Bryce Love took over for the absent Christian McCaffrey in the Stanford backfield, running for 119 yards and catching a 49-yard touchdown pass on Friday, as the No. 16 Cardinal edged North Carolina, 25-23, at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
North Carolina (8-5) pulled to 2 points behind with 25 seconds left on Mitch Trubisky’s 2-yard pass to Bug Howard, but Stanford (10-3) held on by sacking Trubisky on the 2-point conversion attempt.
McCaffrey skipped the bowl game to focus on his N.F.L. career.
The Cardinal took a 25-17 lead on Conrad Ukropina’s 27-yard field goal with 3 minutes 23 seconds left. The Tar Heels were forced to punt on their next series, but they used two timeouts to get the ball back.
After taking over at its own 3-yard line, North Carolina drove 97 yards in 10 plays. After competing passes of 44 and 27 yards, Trubisky capped the drive with the 2-yard scoring pass to Howard.
Stanford then sacked Trubisky on the 2-point try on a rush led by defensive end Solomon Thomas. Thomas was selected as the game’s most valuable player, and the Cardinal defense also got a big game from safety Dallas Lloyd.
Lloyd intercepted a Trubisky pass in the second quarter, then did so again early in the fourth. He returned that one 19 yards for a touchdown to give Stanford a 22-17 lead. That halted a rally in which the Tar Heels went from a deficit of 16-7 early in the third quarter to a 17-16 lead.
MUSIC CITY BOWL Joshua Dobbs ran for three touchdowns and 118 yards and threw for 291 yards and an additional score as Tennessee (9-4) defeated No. 24 Nebraska (9-4), 38-24, in Nashville.
The Volunteers beat a Big Ten team in a bowl game for a third straight year and notched their first win in three tries against the Cornhuskers. It was the first time Tennessee had won three straight bowls since 1994 to 1996, when Peyton Manning was the Volunteers’ quarterback.
Tennessee took a 14-0 lead in the second quarter and outgained Nebraska, 521 yards to 318, in total offense.
The Huskers ended their season with two losses. Nebraska lost four of its final six games after rising as high as No. 7 in the rankings.
Ryker Fyfe, a fifth-year former walk-on, started for the injured quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. He pulled Nebraska to a touchdown behind in the fourth quarter. Fyfe threw two touchdown passes to Brandon Reilly and ran for a 9-yard score with 10:02 left in the fourth to pull the Huskers to 31-24 behind.
Dobbs answered with a 59-yard touchdown pass to Josh Malone for the final margin.
LIBERTY BOWL Nick Chubb ran for 142 yards and a touchdown as Georgia (8-5) rallied to defeat Texas Christian (6-7), 31-23, in Memphis.
In a game that featured numerous momentum changes, Rodrigo Blankenship put the Bulldogs ahead for good with 13:27 left on a 30-yard field goal. Blankenship’s kick was set up by Chubb’s 48-yard run on the final play of the third quarter.
Brandon Hatfield was wide right on a 47-yard field-goal attempt that would have put the Horned Frogs ahead with 7:57 remaining. Earlier, he had missed a 41-yard field-goal try and an extra-point attempt.
Georgia then went on a 70-yard drive that was capped by Chubb’s 13-yard touchdown run with 2:48 left. Deandre Baker clinched the victory by breaking up Kenny Hill’s fourth-and-4 pass from the Georgia 44-yard line with 1:14 remaining.
ARIZONA BOWL Arion Worthman threw for 207 yards to balance Air Force’s run-heavy offense, Jacobi Owens scored two touchdowns, and the Falcons (10-3) overcame a sluggish start to thump South Alabama (6-7), 45-21, in Tucson.
Air Force struggled to get its triple-option going, falling into an 18-point first-half hole. But once the Falcons got rolling, they could not be stopped. They scored 42 straight points to turn the game into a rout.
Worthman was the key, jump-starting Air Force’s option while completing 7 of 10 passes, including a 75-yard touchdown to Jalen Robinette to open the second half.
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