NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Central Michigan’s miracle comeback fell just short Cooper Rush’s record-setting day in the inaugural Bahamas Bowl.
Down by 35 points with 12 minutes remaining, Central Michigan (7-6) scored the final five touchdowns of the game, including a three-lateral, 75-yard dazzler as time expired. But Western Kentucky (8-5) escaped with a 49-48 victory Wednesday when Rush’s 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.
Rush threw a bowl-record seven touchdown passes in the first college football postseason game played outside the U.S. or Canada since Jan. 1, 1937. He was 28 of 45 for 485 yards.
On the late touchdown play, Rush threw deep to Jesse Kroll, who caught the ball between three defenders at the 29. Kroll advanced slightly before lateraling to Deon Butler, who got it to Courtney Williams just before getting tackled. Williams then tossed the ball to Titus Davis, who caught it at the 15 and outran three Western Kentucky players to the end zone. On the conversion pass for the win, Rush tried to find Kroll again, but the play was broken up by Western Kentucky’s Wonderful Terry.
Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty threw five touchdown pass to increase his nation-leading total to 49. He was 31 of 42.
RICE 30, FRESNO STATE 6
HONOLULU (AP) — Driphus Jackson passed for 318 yards and three touchdowns, and Rice completed a remarkable turnaround with a victory over Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl.
The Owls (8-5) started the season 0-3 and ended it with their second bowl win in the last three years.
Jackson was accurate with his arm, especially on two deep sideline routes, and dangerous with his feet. He rushed for 41 yards and some key scrambles out of trouble.
Fresno State (6-8), the only team with a losing record to play a bowl game this year, broke its Hawaii Bowl record for fewest points. Fresno State scored 10 points two years ago in a lopsided loss to SMU. It was the fewest points Fresno State scored all year.
The Bulldogs lost to Rice for the first time — they had a 6-0 edge from their old WAC days — and dropped their sixth consecutive bowl game.
Rice piled up 463 yards and held Fresno State to 93 yards passing. Brian Burrell was 10 of 20 for 44 yards and didn’t complete a pass longer than 8 yards.