Boise, Idaho — Josh Allen threw three touchdown passes in his final game for Wyoming, and the Cowboys took advantage of Central Michigan’s eight turnovers to cruise to a 37-14 victory Friday in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
During the postgame award ceremony, the game MVP award declared his intention to give up his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. Wyoming (8-5) rebounded after losing its last two regular-season games with Allen sidelined by a sprained right shoulder.
Allen was 11 of 19 for 154 yards with no interceptions. He showed off his arm strength on a perfect 45-yard pass that hit receiver C.J. Johnson in stride in the end zone.
“In today’s world where players are making all kinds of decisions about bowl games, Josh chose to play and I applaud him for that,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said before lobbying for Allen to be drafted. “If there’s any NFL team looking for a player out there, you’re never going to find a bigger competitor and a better leader than him.”
Central Michigan (8-5) had won five straight. The eight turnovers broke the previous Famous Idaho Potato Bowl record of six.
“I don’t feel that today’s performance was indicative of the type of team we have,” Central Michigan coach John Bonamego said. “The storyline obviously is eight turnovers. You’re not going to win many football games against any decent opponent turning it over that many times.”
Wyoming entered the game first in the nation in turnover margin and second in forced turnovers and will likely finish at the top of both rankings after the bowl season concludes.
Wyoming took a 21-7 lead in the first quarter.
Wyoming’s offense struggled in the red zone after the first quarter, settling for three field goals in three trips.
Central Michigan struggled everywhere on the field, watching promising drives end on turnovers or other drives stunted due to Wyoming’s relentless pass rush. The Cowboys had a season-high five sacks.
Late in the third quarter, Central Michigan found a spark and cut the deficit to 30-14. The Chippewas strung together a seven-play, 65-yard drive that ended on a 3-yard run by Jonathan Ward.
But Central Michigan failed to build on that momentum, losing it all on a scoop and score. After a strip sack by Youhanna Ghaifan, Wyoming defensive end Carl Granderson took the fumble and rumbled 58 yards for the touchdowns.
“This defense is special,” Ghaifan said. “We all do our jobs and do it exceptionally well. … We got eight turnovers today — that’s not too shabby.”
Ohio 41, UAB 6: Dorian Brown rushed for 152 yards on just 12 carries and scored four touchdowns, Nathan Rourke threw for two scores and Ohio beat UAB at Nassau, Bahamas.
Ohio (9-4) averaged 38.9 points per game during the season, setting a school record with 467 points scored, and the Bobcats exhibited that prowess in the opening half, using big plays to build a 27-3 halftime lead. Brown, a redshirt senior, scored on runs of 74, 9, 25 and 14 yards, two in the second quarter and two in the third.
That was too much for the Blazers, a feel-good team seeking its first bowl victory on just its second try. The loss spoiled the end of a remarkable first season back for UAB (8-5), which was predicted to struggle and didn’t. UAB President Ray Watts had cut the football program in December 2014 because a university report deemed it too expensive. After public outcry, football was reinstated, but NCAA rules required the school to skip the 2016 season to help the players who stuck it out re-adjust to competing at the top level of college football.
Is Florida State bowl-eligible?
Florida State has faced one problem after another since starting the season ranked No. 3.
Now, on the verge of putting a forgettable this season behind them, there are questions whether the Seminoles are actually bowl eligible.
Florida State is scheduled to take on Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., on Wednesday. But a possible administrative error, discovered by a user of the website Reddit, is calling into question whether the Seminoles’ victory against Delaware State should count toward the NCAA’s bowl-eligibility requirement.
As of Friday afternoon, none of Florida State, Delaware State, the Atlantic Coast Conference or the NCAA had responded to requests for comment.
“We are continuing preparations for our game between Southern Miss and Florida State,” Independence Bowl spokesman Stefan Nolet told AP in an email. The NCAA has a waiver process for bowl eligibility and an issue like this could have been sorted out, likely in the Seminoles favor, had it been discovered sooner.
Instead, it’s just the latest bad news for Florida State.
The Seminoles lost their high-profile opener to Alabama and their quarterback in week one, had two games postponed by severe weather, stumbled to a 2-5 start, needed to play Louisiana-Monroe on championship weekend to have a chance to get bowl eligible and did so a day after former coach Jimbo Fisher left to take the Texas A&M job.
Scrambling to finish 6-6 allowed the Seminoles reach bowl eligibility and extend their record streak of consecutive years with a bowl to 36. Or did it? The game is still on but even that comes with a catch. A fan who moderates the college football section of Reddit posted data he claimed to have obtained from Delaware State that showed the football team didn’t use enough scholarship funds to meet an NCAA minimum for FCS teams to count toward FBS bowl eligibility. Delaware State, which lost 77-6 at Florida State on Nov. 18, was about two players short of the minimum, per to the post.
After the bowl game, Florida State can move on to a new era under coach Willie Taggart.