SAN ANTONIO — David Ash wasn’t sure he would start the Alamo Bowl. No one will remember after the way he finished Texas’ rocky season with a validating and dazzling victory.
The sophomore threw a 36-yard touchdown strike to Marquise Goodwin with 2:24 left for the last of two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, stunning No. 15 Oregon State and lifting the Longhorns to a 31-27 comeback victory Saturday night.
The Longhorns (9-4) never led before Goodwin scored his second touchdown on a deep post pattern, just a down after Texas converted a fourth-and-1 play to keep its chances alive.
“I guess in in every situation you have to be thankful,” said Ash, who was pulled in a loss to TCU a month ago and wasn’t immediately selected the starter for the Alamo Bowl. “I learned a lot at TCU. It was a tough situation I was in. I was just really thankful I got another opportunity to play a game I love.”
With Texas down 20-10 at halftime, Longhorns coach Mack Brown said he told his players they would win.
“I told them this it wasn’t going to be easy, but I told them this game was ours and we would win it,” Brown said. “This one is really special.”
Storm Woods ran for 118 yards and scored two touchdowns for the Beavers (9-4), who left stunned after looking as though they would wrap up their first 10-win season since 2006.
“Not to take anything away from Texas, that was a great team offensively and defensively,” Wood said. “In the first half we had a great style of football. In the second half, Texas made some adjustments and I guess, they just wanted it more.”
The victory was a dose of much-needed good news for Texas after coming into the game under a cloud of questions following the suspensions of backup quarterback Case McCoy and injured linebacker Jordan Hicks.
Ash, whose been pulled at times for McCoy this season, was 21 of 33 for 241 yards. Ash sputtered until the fourth quarter, when he went 9 for 11 for 146 yards. Even if there were doubts about Ash before then, Texas had no choice but to stick with him: the only backups were two redshirt freshmen who haven’t taken a snap all season.
Arizona State 62, Navy 28: At San Francisco, Taylor Kelly threw four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth score to help Arizona State rout Navy for the Sun Devils’ first bowl win in seven years.
Offensive MVP Marion Grice ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns for the Sun Devils (8-5), who used their fast-paced spread offense to score touchdowns on their first nine possessions.
That helped provided a bright end to a successful first season at Arizona State for coach Todd Graham, who helped the Sun Devils win their most games since 2007 and win a bowl for the first time since the 2005 Insight Bowl against Rutgers.
The Midshipmen (8-5) have lost five of their last six bowl games.
Syracuse 38, West Virginia 14: At New York, Prince-Tyson Gulley ran for a career-best 208 yards and had three touchdowns, Syracuse scored twice on safeties and the Orange bid a snow-covered farewell to the Big East with a victory over West Virginia.
Syracuse (8-5) will enter the Atlantic Coast Conference on a roll after finishing this season with six wins in its last seven games, capped by its second postseason victory at Yankee Stadium in the last three years.
The Orange leaned on their running game to plow through former Big East rival West Virginia (7-6) and the snow. Jerome Smith added 157 yards rushing, and Syracuse finished with a season-high 369 yards.
Rice 33, Air Force 14: Fort Worth, Texas, freshman Driphus Jackson threw for 264 yards in relief injured starter Taylor McHargue, including two touchdown passes to Jordan Taylor, and Rice beat Air Force.
Jackson’s first series after taking over for McHargue ended with a bad pitch for a fumble near the goal line only two seconds before halftime, when the Owls (7-6) trailed 14-7.
But Jackson made up for it after halftime, when Rice scored 26 straight points. Taylor caught nine passes for 153 yards, with a 16-yard TD pass from McHargue in the first quarter.
Air Force (6-7), which scored on consecutive drives in the second quarter with backup quarterback Kale Pearson in the game, was held to a season-low 214 total yards.
Michigan State 17, Texas Christian University 16: Tempe, Ariz., Dan Conroy kicked a 47-yard field goal with 1:01 left, Le’Veon Bell ran for 145 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown, and Michigan State rallied for the win.
Michigan State (7-6) labored through the first half before going on the longest drive in the school’s bowl history, a 90-yard march capped by freshman Connor Cook’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Burbridge in the third quarter. The Spartans recovered a muffed punt by TCU’s Skye Dawson at the 4-yard line midway through the fourth quarter and Bell scored two plays later by racing around left end for a 14-13 lead.
TCU (7-6) rallied to set up Jaden Overkrom for a 53-yard field goal with 2:42 left, but left Conroy too much time for his second straight postseason game-winner after beating Georgia with a 28-yard kick in the third overtime of last year’s Outback Bowl.