East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, December 30, 2017, WEEKEND EDITION, Page Page 2B, Image 16

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East Oregonian
Saturday, December 30, 2017
College Football Bowl Roundup
Women’s College
Ohio State rolls over USC in Cotton Bowl Gulich
No. 17
Associated Press
— Playoff-snubbed Ohio
State got a bit defensive
even without one of its best
defenders in the Cotton
Damon Webb returned an
interception for a touchdown
after recovering a fumble to
set up an early score and the
No. 5 Buckeyes beat No. 8
Southern California 24-7 on
Friday night in a matchup
that traditionally has been
in the Rose Bowl instead of
deep in the heart of Texas.
The Big Ten and Pac-12
champions would usually
play New Year’s Day in
Pasadena, but the Rose Bowl
is a College Football Playoff
semifinal game this season.
Ohio State (12-2) instead
quickly settled in at the NFL
stadium where three years
ago it won the first national
championship in the four-
team CFP format. The Buck-
eyes — with that bad loss at
Iowa after an early setback to
playoff team Oklahoma —
were the first team left out
this season.
USC (11-3), the Rose
Bowl champion last season,
lost for only the third time in
its last 23 games. The Trojans
had four turnovers that led to
21 Ohio State points in what
could have been third-year
sophomore quarterback Sam
Darnold’s final game.
Buckeyes All-America
junior cornerback Denzel
Ward has already decided
to go into the NFL draft and
didn’t play after practicing
with the team this week.
With Ward on the sideline
in his No. 12 jersey over
street clothes, fellow defen-
sive back Webb had a fumble
recovery on the third play
of the game. That led to J.T.
Barrett’s 1-yard keeper for a
score that put the Buckeyes
ahead to stay.
Webb’s 23-yard inter-
ception return for a TD
put Ohio State up 17-0
less than a minute into the
second quarter. It was the
first pick-six this season for
the Buckeyes, and the team-
leading fifth interception for
Ohio State was up 24-0
AP Photo/LM Otero
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) rushes for a first down against Southern
California safety Marvell Tell III (7) and cornerback Isaiah Langley (24) during the
first half of the Cotton Bowl game in Arlington, Texas, Friday.
when Barrett ran 28 yards
for another touchdown after
the first of Darnold’s two
fumbles when stripped while
being sacked. Darnold was
sacked eight times overall.
Ohio State: Barrett,
playing his final college
game only about a two-hour
drive from his hometown of
Wichita Falls, Texas, broke
Drew Brees’ Big Ten career
record for total offense with
12,697 yards. He played 50
games, and was 38-6 as a
starter. His 147 touchdowns
(104 passing, 43 rushing)
are also a Big Ten record, 41
more than Brees at Purdue.
USC: Darnold, who
became the first Trojans
quarterback ever with more
than 4,000 yards passing in
a season, has until Jan. 15
to decide if he will head to
the NFL or return to USC
for another season. While
he threw for 356 yards on
26-of-45 passing in the
Cotton Bowl, his turnovers
were costly.
This was the eighth time
Ohio State and USC met
in a bowl game. The first
seven were in the Rose
Bowl. The Trojans had won
seven straight in the matchup
of powerhouse programs,
including four regular-season
matchups since their last
meeting in Pasadena 33 years
24, KENTUCKY 23 — At
Nashville, Tennessee, Justin
Jackson ran for 157 yards
and two touchdowns, and
No. 20 Northwestern held off
Kentucky 24-23 on Friday
in a Music City Bowl that
might be remembered more
for injuries, ejections and a
wild finish.
Both starting quarterbacks
left in the first half with
injuries, though Kentucky’s
Stephen Johnson returned
early in the third quarter.
Kentucky lost running
back Benny Snell Jr. to an
ejection for contact with an
official early in the second
quarter, and Northwestern
lost leading tackler and line-
backer Paddy Fisher before
halftime when he was ejected
for targeting.
Northwestern (10-4) still
finished off back-to-back
bowl wins in consecutive
years for the first time in
program history, and the
Wildcats notched their
second 10-win season in
three years under coach Pat
Fitzgerald. The senior class
also won its 27th game for
the best stretch in more than
a decade.
Kentucky (7-6) had a
chance to win after North-
western coach Pat Fitzgerald
tried to convert his fifth
fourth down of the game
only to turn it over for the
fourth time on downs — this
time at his own 39 with 2:31
left. Johnson ran for his
second touchdown of the
second half with 37 seconds
left. Kentucky coach Mark
Stoops went for the 2-point
conversion rather than play
for overtime, but Johnson
couldn’t connect with Tavin
Richardson on the pass.
With quarterback Clayton
Thorson knocked out early
in the second with a right
knee injury, Northwestern
outran Kentucky 333-65.
Safety Kyle Quiero provided
the winning margin taking
Northwestern’s second inter-
ception 26 yards for a TD
with 7:49 left.
At El Paso, Texas, Nyheim
Hines had three 5-yard
touchdown runs to help
North Carolina State beat
Arizona State in the Sun
Hines finished with 72
yards on 16 carries for North
Carolina State (9-4). The
Wolfpack played in their
fourth consecutive bowl
game and sixth in seven years
under coach David Doeren.
Reggie Gallaspy added 79
yards and two touchdowns on
College Football Playoff
Alabama, Clemson to complete their trilogy
Associated Press
you’re in the midst of a historic
trilogy, it’s hard to appreciate what it
will mean to the ages.
Alabama is focused on beating
Clemson is focused on beating
Taking time to savor the first
two chapters between these college
football juggernauts — and, ohhh,
are they worth savoring — will only
get in the way of preparing for the
rubber match.
“I just try to take it day by day,”
Alabama center Bradley Bozeman
said. “I’ll look back on it when I’m
40 or 50 years old.”
No matter what happens Monday
night when the top-ranked Tigers
take on the fourth-ranked Crimson
Tide in the Sugar Bowl semifinal
game, this remarkable three-year run
seems assured of joining all those
great sporting rivalries that were
doled out thrice.
“We’re in a good place if we’re
seeing them,” Alabama safety
Minkah Fitzpatrick said of the Tigers.
“So, no, I’m not tired of them.”
For whatever reason, the trilogy
holds a special place in the sports
They come in all shapes and
sizes, from one side pulling off a
sweep (Affirmed edged Alydar three
straight times to claim the 1978 Triple
Crown) to those who saved the best
for last (Ali beating Frazier in the
“Thrilla in Manila” after they split
their first two heavyweight bouts) to
matchups that signaled a changing of
the guard (Nadal’s epic victory over
Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final
after losing to his Swiss rival the two
previous years).
Which brings us to Alabama-
Clemson III.
Already, they’ve produced a
matching set of classics that rank
among the greatest national cham-
pionship games in college football
history. Two years ago, Alabama
won 45-40 in a breakneck affair
that featured 40 points, a successful
Sugar Bowl
#4 Alabama
#1 Clemson
Crimston Tide
• Monday, 5:45 p.m.
onside kick and a kickoff return
for a touchdown in the final 10 1-2
minutes . Last season, Clemson
rallied from a two-touchdown deficit
and the Tide’s go-ahead TD with
just over 2 minutes remaining to win
35-31 on Deshaun Watson’s 2-yard
scoring pass to Hunter Renfrow with
a single second hanging on the clock.
The stakes are a bit different this
Instead of meeting in the title
game, Round 3 falls a week earlier
in the College Football Playoff semi-
finals. Clemson claimed the top seed
despite a loss to lowly Syracuse back
in mid-October , while Alabama
stirred up the biggest debate when it
landed the fourth seed after a setback
to Auburn in its final regular-season
game and failing to even qualify for
the Southeastern Conference cham-
pionship .
In the end, it’s hard to fault the
selection committee for bending to
the will of history.
A deciding game only seems
“Oh, it’s a lot of fun,” Tigers
defensive lineman Christian Wilkins
said. “The reason why I came to
Clemson was to compete at the
highest level, play against the best
teams and win championships. You
know if you’re Clemson and you’re
playing Alabama, then you’ve had a
good season. They’re always going
to be at the top. That’s just the kind
of program they are.”
While many of the faces have
changed — most notably, Watson
moved on to the NFL after two
brilliant performances against the
Crimson Tide — there’s a familiarity
between the programs that only adds
to the buildup.
They know each other’s tenden-
cies, the plays they like to run and
the ones they shy away from, their
many strengths and those handful of
weaknesses that might be exploited
at a crucial time.
Adding to the storyline: Clemson
is coached by Alabama alum Dabo
Swinney, whose goal all along was to
turn the Tigers into a Atlantic Coast
Conference version of the Tide.
“It’s been great to compete against
Alabama,” Swinney said. “One of
the things that was a goal of mine
nine years ago was build a program
that can be consistent and to build a
program that can beat the best, and
Alabama has been the best.”
Indeed, there’s still a sense that
Alabama is college football’s top
dog, even though Clemson is the
reigning champion. Nick Saban has
carried on the houndstooth legacy by
guiding the Tide to four national titles
in the last eight seasons. His program
is the only one to make the playoffs
in all four years of its existence.
The greatest testament to Bama’s
decade-long dominance? Going
back to the start of the 2008 season,
Saban’s teams have played only
three regular-season games — all at
the end of the 2010 campaign — that
didn’t have an impact on the national
championship race.
“It’s like anything in life,” Saban
said matter-of-factly. “You make
up a goal, you understand there’s a
process of things that you have to
do to accomplish the goal, and you
have to have the discipline to execute
it every day. That’s not necessarily a
feeling. It’s a choice that you choose
to be persistent at the things that
are going to help you be successful
and you resist the things that are not
going to help you be successful.”
For Saban and Swinney, that
leaves little time to dawdle over how
this trilogy will remembered in the
big picture.
But Renfrow has some idea.
Maybe one day, long after his
career is over, he’ll flip on the TV to
watch a “30 for 30” documentary.
They’ll call it “Tide vs. Tigers:
The Trilogy.”
“I guess the word is apprecia-
tion,” Renfrow said. “I’m just very
appreciative for the opportunity
to go out there and make the most
of it and exhausting the moment.
That’s something we talk about. Not
wishing for tomorrow. Just living in
the moment.”
You see, this budding masterpiece
is not yet complete.
There’s still another act to go.
12 carries for the Wolfpack,
Ryan Finley completed 24 of
29 passes for 318 yards and a
score, and Stephen Louis had
three catches for 115 yards.
Arizona State (7-6)
played its final game under
fired coach Todd Graham,
with former NFL coach
Herm Edwards taking over
the program.
Manny Wilkins was 25
of 40 for 352 yards and
three touchdowns for the
Sun Devils. He also threw
three interceptions. Arizona
State won its previous three
Sun Bowl appearances — in
1997, 2004 and 2014.
North Carolina State
played without standout
defensive end Bradley
Chubb. Chubb, a projected
top-10 pick in the NFL draft.
The school announced a few
hours before the game that he
wouldn’t play.
TEXAS A&M 52 — At
Charlotte, North Carolina,
John Wolford threw for 400
yards and four touchdowns,
and Matt Colburn ran for
150 yards and the go-ahead
score in Wake Forest’s
victory over Texas A&M in
the Belk Bowl.
The teams combined for
1,260 yards in one of the
highest-scoring games in
bowl history.
Wolford, a four-year
starter and the game’s Most
Valuable Player, threw
all four TD passes in the
first half for Wake Forest
(8-5). Colburn had a 1-yard
touchdown with 2:18 left in
the game to give the Demon
Deacons the lead for good.
Scotty Washington had
nine catches for 138 yards
and a touchdown for the
Demon Deacons, and tight
end Cam Serigne had nine
catches for 112 yards and a
Wake Forest stopped the
Aggies on downs on their
final drive to seal the win.
Nick Starkel threw for a
Belk Bowl-record 499 yards
and also had four touchdown
passes for Texas A&M (7-6).
Christian Kirk caught 13
passes for 189 yards and
three touchdowns.
Associated Press
Gulich scored 18 of her 24
points in the second half,
in Pac-12
the pivotal
third quarter
No. Washington
17 Oregon
State opened
Pac-12 play
on Friday
with a 75-63 Oregon St.
K a t
Tudor added
17 points and Mikayla Pivec
scored 11 for the Beavers
(9-2), who have won seven
Amber Melgoza had 15
of her 19 points in the first
half for the Huskies (6-6),
who went up by 11 after a
10-point run in the second
quarter. Oregon State scored
the last five to close within
36-30 at the break.
The Beavers opened
the third quarter with four
straight points and after a
Washington basket went on a
16-2 run to lead 50-40. Aleah
Goodman hit two 3-pointers
and Gulich scored six points
while the Huskies were
shooting 1 of 12.
The lead reached 20
midway through the fourth
quarter as Gulich had six
points and Pivec a 3-point
play in a 9-0 run.
Gulich had 12 rebound
as the Beavers had a 43-32
advantage on the boards.
They also shot 60 percent
in the second half, while the
Huskies shot 30 percent.
While Mayfield ails,
Bulldogs scheme to stop QB
Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — An illness
has slowed down Baker Mayfield
for the past few days, and Okla-
homa’s Heisman Trophy-win-
ning quarterback has missed a
handful of public events leading
up to the Rose Bowl.
Georgia’s defense is taking no
comfort in Mayfield’s condition.
“Oh, I’m sure he’ll be in
that game,” said Roquan Smith,
Georgia’s star linebacker. “It’s
going to be big playing against
him. I’m a big college football
fan, and he’s a winner. I’ve been
hearing about him for a long
The Bulldogs realize their
national title hopes depend on
figuring out how to contain one
of the most dynamic players
in their sport’s recent history.
With weeks of disciplined study
and some practice help from a
scout-team quarterback dubbed
Mayfield’s Mini-Me by his team-
mates, Georgia thinks it has got
a shot.
Georgia has heard and seen
everything that the rest of the
country knows about Mayfield,
who won the Heisman in a land-
slide vote earlier this month to
cap a phenomenal senior season.
And even if he’s under the
weather this week, the Bulldogs
expect him to be on top of his
game Monday.
“I can remember when
Michael Jordan had the flu once,”
Georgia defensive coordinator
Mel Tucker said. “They were
having to carry him off the floor
during timeouts, and he had one
of his best games. I expect Baker
Mayfield to be at his best.”
Big 12 champion Oklahoma
(12-1) will bring a potent,
versatile offense into Pasadena
when the Sooners face SEC
champion Georgia (12-1) in the
College Football Playoff semi-
final. But that offense is driven
by Mayfield, the swashbuckling
passer with running ability and
a virtuosic knack for avoiding
trouble — well, at least on the
field and between the whistles.
Rose Bowl
#3 Georgia #2 Oklahoma
• Monday, 2 p.m.
“He can throw the ball in loca-
tions on the run that you don’t see
too many guys do,” Smith said.
Mayfield’s athleticism and
football smarts are a formidable
mix for any defense, but Georgia
has an underlying confidence
about its ability to slow down
any offensive playmaker after
plowing through the regular
season by allowing more than 20
points just twice in 13 games.
The Bulldogs are still playing
all proper respect to Mayfield
during their week in Southern
“Their quarterback, he’s just a
special guy, and he makes a lot
of things happen,” Tucker said.
“He reminds me of Brett Favre,
because he makes all the throws,
he’s mobile and he can improvise
on the run. He will run to run
you over, and he will also slide,
so you have to be ready for all of
Tucker doesn’t claim to have
a secret formula or a brilliant
game plan for shutting down
Mayfield, who passed for 4,340
yards and 41 touchdowns with
just five interceptions. Instead,
the Bulldogs have spent the past
month drilling their basic defen-
sive concepts tailored to a mobile
quarterback with an impressively
accurate arm.
“We always preach a coor-
dinated pass rush,” Tucker said.
“You have to know when you can
rush, and also where your team-
mates are. We also make sure
our players downfield also know
they have to cover for as long
as it takes. You can’t change too
much of what you do in a situa-
tion like this. We’ve played other
great quarterbacks this season,
and we’re going to have to be at
our best against Oklahoma.”