ARLINGTON, Texas: Spencer Rattler threw three touchdowns and ran for another score, Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for 186 yards and the No.8 Oklahoma beat the 10th finalist in SEC, Florida, 55-20 on Wednesday evening at the Cotton Bowl.
Returning to the same NFL stadium where, 11 days earlier, they had won their sixth straight Big 12 title, the Sooners (9-2, No.6 CFP) took a 17-0 lead in the Seven first few minutes. The 55 points were their highest in a bowling game, while racking up a record 684 total yards.
Rattler threw a 27-yard TD pass to fellow freshman Marvin Mims in the first practice of games, and the Floridas’ first possession ended with a 45-yard interception return from Tre Norwoods for a touchdown. It was the first of three picks thrown by Heisman Trophy quarterback finalist Kyle Trask in the first quarter, after just five all season.
Oklahoma played its sixth straight New Years Six Bowl game, but the past three seasons had lost the college football playoff semifinals while averaging 54 points to various SEC teams.
The Sooners finished this season with an eight-game winning streak. They had started 0-2 in the Big 12 game for the first time since 1998, effectively knocking them out of the playoff competition in mid-October.
These Gators (8-4, No.7 CFP) were very different from the squad which, just 11 days earlier, had fallen 52-46 to No.1 Alabama in the title game of the SEC, and averaged nearly 42 points per game.
Rattler was the fourth starting quarterback in as many seasons to lead Oklahoma to a Big 12 title, the first to start his career in the program rather than transfer. He was 14 of 23 passes for 247 yards and ran for 40 yards.
BOL MAYO DU DUC
WISCONSIN 42, WAKE FOREST 28
CHARLOTTE, NC: Graham Mertz had three touchdowns and Wisconsin turned four second-half interceptions into 21 points to beat Wake Forest n the Dukes Mayo Bowl.
Mertz threw for 130 yards and ran for two short touchdowns for Wisconsin (4-3). The freshman in the red shirt dropped the football-shaped crystal trophy while dancing around the locker room in celebration, leaving it shattered after falling from its base.
With the game tied at 21 at the end of the third quarter, Noah Burks intercepted Sam Hartman’s pass and returned it 41 yards to set up a 14-yard strike from Mertz to Mason Stokke. Hartman’s assists were also taken from the next three possessions.
Scott Nelson had a 60-yard interception return, and Collin Wilder returned a 72-yard pick to set up short TD runs that gave the Badgers a 42-21 lead.
Jack Sanborn had 11 tackles and one interception and was the game’s MVP.
Wake Forest (4-5) topped Wisconsin 518-266 in offense, but the Badgers had 176 return yards from interceptions.