PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Justin Herbert scored his third rushing touchdown of the 106th Rose Bowl on a thrilling 30-yard run with 7:41 to play Wednesday night, and No. 7 Oregon held off No. 11 Wisconsin 28-27 to win its third straight trip to the Granddaddy of Them All.
Brady Breeze returned a fumble 31 yards for an early touchdown for the Ducks (12-2). Herbert then made his go-ahead rambling run on the next snap after Breeze forced another fumble in yet another frenetic edition of this venerated bowl game.
Oregon held on to cap its Pac-12 championship season with its 12th win in 13 games. The Ducks celebrated on the famous turf amid confetti and cheers after the fourth Rose Bowl victory in school history.
Aron Cruickshank returned an early kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown for the Big Ten runner-up Badgers (10-4). They lost in their fourth consecutive trip to Pasadena over the last 10 years.
Herbert passed for just 138 yards without a touchdown in his collegiate finale. Instead, Oregon improbably relied on the legs of its 6-foot-6 quarterback to grind out the fourth Rose Bowl victory in school history.
Herbert had only 10 rushing touchdowns in the first 41 starts of his career, but he turned into a big-play machine on the ground. After he scored on runs of 4 and 5 yards in the first half, he rambled through the defense for the go-ahead score in what's sure to be the signature moment of the four-year starter's career.
Herbert eventually made a key 12-yard throw to Mycah Pittman for a first down with 1:51 to play, and his 28-yard throw to Juwan Johnson with 1:03 left allowed the Ducks to run out the clock.
Jonathan Taylor rushed for 94 yards and Quintez Cephus caught seven passes for 59 yards and a score for Wisconsin, but quarterback Jack Coan’s offense couldn’t capitalize on its whopping advantages in time of possession (38:03-21:57) and total yards (322-204).
NO. 5 GEORGIA 26, NO. 8 BAYLOR 14
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — George Pickens caught 12 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown as Georgia defeated Baylor in the Sugar Bowl.
Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer, coming back from a concussion in the Big 12 title game on Dec. 7, was sidelined again in the fourth quarter when the back of his head appeared to hit hard on the turf as he was taken down by two defenders along the sideline.
Jake Fromm completed 20 of 30 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns without an interception for Georgia (12-2), which lost to Texas in the Sugar Bowl last season.
Georgia was without about a dozen regulars, including three starting offensive linemen. Some players were hurt while others sat out to preserve their health for the NFL draft.
Meanwhile, top running back D'Andre Swift saw only limited action because of an ailing shoulder. Zamir White carried 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Richard LeCounte intercepted two passes, the second sealing the victory in the final minutes.
Pickens, a freshman, was selected the game's most outstanding player.
Brewer completed 21 of 41 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown to Denzel Mims for the Bears (11-3).
NO. 9 ALABAMA 35, NO. 17 MICHIGAN 16
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Mac Jones threw three touchdown passes, Jerry Jeudy became the first Alabama player to top 200 receiving yards in a bowl game and the Crimson Tide beat Michigan 35-16 in the Citrus Bowl.
Jones connected with Jeudy for an 85-yard score on Alabama’s first snap, and DeVonta Smith and Miller Forristall added touchdown grabs in the second half for the Crimson Tide (11-2), which trailed 16-14 at the break.
Jeudy finished with six catches for 204 yards. His previous career high was 147 set last season against Missouri, and the Alabama bowl record had stood for more than a half-century — Ray Perkins had 178 yards against Nebraska in the 1967 Sugar Bowl.
Jones — who took over as Alabama’s starter when Tua Tagovailoa was lost for the season with an injury in November — completed 16 of 25 passes for 327 yards. Najee Harris ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns for Alabama.
Shea Patterson completed 17 of 37 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown for Michigan (9-4), which dropped its fourth consecutive bowl game. Quinn Nordin kicked three field goals for the Wolverines, including a school-record-tying 57-yarder to end the first half and give Michigan the lead.
NO. 16 MINNESOTA 31, NO. 9 AUBURN 24
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tyler Johnson had 12 receptions for 204 yards and two touchdowns to become Minnesota’s career receiving leader and help the Gophers beat Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
Johnson broke Eric Decker's school record for receiving yards on his second catch of the day and became Minnesota’s career leader for scoring receptions on a one-handed, 2-yard TD catch that put the Gophers (11-2) up 24-17 at halftime. His 73-yard catch-and-run put Minnesota head for good early in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota finished with more than 10 wins for the first time since 1904. Auburn (9-4) concluded a season in which all four of its losses came against opponents ranked in the Top 25.
Tanner Morgan completed 19 of 29 passes for 278 yards and the TDs to Johnson, who finished with 3,305 receiving yards and 33 TD catches in his career. Receiver Seth Green tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Witham on fourth-and-inches in the second quarter.
Noah Igbinoghene returned a kickoff 96 yards for Auburn’s first touchdown.
This story has been corrected to show that the Outback Bowl score was 31-24, not 31-9.