Friday's bowls: Smith-Marsette has three TDs, Iowa beats USC in Holiday Bowl
San Diego — Ihmir Smith-Marsette scored on a 6-yard run, a 98-yard kickoff return and a 12-yard reception — all in the second quarter — to lead No. 19 Iowa to a 49-24 victory over No. 22 Southern California in the Holiday Bowl on Friday night.
Senior Nate Stanley threw two touchdown passes and the Hawkeyes (10-3) won their fourth straight game for their sixth 10-win season in coach Kirk Ferentz’s 21 years.
USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis, who threw two touchdown passes, was knocked out of the game with an apparent arm injury early in the third quarter. The Trojans (8-5) had their three-game winning streak snapped. They fell apart after Slovis left.
Smith-Marsette helped the Hawkeyes to a 28-17 halftime lead.
Smith-Marsette scored on a 6-yard sweep for a 14-7 lead. After USC tied it on Slovis’ 16-yard pass to Vavae Malepeai, Smith-Marsette returned the kickoff 98 yards to give the Hawkeyes the lead for good.
Smith-Marsette, a junior wide receiver, also had a 95-yard kickoff return for a score in the regular-season finale, a 27-24 victory over Nebraska.
Stanley found Smith-Marsette on a 12-yard scoring pass on Iowa’s next possession for a 28-14 lead.
Chase McGrath kicked a 32-yard field goal as the clock expired to pull USC to 28-17 at halftime.
The Trojans pulled to 28-24 on Stephen Carr’s 2-yard run to cap the opening drive of the second half. It followed a 55-yard pass from Slovis to Amon-Ra St. Brown to the Iowa 5. Jack Koerner was called for roughing the passer when he slammed down Slovis, whose head hit the turf.
Kicker Michael Brown then recovered his own onside kick. Slovis was hurt two plays when he was sacked and fumbled, which was recovered by USC. Slovis came out and was replaced by Matt Fink.
Slovis took over after JT Daniels suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener and threw for 3,242 yards and 28 touchdowns, against nine interceptions in the regular season. He threw for a school-record 515 yards as well as four touchdowns in a 52-35 victory over UCLA.
Iowa put it away with a 90-yard drive capped by Tyler Goodson’s 1-yard run for a 35-24 lead late in the third quarter. Stanley had a 34-yard pass to Smith-Marsette and also gained 8 yards on a sneak to the USC 3.
USC lost two fumbles late in the second half, including when a high shotgun snap went off Fink’s hands, with Iowa’s Kristian Welch recovering at the Trojans’ 6.
Iowa converted on Stanley’s 6-yard TD pass to Brandon Smith to make it 42-24.
Iowa’s Nick Niemann intercepted Fink and returned it 25 yards for a TD with 1:43 left.
Iowa’s Tyrone Tracy Jr. scored on a 23-yard run on the game’s first drive and USC answered with Slovis’ 4-yard scoring pass to Drake London.
Slovis completed 22 of 30 passes for 260 yards.
Texas A&M 24, Oklahoma State 21: At Houston, Kellen Mond ran for a career-high 117 yards and threw a touchdown pass as Texas A&M scored 24 straight points to overcome an early deficit. Mond ran 67 yards to give the Aggies (8-5) a 21-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Mond cut to the right to avoid a couple of defenders and outran everyone else. Tre Sterling had a shot to tackle him around the 25, but Mond ran away from his diving attempt.
The Cowboys (8-5) went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Texas A&M 34 on their next possession, but Spencer Sanders was stopped for no gain.
The Aggies added a 24-yard field goal to make it 24-14 with about three minutes to go.
Oklahoma State cut the lead to three on a touchdown reception by Braydon Johnson with about a minute left. The Cowboys attempted an onside kick, but A&M recovered it to secure the victory.
Chuba Hubbard, who finished the regular season as the nation’s leading rusher, ran for 158 yards, and Johnson had 124 yards receiving and two touchdowns for the Cowboys.
Hubbard finished the season with 2,094 yards rushing to become the second player in school history to reach 2,000, joining Barry Sanders, who did it in 1988 when he won the Heisman Trophy.
Air Force 31, Washington State 21: At Phoenix, Kadin Remsberg ran for 178 yards and stretched to the pylon for a 3-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, lifting No. 24 Air Force.
The Falcons (11-2) had their triple option working to near perfection, grinding out 371 yards rushing while setting a Cheez-It Bowl time of possession record of 43:24.
Donald Hammond III scored two touchdowns and Remsberg had his fourth-down TD confirmed by review to help the Falcons close the season on an eight-game winning streak.
Anthony Gordon, the FBS passing leader, kept the Cougars within reach, throwing for 351 yards and three touchdowns. He hit Brandon Arconado on a 13-yard TD early in the fourth quarter to pull Washington State (6-7) within 24-21, but the Cougars had no answer for Air Force's triple-option attack.
North Carolina 55, Temple 13: At Annapolis, Md., freshman Sam Howell threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns and caught a scoring pass in North Carolina's victory.
Howell completed 25 of 34 passes and ran for 53 yards on three carries to help the Tar Heels (7-6) to their first bowl victory since 2013. Temple (8-5) has gone to a bowl five years in a row — and lost four of them.
Howell threw two first-half touchdown to stake the Tar Heels to a 20-6 lead. They pulled in the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns in a 12-second span, the last on Storm Duck's 20-yard interception return.
Howell completed the third-quarter blitz by catching a 2-yard TD pass from wide receiver Rontavius Groves at the end of a razzle-dazzle reverse to make it 41-6. Howell threw 38 touchdown passes this season, the most by a true freshman in FBS history.