Saturday's bowls roundup: Utah routs Colorado State
Las Vegas — Right from the start, quarterback Travis Wilson and No. 23 Utah had Colorado State on the run in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Wilson rushed for a season-best 91 yards, scored three touchdowns and passed for another in a 45-10 rout Saturday.
"I'm not going to say it's his absolute strong suit, but he's a capable runner," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "He's deceptive."
So were the Utes, who have won 11 of their last 12 bowl games.
Utah (9-4) scored on its first three possessions and used big plays that measured 36, 49 and 60 yards. They also employed what Whittingham called some "trickeration."
On their first offensive snap, the Utes confused Colorado State when Wilson flipped the ball to running back Devontae Booker, who threw it back to Wilson, who then heaved it down field to Kaelin Clay for 36 yards to the Colorado State 17.
Two plays later, Wilson scored from 8 yards out.
"They hit us with an explosive play right off the bat," Colorado State interim coach Doug Baldwin said.
"Normally we start fast, but they started fast. Then we went three-and-out and they hit us again with a long run. Their explosiveness early hurt us," he said.
Wilson rushed for a season-high 91 yards on 11 carries and completed 17 of 26 passes for 158 yards.
"I saw that the running was working for me and I definitely took advantage of it," he said. "A lot of the runs I was able to read. The O-line did a great job of blocking, and having Booker running well too definitely set me up for some good runs."
Utah finished with 548 total yards, including 359 on the ground. Booker ran for 162 yards and a TD and Troy McCormick ran for 86.
Colorado State (10-3) played a ranked team for the first time this season — it has lost its last 16 games against teams in the Top 25.
Baldwin, who started the season as the offensive coordinator, ran the team after coach Jim McElwain was hired by Florida.
Garrett Grayson completed 21 of 35 passes for 242 yards, but he was unable to avoid Utah's rush in the second half when the Rams were forced to throw the ball.
Utah, which led the nation with 52 sacks, dropped Grayson twice in the game, one each by Jason Fanaika and Nate Orchard.
Grayson threw an interception and lost a fumble in the fourth quarter, and Utah turned both into touchdowns.
Wilson ran for a 12-yard touchdown and backup running back Bubba Poole scored on a 10-yard run.
Bowling Green 33, South Alabama 28: Roger Lewis caught a 78-yard touchdown pass from James Knapke with 1:04 remaining to lift Bowling Green in the inaugural Camellia Bowl at Montgomery, Ala..
The Falcons (8-6) responded one play after the Jaguars (6-7) took their first lead. Lewis, Bowling Green's freshman star, got several yards beyond Roman Buchanan downfield, and Buchanan came up clutching his right hamstring.
The Jaguars, playing in their first bowl game after starting the program in 2009, moved 73 yards in just under 3 minutes to momentarily move ahead. Brandon Bridge hit Danny Woodson Jr. for a 44-yard strike. Terrance Timmons had a 3-yard touchdown run after converting two third-down plays with runs.
Bowling Green couldn't convert the 2-point try but Jude Adjei-Barima picked off Bridge's pass on South Alabama's next play. The Jaguars forced a punt with 31 seconds left, but were called for roughing the kicker to allow Bowling Green to run out the clock.
Utah State 21, UTEP 6: Nick Vigil ran for a touchdown and combined with his brother to make 16 tackles in the New Mexico Bowl at Albuquerque. Utah State (10-4) won a bowl game for the third straight year.
UTEP (7-6) is 0-6 in postseason play since winning the 1967 Sun Bowl.
The Aggies have one of the top-ranked defenses in the nation. Linebackers Nick and Zach Vigil helped prevent the Miners from putting together consistent drives, with Zach making nine stops.
Kent Myers threw for 68 yards and rushed for 70 and a touchdown for Utah State. Nick Vigil scored on a 3-yard run for a 14-3 lead early in the third quarter.
UTEP's Aaron Jones ran for 88 yards, but was held to 3.5 yards per carry because of the strong Aggies line.
Louisiana-Lafayette 16, Nevada 3: Terrance Broadway passed for 227 yards and a touchdown, and Hunter Stover kicked three field goals in the New Orleans Bowl. Stover kicked a career-long 46-yard field goal in the first half and added kicks of 35 and 30 yards for the Ragin' Cajuns (9-4), who completed their fourth consecutive nine-victory season with their fourth straight New Orleans Bowl win.
Cody Fajardo passed for 124 yards and rushed for 49 yards for Nevada (7-6), marking the second time he'd passed for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 in a season.
But the Wolf Pack, who had 200 or more yards rushing in each of their previous five games, gained only 89 yards on the ground against ULL and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since being shut out at Notre Dame in 2009.