Jeff Rowe scored on a 4-yard naked bootleg in overtime to lead Nevada to a 49-48 victory over Central Florida in the Hawaii Bowl on Saturday...
HONOLULU — Jeff Rowe scored on a 4-yard naked bootleg in overtime to lead Nevada to a 49-48 victory over Central Florida in the Hawaii Bowl on Saturday night.
UCF kicker Matt Prater, who had three field goals in the game, missed the potential game-tying extra point wide right, giving the Wolf Pack the victory.
Nevada players poured on the field as Central Florida players looked stunned.
B.J. Mitchell ran for 178 yards and two touchdowns, and Robert Hubbard had 126 yards rushing and three touchdowns for the Wolf Pack (9-3), which finished with its best season since 1996 and spoiled Central Florida’s bowl debut.
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UCF’s Brandon Mitchell caught a 16-yard pass for a touchdown that tied the score at 42 with 55 seconds left in regulation. The score capped a four-play, 48-yard drive that took just 37 seconds.
Prater booted a 46-yard field goal with 1:32 left to leave UCF trailing 42-35, and the Golden Knights recovered the onside kick with no timeouts left to set up Mitchell’s dramatic catch that sent the game to overtime.
Trailing 32-28, the Wolf Pack took the lead on Hubbard’s 5-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Nevada scored again on Rowe’s 7-yard scoring pass to Travis Branzell for a 42-32 lead with 3:18 remaining.
However, Central Florida refused to give up.
Earlier this season, the Golden Knights (8-5) ended what was the nation’s longest Division I-A losing streak at 17 games. After going 0-11 last year, they were trying to tie the 1940 Stanford team for the second-biggest, one-season turnaround in NCAA football history.
Kevin Smith had 202 yards rushing and three touchdowns for the Golden Knights, who went 700 days without a win before defeating Marshall 23-13 in the third game of the season.
The Golden Knights took a 32-28 lead late in the third quarter on Smith’s 3-yard scoring run. The touchdown capped a six-play, 74-yard drive that was kept alive by a late hit, pass interference and roughing the passer penalties against Nevada.
Nevada, making its first postseason appearance since the 1996 Las Vegas Bowl and sixth overall, led 28-20 at halftime.
The Wolf Pack, who shared the Western Athletic Conference title with Boise State, had 219 yards rushing in the first half, including 102 by Mitchell and 83 by Hubbard.
Central Florida’s Jason Peters, a junior who was a record-setting running back at Evergreen High School of White Center, carried nine times for 42 yards.
The game drew a crowd of 16,134.
• Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said he is ready to play in Tuesday’s Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla., after surgery Dec. 1 on his right shoulder. But Colorado quarterback Joel Klatt, recovering from a concussion against Texas on Dec. 3, won’t start. Interim head coach Mike Hankwitz of the Buffaloes said backup James Cox will start.
• Louisiana-Monroe’s Steven Jyles passed for 80 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 31 yards to lead the White to a 19-7 victory over the Red in the Magnolia Gridiron All-Star Classic in Jackson, Miss.
The White team included Division I-A seniors whose teams either didn’t qualify for or already played in bowl games. The Red team had players from Division I-AA, II and III and other schools, and both teams also had NAIA players.