Mississippi wins BBVA Compass Bowl | College football
Bo Wallace threw three touchdown passes and Mississippi beat Pittsburgh 38-17 in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Hugh Freeze needed one season to make a winner out of a Mississippi program that was woeful in 2011.
The coach noted with satisfaction that most experts didn't predict such dramatic improvement in his first season.
Bo Wallace threw three touchdown passes and Ole Miss beat Pittsburgh 38-17 in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday to complete an impressive turnaround.
Ole Miss (7-6) posted a five-victory improvement over its 2-10 finish in 2011.
"I've tried to learn not to make too much out of a single game either way, but no question this advances our journey a bit," Freeze said. "To be where we're sitting here year one far surpasses certainly the prognosticators and whatever they had for us. Our guys really chose to buy in and determine we could be who we want to be. We don't have to have someone else determine that."
The bowl victory was especially satisfying for veteran players who had no postseason last year, when Houston Nutt was the coach.
"The best thing is, our program is moving in the right direction," said junior linebacker Mike Marry, who had four of the Rebels' 11 tackles for losses. "We're not where we want to be right now, but we're moving there."
Freeze's no-huddle offense produced 38 first downs and 387 yards. Pitt was limited to 266 yards, its second-lowest total of the season.
"Obviously, it was a tough one for us," said Panthers coach Paul Chryst, also completing his first season. "Give Ole Miss credit. They beat us in almost every phase. They were clearly the better team."
Wallace, voted the game's most valuable player, completed 22 of 32 passes for 151 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He judged his performance as average.
"I played OK. Nothing just crazy," Wallace said. "I felt really good at the start of the game and then had the two interceptions and just had to bounce back from it."
Pitt (6-7) struggled on offense as leading rusher Ray Graham was held out with a hamstring injury he suffered in bowl practice.
"We just couldn't get in a rhythm, probably because of their pressure," said Pitt receiver Mike Shanahan, who had a 16-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
North Dakota State
wins title again
FRISCO, Texas — The North Dakota State Bison have a second consecutive Football Championship Series title in what is becoming their second home.
Backed by more than 10,000 fans in the same stadium where they beat Sam Houston State a year ago, the Bison outnumbered their Texas counterparts in the stands and outplayed them on the field — again.
Quarterback Brock Jensen ran for three touchdowns — including the go-ahead score in the third quarter not long after a holding penalty wiped out a touchdown that would have given Sam Houston the lead — and Sam Ojuri scored twice in a 39-13 victory.
The field turned into a pep-rally venue for the Bison (14-1) afterward as thousands of fans joined a trophy presentation on a stage.
"Let's go, Bison!" coach Craig Bohl shouted while holding up a Bison hand signal that could be mistaken for the Texas Longhorns' "Hook 'Em Horns" sign in the Lone Star State.
"Best fans in America!"
The Bison won last season's title game 17-6. The Bearkats (11-4) got to this final by winning 45-42 at Eastern Washington on Dec. 15.
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