Texas A&M wins 1st bowl since 2001

Published: Saturday, Dec. 31 2011 11:00 p.m. MST

HOUSTON — Ryan Tannehill threw for 329 yards and a touchdown and Ben Malena ran for two more scores to lead Texas A&M to a 33-22 win over Northwestern on Saturday in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Northwestern led 7-3 early in the second quarter before A&M reeled off 27 straight points to take a decisive lead and then fight off a late rally to capture its first bowl victory since 2001.

Texas A&M broke a five-game bowl losing streak in a win the team dedicated to fired coach Mike Sherman and offensive lineman Joseph Villavisencio, who was killed in a car accident last week.

Malena ran for 77 yards, filling in ably for Cyrus Gray, who missed his second straight game with a stress fracture in his left shoulder.

Northwestern hasn't won a bowl game since the 1949 Rose Bowl, a span of nine losses.

LIBERTY BOWL: Cincinnati 31, Vanderbilt 24

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — IsaiahPead ran for 149 yards and a touchdown, and RalphDavidAbernathyIV's 90-yard kickoff return early in the fourth quarter put Cincinnati ahead to stay.

The Bearcats (10-3) capped the season with their third straight victory.

But the co-BigEast 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 ArchibaldBarnes blocked TonyMiliano's 39-yard field goal with 3:58 left, giving the Commodores the ball with plenty of time to go ahead. NickTemple picked off a LarrySmith pass with 3:15 remaining, and Pead sealed the victory with a 12-yard TD run with 1:52 left.


Iillinois 20, UCLA 14

SANFRANCISCO (AP) — TerryHawthorne returned an interception 39 yards for Illinois' first touchdown late in the third quarter and Illini snapped a six-game losing streak.

NathanScheelhaase 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 straight loss. KevinPrince threw two TD passes, including one in the closing minute to NelsonRosario after the game had been decided.

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