EL PASO, Texas — Kalen Ballage returned a kickoff 96 yards to set up the winning score in No. 15 Arizona State’s 36-31 victory over Duke on Saturday in the Sun Bowl.
Ballage’s big return came after Duke (9-4) took a 31-30 lead on receiver Jamison Crowder’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Blakeney with 5:03 left.
On the kickoff, Ballage took the ball near the goal line and went straight up the right hash for about 15 yards before picking up a block and cutting to his right. He was pushed out of bounds at the 4.
On the next play, Demario Richard took a shovel pass from Taylor Kelly and bulled his way over the left side and into the end zone. Kelly was stopped on the 2-point conversion try.
Duke drove to 14 on its final drive, but Anthony Boone’s third-and-10 pass was intercepted by Kweishi Brown in the end zone with 45 seconds left.
Richard had four touchdowns for Arizona State (10-3) to tie the Sun Bowl record with 24 points.
Duke cut it to 30-24 with 10:10 left in the fourth on Boone’s 14-yard pass to Barnes.
Kelly threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Richard in the third and Zane Gonzalez added a 47-yard field with 2:23 left in the half to push Arizona State’s lead to 30-17.
No. 24 Southern California 45, No. 25 Nebraska 42: In San Diego, Adoree’ Jackson scored on a 98-yard kickoff return and a 71-yard pass from Cody Kessler, and Southern California blew most of an 18-point, third-quarter lead before beating Nebraska.
Kessler threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns for USC (9-4), which was playing Nebraska (9-4) in a bowl game for the first time.
USC stuffed De’Mornay Pierson on fourth-and-3 from the USC 31 with 21/2 minutes left. Nebraska had one final shot but Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s desperation pass as time ran out was knocked down inside the 10.
Armstrong had brought Nebraska back from a 45-27 deficit with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Westerkamp and a 15-yard keeper and a 2-point conversion pass to Kenny Bell.
Penn State 31, Boston College 30, OT: In New York, Christian Hackenberg hit Kyle Carter for a 10-yard touchdown pass in overtime and Penn State kicked the extra point that Boston College could not, lifting the Nittany Lions to a win in the Pinstripe Bowl.
The Nittany Lions (7-6) played in a bowl game for the first time since January 2012 after the NCAA lifted the most severe sanctions levied against the program in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Penn State’s Sam Ficken used retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s locker and some of his clutch postseason play appeared to rub off on the kicker.
He sent the game into OT with a 45-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in regulation and won it with his extra point.
Tyler Murphy hit David Dudeck for a 21-yard touchdown on Boston College’s first drive of overtime. Mike Knoll shanked the extra point for the Eagles (7-6) and that was the opening Penn State needed to complete its comeback.
Virginia Tech 33, Cincinnati 17: In Annapolis, Md., J.C. Coleman ran for 157 yards and a touchdown, and Virginia Tech harassed and ultimately injured Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel while rolling to a victory
The Hokies (7-6) knocked Kiel out of the game in the third quarter during a play that virtually assured the Hokies a 22nd consecutive winning season.
Deon Clarke sacked Kiel and forced a fumble at the Cincinnati 43. Nigel Williams picked up the ball and fumbled at the 12, where teammate Greg Stroman scooped it up and took it into the end zone for a 27-10 lead.
Kiel remained down for several minutes and was helped off the field before being taken to the locker room. The 6-foot-4 sophomore did not return, and without him Cincinnati (9-4) had little chance to mount a comeback.
Kiel finished 14-for-26 for 244 yards, but his three turnovers led to the end of Bearcats’ seven-game winning streak.
The Notre Dame transfer finished the season with 3,254 yards passing, the third-highest total in school history.
Michael Brewer went 14 for 24 for 94 yards and a touchdown to guide the Hokies to their highest point total since a 34-17 win at North Carolina on Oct. 4.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer worked in the upstairs coaching box to avoid the risk of infection during his recovery from throat surgery. The Hokies were making their 22nd consecutive bowl appearance under Beamer, whose last losing season at Tech was in 1992.
The Hokies opened the second half with a 75-yard drive for a touchdown and a 20-10 lead.
Coleman opened the possession with four carries for 43 yards before Brewer tossed a TD pass to tight end Ryan Malleck on third-and-goal from the 1.
Freshman Joey Slye kicked four field goals for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech led 13-10 at halftime despite a 307-148 deficit in yardage.