Jefferson leads No. 22 Arkansas over Penn State 24-10

Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
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TAMPA, Fla. – KJ Jefferson picked up 104 of his 110 rushing yards in the second half and threw for 90 more to lead No. 22 Arkansas past Penn State 24-10 in the Outback Bowl on Saturday.

Raheim Sanders had 79 yards and two touchdowns on 13 rushing attempts and Dominique Johnson added 85 yards on 11 carries as the Razorbacks finished with 361 rushing yards.

Arkansas (9-4), coming off four consecutive seasons of four or fewer wins, got its first nine-win year since going 11-2 in 2011. The Razorbacks also played in their first bowl game since the 2016 Belk Bowl.

Sean Clifford went 14 of 32 or 195 yards for Penn State (7-6). He gained 47 yards on the ground on 11 attempts.

Jefferson ran 20 times while completing 14 of 19 passes. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound sophomore was sacked five times and limited to 6 yards rushing on 11 carries during the first half.

Jefferson and Sanders had TD runs, and Cam Little made a 36-yard field goal in the third quarter to put Arkansas up 24-10.

Arkansas took the opening kickoff in the second half and put together a seven-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with Jefferson’s 8-yard TD run.

Jefferson was hurt and left for several plays after a 34-yard dash later in the third period, and was replaced by Malik Hornsby. He had a 32-yard run to set up Sanders’ 1-yard score with 2:00 left in the quarter.

Hornsby had 67 yards on four carries.

Penn State led 10-7 at the half thanks to a 43-yard field goal by Jake Pinegar. The Nittany Lions tied it at 7 early in the second quarter when Clifford took advantage of blown coverage and hit a wide open KeAndre Lambert-Smith for a 42-yard touchdown.

Arkansas took a 7-0 lead on the last play of the first quarter when Sanders had a 3-yard TD run. The Razorbacks converted a pair of fourth-down plays during the drive, including Jefferson avoiding a sack and running for 13 yards.

MISSING PLAYERS

Both teams were impacted by bowl opt outs. Penn State was without leading receiver Jahan Dotson; defensive end Arnold Ebiketie and tackle Derrick Tangelo; safety Jaquan Brisker; and linebackers Ellis Brooks and Brandon Smith.

Arkansas played without wide receiver Treylon Burks and defensive end Tre Williams.

NUMBERS

Jefferson had his streak of 171 consecutive passes without an interception end when Ji’ Ayir Brown picked off his second throw of the game in the first quarter. Brown finished with two interceptions. . Penn State DE Smith Vilbert had three sacks. … Arkansas S Joe Foucha had an interception in the end zone and a sack during the second half.

No. 3 TCU loses 31-28 in OT to K-State in Big 12 title game

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime as 13th-ranked Kansas State beat No. 3 TCU 31-28 in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, leaving the Horned Frogs to wait another day to find out if they had already done enough to get into the four-team College Football Playoff.

The Wildcats set up the winning field goal after TCU (12-1) had the opening possession of overtime and Kendre Miller was stopped short on consecutive plays from inside the 1.

Deuce Vaughn ran for 130 yards and a touchdown and Will Howard threw two TDs for the Wildcats (10-3, No. 10 CFP), who six weeks earlier had jumped out to a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s last 28 points.

That was one of five games the Horned Frogs (12-1, No. 3 CFP) won when trailing after halftime. But they couldn’t do it again with the chance to guarantee being the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to make the playoff.

TCU, the first Big 12 team to complete a regular season undefeated since Texas in 2009, could still get into the playoff. While their case was helped when fourth-ranked Southern California (11-2) lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night, the Frogs now have to wait until the final CFP rankings come out Sunday.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said before the game that TCU, with first-year coach Sonny Dykes, already deserved to be in the playoff.

“You look at their strength of schedule. You think about how they’ve performed all year long,” Yormark said. “I think regardless, they should be in, for sure.”

No. 4 USC falls to Utah in Pac-12 Championship, damaging playoff hopes

Utah vs. USC
USA Today
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LAS VEGAS — No. 12 Utah pounded a limping, bloodied Caleb Williams and roared past No. 4 Southern California 47-24 on Friday night to win the Pac-12 Championship and put USC’s College Football Playoff hopes in doubt.

The loss by the Trojans (11-2) could open the way for Ohio State (11-1) to take their spot in the playoffs. USC is fourth in the CFP rankings, the Buckeyes are one step behind.

Ohio State had to be Utah’s biggest fan. The Buckeyes move up in playoff consideration, with 12-0 Michigan at No. 2 with the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, that would give the Big Ten conference two playoff teams for the first time. It also would extend the Pac-12′s playoff drought — Washington in 2017 is the last team from that conference to make the playoffs.

Utah (10-3) is heading to the Rose Bowl, but the Utes already were going there regardless of the outcome of the title game. They are responsible for USC’s only losses, having edged the Trojans 43-42 on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City.

The Utes rolled up 533 yards of offense in the rematch, and Cam Rising passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams threw for 363 yards and three TDs. He entered the game as the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, but wasn’t the same after getting injured in the first quarter.

The Trojans looked as if they were going to run away with the game, taking a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter behind some stellar play by Williams.

He appeared to hurt his left knee or leg in the first quarter on a 59-yard run in which he took a big hit at the end, and he suffered a bad cut on the pinky finger of his throwing hand. He spent most of the game limping, and wasn’t the same after a sterling first quarter in which the Trojans outgained Utah in total yards 194-70, and Williams had both touchdown passes.

After USC failed to pick up a fourth-and-8 from Utah’s 37-yard line, the Utes scored two touchdowns in the final 3:55 of the first half, and suddenly the game was tied at 17. Instead of a rout, the game was beginning to look like the shootout the Utes won in October.

The game took on that tone at times in the second half, but USC had no answer for how to slow down Utah, which outscored the Trojans 44-7 in overcoming that two-touchdown deficit.

ATTENDANCE RECORD

A announced sellout crowd of 61,195 made this the largest for a neutral-site Pac-12 Championship. It beat the previous record of 58,476 fans. who watched Southern California-Stanford in Santa Clara, California, in 2015.