The Wisconsin Badgers went a nearly undefeated season without a statement victory, and when they had the chance, they fell to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Title Game. Well, after missing the playoffs because of that, the Badgers ended their year with a statement win, 34-24, over the Miami Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night. Alex Hornibrook threw for four touchdown passes, three of which went to Danny Davis, as the Badgers finished off their winningest season with 13 victories. Jonathan Taylor had a big night for a couple different reasons, running for 130 yards, while also breaking Adrian Peterson's freshman FBS record with 1,977 rush yards. .A.J. Taylor also caught a touchdown from Hornibrook for the Badgers, who rallied from an early 14-3 deficit in this one. The Badger quarterback finished with 258 yards passing, and completed 20 of 25 passes in the final three quarters. The Hurricanes dropped their first game on their home field this season, despite getting rushing touchdowns from Travis Homer and Deejay Dallas. Malik Rosier helped the Badgers get back in to the game by throwing three interceptions, as he finished with just 203 yards through the air. The Hurricanes were another team that looked to be on their way to the College Football Playoffs, but late-season losses spoiled that for them, as they end their season at 10-3.
McSorley, Barkley Lead Penn State in Fiesta Bowl
The Penn State Nittany Lions kicked off the Big Ten's impressive Saturday in New Year's Six Bowls with a 35-28 win over the Washington Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl. Trace McSorley threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns, while Saquon Barkley ran for two more scores to help Penn State take a 14-point halftime lead. Barkley finished with 137 yards on the ground, while DaSean Hamilton had both touchdown catches for the Nittany Lions, who had a 21-point lead at one point. Washington was able to come back within seven after scoring a touchdown before and after half, as Myles Gaskins' 69-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter made things interesting late. The Nittany Lions were able to dwindle down the clock by converting on three third-down plays in the final minutes, giving the Huskies no time to complete the comeback. A desperation attempt in the final seconds was to no avail for Washington, as multiple lateral passes went nowhere before the last one was intercepted to end the game. The Huskies gave up a season-high 545 total yards on the night, including 367 yards in the first half, and this was after giving up 277.4 yards per game coming in to play. With the win, Penn State ends the season at 11-2, while Washington falls to 10-3 with the loss.
Nova, Arizona State, Texas A&M Fall
The college basketball AP polls are going to look a lot different come 2018 with three of the top five teams falling with just two days left in 2017. First, the Villanova Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season, 101-93, to the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs shot an outstanding 60 percent from the floor, including 68 percent from beyond the arc, as they finished with 15 three-pointers in the win. Kelan Martin had 24 points, while Paul Jorgensen added a career-high 23, as Butler improved to 2-0 in conference play. Top-ranked Nova came in to play allowing just 65.8 points per game and had 10 wins by 14 or more points. Jalen Brunson tied a career-high with 31 points, while Mikal Bridges added 21, as the Wildcats trailed by as many as 23 in this one. Meanwhile, another unbeaten team is no longer that after Saturday, as the Arizona State Sun Devils fell to their in-state rivals, Arizona Wildcats, 84-78 late Saturday night for their first loss of the season. Deandre Ayton had 23 points and 19 rebounds, including a tip-in with 11 seconds left to lead the 17th-ranked Wildcats over the third-ranked Sun Devils. Allonzo Trier overcame a slow start that saw him miss his first six shots to finish with 23 points and had two clutch free throws down the stretch. The Sun Devils got off to the best start in program history at 12-0, but not even a 31-point effort from Tra Holder could keep that streak alive. Shannon Evans and Cody Justice went a combined 5-of-23, including 2-of-14 on three-pointers in the loss. And the Texas A&M Aggies entered SEC play as the No. 5 team in the country, but the Alabama Crimson Tide were not buying it on Saturday. John Petty had 18 points, including five three-pointers, to lead the Tide in a blowout of the Aggies, 79-57. Texas A&M shot just 30 percent from the floor, and nine percent from downtown in their second loss of the year, snapping a four-game win streak. They were without starters D.J. Hogg and Admon Gilder due to injuries, which led to their lackluster offensive performance. The Tide took advantage and got 17 points and six rebounds from Donta Hall, while the SEC's leading scorer, Collin Sexton, had 16 points on the night. Alabama improved to 9-4 overall this season, as they were able to rebound from a tough, 16-point loss to the Texas Longhorns.