Oregon crushes Texas in Alamo Bowl in Brown’s farewell
Oregon's Josh Huff, left, dives for a touchdown against Texas during the second quarter of the Valero Alamo Bowl NCAA college football game, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in San Antonio. Texas' Quandre Diggs (6) looks to make the stop. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace (14) scrambles past Georgia Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu (45) in the second quarter of the NCAA college football Music City Bowl game on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace warms up on the sideline before going back into the game in the first quarter of the NCAA college football Music City Bowl against Georgia Tech on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mississippi wide receiver Donte Moncrief, left, celebrates with Quincy Adeboyejo, right, after Moncrief scored a touchdown on a 28-yard pass against Georgia Tech in the second quarter of the NCAA college football Music City Bowl game on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mississippi wide receiver Donte Moncrief runs the ball into the end zone as he scores a touchdown on a 28-yard pass play against Georgia Tech in the second quarter of the NCAA college football Music City Bowl game on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mississippi defensive back Tony Conner, left, breaks up a pass intended for Georgia Tech wide receiver DeAndre Smelter (15) in the second quarter of the NCAA college football Music City Bowl game on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee (2) passes against Mississippi in the second quarter of the NCAA college football Music City Bowl game on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mississippi head coach Hugh Freeze watches the action in the second quarter of the NCAA college football Music City Bowl against Georgia Tech on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mississippi defensive back Chief Brown, right, rushes Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee in the second quarter of the NCAA college football Music City Bowl game on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Quarterback Marcus Mariota had 386 total yards and No. 10 Oregon returned two interceptions for touchdowns, spoiling Texas Coach Mack Brown’s farewell with a runaway 30-7 victory in the Alamo Bowl last night.
The BCS-snubbed Ducks (11-2) dominated throughout even though their famously high-powered offense scored just one touchdown, when Josh Huff turned a short pass from Mariota into a spectacular 16-yard sprint to the end zone.
Brown received warm goodbyes from a sellout crowd in what was practically a home game for Texas (8-5). Even the school marching band spelled his name at halftime.
But the blowout was a final reminder of why Brown is resigning after 16 seasons at Texas, which he led to a national championship in 2005 but couldn’t reverse a sharp decline in recent years.
Walking off the field for the last time, Brown flashed the “Hook ’em Horns” hand signal to the scattered remaining Texas fans who stuck around to the end of another humbling loss this season.
Mariota led all rushers with 133 yards on 15 carries, making sure Oregon eased the sting of not playing in a BCS bowl for the first time in five years. He was 18 of 26 for 253 yards passing in his Heisman Trophy campaign tuneup for 2014, having announced earlier this month that he was coming back for his junior season.
Yet even Mariota was outscored by Oregon’s defense – and so was Texas, for that matter.
Oregon’s first touchdown came on the third play of the game when safety Avery Patterson intercepted an overthrown pass by Texas quarterback Case McCoy and returned it 37 yards to the end zone. McCoy later bookended a dismal performance in his final game with another pick-six, this one returned 38 yards by linebacker Derrick Malone that sent waves of burnt orange-clad fans streaming for the exits.
McCoy scored on a 1-yard rush in the first quarter for Texas’ only touchdown. He finished 8 of 17 for 48 yards and was pulled at times in the second half for freshman Tyrone Swoopes.
Running back Malcolm Brown was the lone offensive constant for Texas, finishing with 130 yards on 26 carries.
Far from the uplifting send-off Texas wanted for Brown, the school now shifts its focus to finding a replacement. New Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said before kickoff that he wants a successor by Jan. 15.
Patterson said coaches interested in the job have come forward but wouldn’t discuss potential candidates.
“There’s interest that’s sincere, and there’s interest that’s ‘Help me find a better contract,’ ” Patterson said.
Whoever Texas hires shouldn’t expect patience from a fanbase that grew accustomed to winning under Brown, and then became restless as the Longhorns slid from perennial BCS contention. Brown arrived in 1998 and went 128-27 by the end of 2009, when the Longhorns lost to Alabama in its second BCS title game in five years.
He goes out, however, 30-21 in his final four seasons.
Texas could do a lot worse than look to Oregon for how to pull off a coaching transition.
Although first-year Coach Mark Helfrich couldn’t get the Ducks to a BCS bowl as Chip Kelly did in each of his four seasons, Oregon still finished with a fourth consecutive year of 11 or more victories. This was the Ducks’ third consecutive bowl win.
Playing before New Year’s Day was a disappointing consolation for the Ducks after entering November unbeaten and ranked No. 2. Losing to Stanford dashed their national title hopes, but they’ll be favorites to contend again in 2014 with Mariota back.
Seldom has the Alamo Bowl hosted blowouts like this in recent years. Seven of the previous eight games had been decided by a touchdown or less before heavily favored Oregon ended that run of drama before the second-largest crowd in the bowl’s 20-year history.
MUSIC CITY BOWL
Mississippi 25, Georgia Tech 17
Bo Wallace ran for two touchdowns and threw for another score as Mississippi beat Georgia Tech in the Music City Bowl for the Rebels’ second straight bowl victory under Coach Hugh Freeze.
The junior quarterback and Tennessee native made up for his three turnovers in the Egg Bowl overtime loss by throwing for 256 yards and running for 86 more, giving him the school record for total yards in a season and most completions in a season, topping Eli Manning for both.
Ole Miss (8-5) now has won six straight bowls and 10 of the last 11 in making up for the lone loss in that stretch in the 2000 Music City Bowl.
Georgia Tech (7-6) has lost eight of nine bowls. The Yellow Jackets scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as they tried to rally before a safety with 4:22 left ended their last chance.
ARMED FORCES BOWL
Navy 24, Middle Tennessee St. 6
Keenan Reynolds ran for two more touchdowns and Navy won for only the second time its last seven bowl games, beating Middle Tennessee State in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Reynolds had a 3-yard score to cap the opening drive for Navy (9-4), and added a 1-yarder in the fourth quarter. Already with the NCAA record for touchdowns rushing by a quarterback, Reynolds upped his total to 31 to match Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs, also a sophomore, for the national lead this season.
Middle Tennessee (8-5) was held to a season-low for points. The Blue Raiders finished the regular season with a five-game winning streak, averaging nearly 43 points a game in that stretch.
The Midshipmen overcame two fumbles inside the 20 by Reynolds, their first turnovers in six games, and won their fifth straight game.