Wildcats' offensive line also gave quarterback Peyton Ramsey plenty of time to throw the ball, and he finished with 291 passing yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Auburn (6-5) now moves on to the Bryan Harsin era. Harsin, who attended the game, takes over for Gus Malzahn, who was fired on Dec. 13. -- Chris Low

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (Jan. 1): No. 9 Georgia 24, No. 8 Cincinnati 21

Previously unbeaten Cincinnati (9-1) was a third-down conversion away from the kind of respect the Bearcats (and the American Athletic Conference) so dearly crave, but Georgia's Jack Podlesny stole the show with a winning 53-yard field goal in the final seconds. The Bearcats, miffed that they didn't receive any consideration for the College Football Playoff, had a third-and-2 from their own 40 with just under two minutes to play and the Dawgs left with no timeouts.

Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder took a shot down the field that Georgia's Tyrique Stevenson broke up with a clutch hustle play. JT Daniels then engineered a quick drive to get Georgia in position for Podlesny's game winner. The Dawgs (8-2) trailed 21-10 early in the third quarter, but rallied to close the season with their fourth consecutive victory despite playing without several key starters. -- Chris Low

AutoZone Liberty Bowl (Dec. 31): West Virginia 24, Army 21

The Black Knights were a deserving substitute in the game after Tennessee was forced to drop out with COVID-19 issues, and were effective early. A 13-play, 75-yard drive put them up 21-10 midway through the third quarter and they bottled up WVU's Leddie Brown, who had just 56 yards on 20 carries. But the Mountaineers' offense finally found some footing after a change at quarterback from Jarret Doege to Austin Kendall, who threw touchdown passes to Mike O' Laughlin and T.J. Simmons.

The West Virginia defense clamped down, allowing 239 total yards and just 3.1 yards per rush. Army missed a 39-yard field goal with 1:50 left. Josh Chandler-Semedo, who had 13 tackles and a forced fumble, intercepted a desperation pass by Army late, and the Mountaineers were able to hold on for their first win outside of Morgantown this season. They finish 6-4 in Neal Brown's second season after going 5-7 last year. -- Dave Wilson

Offerpad Arizona Bowl (Dec. 31): Ball State 34, No. 22 San Jose State 13

Ball State's 34-13 win against San Jose State in the Arizona Bowl was historic on a number of levels. First of all, it was the Cardinals' first bowl victory in program history. Not only that, in the process they became the second team to knock off undefeated teams in both a conference title game and a bowl game, joining 2009 Alabama.

Prior to its win against Buffalo in the MAC title game, Ball State had just three wins against AP Top 25 teams in history, dating back 84 seasons. Its win against the Spartans was its second such win in two games. The loss is deflating for San Jose State, which came into the game at No. 19 in the AP poll, its highest-ever ranking. The Spartans were without a number of players, including All-American defensive lineman Cade Hall, and both coordinators for various reasons. -- Kyle Bonagura

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 31): Mississippi State 28, No. 24 Tulsa 26

Mississippi State hung on to beat Tulsa in the Armed Force Bowl, but the game will be remembered for a massive brawl that broke out in the moments after it ended. It wasn't immediately clear what started it, but several members from both teams were involved as punching and kicking was captured on the TV broadcast.

In most years, Mississippi State's dreadful regular season would have left the Bulldogs well short of a bowl game. But with bowl eligibility rules not in effect, the Bulldogs took advantage of the opportunity to register their fourth win of the season. Perhaps more strange than seeing a 3-7 team play in a bowl game was how balanced Mike Leach's offense was between passes and runs: MSU QB Will Rogers attempted just two more passes (30) than the Bulldogs attempted runs. The victory stands as Mississippi State's first bowl win against a ranked team since the 1940 season and it will head into the offseason having won two consecutive games. -- Kyle Bonagura

Cotton Bowl Classic (Dec. 30): No. 6 Oklahoma 55, No. 7 Florida 20

Florida might have been undermanned because of opt-outs and other circumstances, but regardless, this was a whipping by Oklahoma. The Sooners started fast on both sides of the ball, with the defense picking off Gators quarterback Kyle Trask three times in the first quarter and Spencer Rattler and Rhamondre Stevenson leading a multifaceted offensive attack. The Sooners finished with a whopping 684 yards, including 435 rushing. And Rattler, the redshirt freshman QB, has grown exponentially since his early-season showings.

It's a disappointing way for the Gators to finish what was otherwise a good season, but for the Sooners, it was a showing of not just how good they were down the stretch, but how good they could be in 2021. Look for this Oklahoma team to make some serious noise next season. -- Sam Khan Jr.

Duke's Mayo Bowl (Dec. 30): Wisconsin 42, Wake Forest 28

Wisconsin's rocky 2020 season ends on a high note with a victory in the Duke's Mayo Bowl, but plenty of questions remain for 2021. The offense turned in another shaky performance, with Graham Mertz throwing his first touchdown in 18 quarters in the second half against Wake Forest. While the final score was lopsided, the bulk of the Badgers' scoring came off short fields created by takeaways and special-teams success. But does any of that really matter? Wisconsin knew 2020 would be a challenging season as Mertz got his feet wet at QB and the offense searched for a weapon at tailback.

The bowl win doesn't necessarily provide any true answers to those concerns, but Devin Chandler flashed his speed and Chimere Dike had a couple impressive moments. It's clear there's a foundation to build toward the future on. More important, that future figures to be one with fewer delays, interruptions and other virus-related struggles that upended Wisconsin's season this time around.

On the other side, Wake Forest had just three turnovers all season, but quarterback Sam Hartman threw four picks that led to 21 Wisconsin points, all in the second half Wednesday. It was beyond frustrating for a Demon Deacons team that prided itself on avoiding costly mistakes throughout the regular season, and the interceptions upended an otherwise strong game in which Wake Forest outgained Wisconsin by 252 yards. It's a sour end to a season in which Wake largely outperformed expectations, but the Deacons return a number of key veterans for 2021. -- David M. Hale

Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29): No. 20 Texas 55, Colorado 23

Texas started the game with a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and coasted to victory against Colorado. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger played just the first half after injuring his throwing shoulder, completing 10 of his 16 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown. He was replaced by Casey Thompson, who showed out by going 8-for-10 passing with 170 yards and four touchdowns. But Texas' biggest star of the game was Bijan Robinson who ran for 183 yards on just 10 carries and a touchdown.

The biggest storyline for Colorado coming out of this game was coach Karl Dorrell benching Sam Noyer (two interceptions) for Brendon Lewis, who gave Colorado a spark but couldn't lead a comeback. It was a tough ending for Colorado, which impressed during a shortened season and entered the game with a 4-1 record. -- Harry Lyles Jr.

Cheez-It Bowl (Dec. 29): No. 21 Oklahoma State 37, No. 18 Miami 34

Oklahoma State saw a three-touchdown lead nearly whittled away but held on for an eventful and narrow win over the Hurricanes. Sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders threw for 305 yards and four scores -- and, most important, zero interceptions -- to lift the Cowboys. He did so with a running game that was largely limited; Oklahoma State averaged only 2.6 yards per rush, and Sanders was the leading rusher. The Cowboys were without running back Chuba Hubbard -- who opted out and is now preparing for the NFL draft -- and wide receiver Tylan Wallace was available for only a half, as he did not play in the final two quarters.

For Miami, it was a tough loss beyond just the scoreboard. Starting QB D'Eriq King -- who recently announced plans to return to the Hurricanes in 2021 -- went down with a right leg injury in the first half. He had to be helped off the field, then returned in the third quarter on crutches and with his leg in a cast. There's no word on the extent of the injury, but for a player who has been through so much, it was tough to see. N'Kosi Perry, who came on in relief of King, played well, throwing for 228 yards and two touchdowns to rally the Canes back into the game. -- Sam Khan Jr.

Cure Bowl (Dec. 26): Liberty 37, No. 12 Coastal Carolina 34 (OT)

The wait was worth it, especially for Liberty, which capped the most successful season in school history thanks to Elijah James' blocked field goal attempt in overtime in one of the more bizarre endings you're ever going to see. The two teams were scheduled to play back on Dec. 5 in a highly anticipated matchup, but COVID-19 issues forced Liberty to pause all football-related activities, paving the way for BYU to step in and face Coastal Carolina in one of the games of the year. But this one might have been even better. Liberty, which finished 10-1 in Hugh Freeze's second season as coach, was on the brink of winning in the final seconds of regulation.

But Joshua Mack fumbled at the 1-yard line when it looked like the Flames were trying not to score a touchdown and instead kick a field goal to leave Coastal Carolina with as little time as possible. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Chanticleers, who finished 11-1 and kept fighting back from double-digit deficits all game. They were trying to become the first Sun Belt Conference team to finish a season unbeaten. In the end, Liberty quarterback Malik Willis was too much for the Chants thanks to his career-high four rushing touchdowns and one key play after another.

The Flames were playing their first game since a 45-0 win over UMass on Nov. 27 and were a blocked field goal in a 15-14 loss to NC State away from finishing unbeaten in just their second full season at the FBS level. -- Chris Low

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dec. 26): No. 19 Louisiana 31, UTSA 24

Louisiana jumped out to a 17-point lead before UTSA chipped away, pulling even early in the fourth quarter. At that point, the Ragin' Cajuns' offense imposed its will with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that ate up 6:09 before a Trey Ragas touchdown run gave Louisiana the decisive advantage. The Roadrunners fought valiantly given the situation: They were without their coach, Jeff Traylor, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week. UTSA was also without seven key players. Ultimately, the Ragin' Cajuns' run game -- Ragas and Elijah Mitchell combined for 225 yards -- was the difference.

The Ragin' Cajuns completed a 10-win season for just the second time in school history and for the second year in a row, finishing an impressive 10-1. Coach Billy Napier has Louisiana an impressive 20-4 over the past two seasons. -- Sam Khan Jr.

LendingTree Bowl (Dec. 26): Georgia State 39, Western Kentucky 21

Except for an early scoring drive by Western Kentucky that gave the Hilltoppers a brief lead, Georgia State controlled this one throughout. QB Cornelious Brown IV connected with seven different receivers and threw three touchdown passes, running back Destin Coates ran for 117 yards and the Panthers' defense made key plays, becoming the first team this season to intercept Western Keuntucky QB Tyrrell Pigrome, who came into the game with the most passes thrown this season without a pick. The Panthers picked Pigrome off twice.

The Panthers close the season out with a three-game winning streak, the first time in team history they've finished the year in such a manner. This is the third bowl for coach Shawn Elliott in four seasons and his second bowl victory. It's also the Panthers' second bowl win over WKU, after beating the Hilltoppers in the 2017 Cure Bowl. -- Sam Khan Jr.

Camellia Bowl (Dec. 25): Buffalo 17, Marshall 10

Marshall and Buffalo delivered an edge-of-your-seat finish to the Camellia Bowl, as the Bulls won 17-10 despite missing leading rusher Jaret Patterson. Kevin Marks Jr. scored on a 2-yard run with 1:09 left to give Buffalo its second straight bowl win. Marshall quarterback Grant Wells got the Thundering Herd down to inside the 20 with a chance to tie the score, but the Buffalo defense registered a fourth-down sack to seal it.

The Bulls struggled to get their run game going without Patterson, who did not play after sustaining a knee injury in the MAC championship game the previous week. Buffalo jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead, but the Bulls could not get anything going consistently on offense against the second-best rush defense in the nation until their final drive of the game. Marshall struggled itself on offense, as Wells threw for only 114 total yards. It was a disappointing end to the season for Marshall, which closed with three straight losses after a 7-0 start and a ranking that, at one point, had it as high as No. 15. -- Andrea Adelson

New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 24): Hawai'i 28, Houston 14

Hawai'i jumped on Houston from the start, turning two early turnovers into touchdowns that led the Rainbow Warriors to victory. Though the Cougars tried to mount a second-half comeback, closing the gap to 21-14 late in the third quarter, Hawai'i's Calvin Turner returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards for a score to put the game out of reach. Turner ended the game with 252 total yards and two touchdowns. First-year Hawai'i coach Todd Graham won his 100th career game, as the Rainbow Warriors posted their third straight season with a winning record.

As for Houston, this was as disjointed a year as any school had during the pandemic, with eight games postponed, canceled or rescheduled. But this was not a good performance, and the Cougars have gone 7-13 in Dana Holgorsen's first two years as coach. Next season figures to be a pressure-filled one as he tries to get things headed in the right direction. -- Andrea Adelson

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (Dec. 23): Georgia Southern 38, Louisiana Tech 3

The Eagles came into the New Orleans Bowl on a tough stretch for a program that is typically one of the more competitive teams in the Sun Belt. After losing three of its past four, Georgia Southern had an easy time with Louisiana Tech. Quarterback Shai Werts led the way with 71 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, along with 126 yards passing and a touchdown.

Georgia Southern brings out a sleek blue electric guitar for touchdowns, and it got plenty of use against the Bulldogs. Defensively, the Eagles' turnover chain got plenty of exposure as they scored four interceptions. -- Harry Lyles Jr.

Montgomery Bowl (Dec. 23): Memphis 25, Florida Atlantic 10

Memphis jumped out to an 18-0 lead, and it appeared for a moment that Florida Atlantic might make it a game with a field goal to make it 18-10 midway through the third quarter. But the Tigers held on to win the Montgomery Bowl, as the Owls were unable to get anything going on the ground. In total, Florida Atlantic ran the ball 39 times for just 139 yards, a 3.6 yards per carry average.

Memphis quarterback Brady White got the first bowl win of his career in a great performance, completing 22 of his 34 passes with three touchdowns and just one interception. He finished his college career in the victory formation, and you can't do much better than that. -- Harry Lyles Jr.

RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl (Dec. 22): BYU 49, UCF 23

Oh, what could have been. When BYU agreed to a last-minute game at Coastal Carolina earlier in the season, it did so knowing a loss would take away the team's nearly-locked-up spot in a New Year's Six bowl. And that's what happened. Instead, BYU settled for an appearance in the Roofclaim.com Boca Raton Bowl against UCF, where the Cougars added another lopsided win to a season already full of them.

Quarterback Zach Wilson turned in another brilliant performance that showed why he generated Heisman Trophy buzz throughout the season. He completed 26 of 34 passes for 425 yards with three touchdowns, and running back Tyler Allgeier rushed for 173 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

BYU went up 21-0 in the first quarter and 35-7 in the second to put the game away early. -- Kyle Bonagura

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 22): Nevada 38, Tulane 27

After losing in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last year to Ohio, Nevada bounced back with an impressive season that saw the Wolf Pack finish with the Mountain West's second-best winning percentage. Despite having a better record than Boise State, Nevada didn't advance to the Mountain West championship as a result of the conference's tiebreaker rules, setting up a return trip to the Potato Bowl. This time, Nevada got the job done, leading from start to finish in a 38-27 win.

Nevada built a 26-7 lead by early in the second quarter and weathered a brief Tulane comeback as quarterback Carson Strong finished 22-of-28 for 271 yards with five touchdown passes. Both Devonte Lee (105 yards) and Toa Taua (102) rushed for over 100 yards.

For Tulane, which won four of its final five games during the regular season, the bowl appearance was its third straight -- the first time it has done that in school history -- but the first that ended with a loss. -- Kyle Bonagura

Myrtle Beach Bowl (Dec. 21): Appalachian State 56, North Texas 28

Before the season, Appalachian State had its sights set on a New Year's Six bowl. Fresh off a 13-1 campaign that culminated with a Sun Belt title, the Mountaineers certainly looked the part. But in the year of COVID-19, few things went as expected, and App State lost its second game of the season, against Marshall, then spent the bulk of October dealing with virus concerns.

But if the 2020 season never quite met expectations, the finale at least offered a reminder of how talented this team really was. The Mountaineers thrashed North Texas in the Myrtle Beach Bowl behind 502 yards on the ground, led by Camerun Peoples' 319 yards and five touchdowns.

That the Mean Green struggled wasn't a shock. A handful of starters opted out of the bowl game. But the extent to which Peoples and the Mountaineers' ground game ran roughshod over the UNT defense was still a sight to behold. App State now can turn its attention to 2021, with Shawn Clark comfortable in the coach's office and Peoples set for a return. -- David M. Hale