NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mitchell Fineran kicked a 39-yard field goal in overtime and Purdue finished off its best season since 2003 by overcoming a 14-point deficit and beating Tennessee 48-45 on Thursday in a record-setting Music City Bowl.
Purdue (9-4) tied for the second-most wins in program history as only the 12th team in the Boilermakers’ 134-year history to win nine games. They also won their fifth game away from home, something they hadn’t done since 1943.
Tennessee (7-6) missed a chance to make Josh Heupel the first Vols coach to cap his debut season with a bowl win since Bill Battle won the 1971 Sugar Bowl. The Vols also snapped a four-game bowl victory streak with a loss that dropped the Southeastern Conference to 1-5 this bowl season.
This high-scoring game featured a flurry of big plays and points in the final five minutes only to see Purdue’s defense make the deciding play.
On the first possession of overtime, Jamar Brown and Kieren Douglas stopped Vols running back Jaylen Wright short on fourth-and-goal at the 1. After Purdue ran three plays, Fineran sealed the victory with his fourth field goal.
The teams combined for 1,293 yards of total offense — second-most in overall bowl history, trailing only the 1,397 yards Baylor and Washington had in the 2011 Alamo Bowl. Tennessee became the 10th team in bowl game history to run 100 or more plays, and the combined 185 plays rank seventh.
Tennessee finished with 639 yards total offense and Purdue had 623 in regulation — both bowl records before overtime. Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell O’Connell — who threw five touchdown passes — easily set a mark with 534 yards passing, well above the 383 Mike Glennon had with N.C. State. Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker also had five TD passes.
NO. 11 MICHIGAN STATE 31, NO. 13 PITTSBURGH 21
ATLANTA (AP) — Payton Thorne’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Reed gave Michigan State the lead with less than three minutes remaining and the Spartans overcame an 11-point deficit to beat Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl.
Linebacker Cal Haladay’s 78-yard interception return for a touchdown with 22 seconds remaining ended Pitt fill-in quarterback Davis Beville’s bid for a last-minute comeback in the game the Panthers played without star QB Kenny Pickett after he opted out the game.
Thorne threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as Michigan State (11-2) rallied after trailing 21-10.
Cam Bright returned a fumble recovery 26 yards for a touchdown only 20 seconds into the second half for Pittsburgh (11-3). The Panthers lost fill-in starting quarterback Nick Patti to an injury in the first quarter.
Defensive end John Morgan forced the fumble by Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne that was returned by Bright for a 21-10 lead.
Thorne completed 29 of 50 passes for 354 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Thorne’s scoring pass to Reed with 2:51 remaining gave the Spartans a 22-21 lead. A 2-point pass to Jalen Nailor pushed the lead to three points.
DUKE’S MAYO BOWL
SOUTH CAROLINA 38, NORTH CAROLINA 21
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer had a bucket of mayonnaise dumped over his head, putting a memorable and messy finish on the Gamecocks’ victory over North Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
Jaheim Bell had five catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns for South Carolina (7-6). Kevin Harris added 169 yards rushing and a score, helping secure the mayo bath for Beamer.
Bell came in with 338 yards receiving and three TDs during the regular season, but figured prominently into the game plan early on. The sophomore tight end got free for a 69-yard touchdown reception from converted wide receiver Dakereon Joyner and hauled in a 66-yard TD catch from former graduate assistant coach Zeb Noland on South Carolina’s first two possessions.