ATLANTA — Playing without its top quarterback and running back, Auburn used tandems at each position to set a season scoring high and beat Virginia 43-24 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Saturday night.
Auburn was without running back Mike Dyer, who was suspended for an undisclosed rules violation. Quarterback Clint Moseley left with an ankle injury early in the first quarter.
Onterio McCalebb, who said this week he wanted to “show everybody I can do it all,” scored on a 3-yard run and 25-yard catch while starting for Dyer. McCalebb had 109 yards rushing. Tre Mason added 64 yards rushing, including a 22-yard scoring run.
The offensive outburst came in Auburn’s last game with offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who has been hired as the Arkansas State coach.
Barrett Trotter passed for 175 yards and a touchdown while sharing time with Kiehl Frazier, who ran for two touchdowns.
Auburn (8-5) also had big plays on special teams, blocking two punts and recovering an onside kick.
Kris Burd caught two touchdown passes for Virginia (8-5).
One year after winning the national championship – and losing Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton – Auburn absorbed lopsided losses to Louisiana State University, Georgia and Alabama in the second half of the regular season.
After the loss to Alabama, defensive coordinator Ted Roof left for the same post at Central Florida.
CINCINNATI 31, VANDERBILT 24
In Memphis,Tenn., Isaiah Pead ran for 149 yards and a touchdown, and Ralph David Abernathy IV’s 90-yard kickoff return early in the fourth quarter put Cincinnati ahead to stay as the Bearcats edged Vanderbilt.
The Bearcats (10-3) capped the season with their third consecutive victory.
But the co-Big East Conference champs had to work to put away Vanderbilt (6-7), a team that tied for fourth in the Southeastern Conference, despite forcing three turnovers and coming up with two sacks.
The Commodores led 21-17 when Abernathy became the first Cincinnati player to return a kickoff for a TD in the program’s 13 bowl appearances.
Vandy’s Archibald Barnes blocked Tony Miliano’s 39-yard field goal with 3:58 left, giving the Commodores the ball with plenty of time to go ahead. Nick Temple picked off a Larry Smith pass with 3:15 remaining, and Pead sealed the victory with a 12-yard TD run with 1:52 left.
Pead was the game’s MVP.
Vanderbilt kicked a 35-yard field goal with 35 seconds left, but the Bearcats recovered the onside kick to kneel down for the victory.
Zach Collaros, playing for the first time since breaking his right ankle Nov. 12, threw a touchdown pass but was intercepted twice. He was just 12 of 29 for 80 yards passing, though he moved around well.
Vanderbilt missed notching only its second winning record since 1982 with the loss.
Smith replaced Jordan Rodgers at quarterback in the third quarter, and he threw for 142 yards, including a short pass to Chris Boyd that the receiver took 68 yards up the right sideline before pulling up lame and diving into the end zone for a 21-17 lead with 14:03 left that lasted only as long as Abernathy could sprint down field after the kickoff.
FIGHT HUNGER BOWL
ILLINOIS 20, UCLA 14
In San Francisco, Terry Hawthorne returned an interception 39 yards for Illinois’ first touchdown late in the third quarter and the Illini snapped a six-game losing streak by beating UCLA.
Nathan Scheelhaase added a 60-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Jenkins midway through the fourth quarter to seal the first victory for Illinois (7-6) since beating Indiana 12 weeks ago.
The game between two six-win teams who have already fired their head coaches matched the underwhelming expectations as there was little excitement before Hawthorne’s third-quarter touchdown that gave Illinois its first lead.
UCLA (6-8) was held to 18 yards rushing in its third loss in a row. Kevin Prince threw two TD passes, including one in the closing minute to Nelson Rosario after the game had been decided.
NO. 19 OKLAHOMA 31, IOWA 14
In Tempe, Ariz., Oklahoma dodged a big rally and a falling camera to pull out a gritty win.
Blake Bell ran for his third touchdown in the closing seconds and the Sooners survived a late rally, not to mention the crashing camera, to close out a difficult season with a victory over Iowa.
Oklahoma (10-3) didn’t get a particularly great game from quarterback Landry Jones and wasn’t effective on the ground, either. Once considered national-title contenders, the Sooners held off the gritty Hawkeyes, capping a painful year that started with the death of linebacker Austin Box in the off-season.
Jones threw for 161 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and Bell put the game away with a 21-yard touchdown run with 45 seconds left.
Iowa (7-6) fell into a 21-0 hole before rallying behind two touchdown passes from James Vandenberg. The Hawkeyes came up just short and dodged a potential disaster when an overhead camera crashed to the field next to receiver Marvin McNutt in the closing minutes. McNutt became tangled in the wire after the camera landed a few yards behind him, but wasn’t hurt. The game was delayed 5 minutes while the camera was dragged off the field.