GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Joe Burrow watched the ball land in an opposing player’s hands and immediately gave chase. Locked in on preventing a pick six, LSU’s quarterback didn’t see Joey Connors, Central Florida’s 313-pound defensive lineman, bearing down on him.

With a thunderous, blindside collision , Burrow found himself flat on his back, woozy and wondering what happened.

Minutes later, after being helped to his feet, Burrow was back on the field, hitting receivers all over the field.

The nation’s longest winning streak was over. So was a second self-proclaimed national championship.

The LSU Tigers were Fiesta Bowl champions, thanks to their gritty junior quarterback.

Burrow shook off the big early hit to throw for 394 yards and four touchdowns, helping No. 11 LSU end No. 7 UCF’s 25-game winning streak with a 40-32 victory in the Fiesta Bowl on Tuesday.

LSU (10-3, No. 11 CFP) started its first Fiesta Bowl without several key players on defense and fell into an early 11-point hole against the high-scoring Knights (12-1, No. 8 CFP).

The Tigers clawed back behind Burrow and a defensive front that made life difficult for UCF quarterback Darriel Mack Jr.

Burrow returned from the early blindside hit to pick apart UCF’s secondary, hitting 21 of 34 of passes, including two touchdowns to Justin Jefferson.

LSU sacked Mack five times and made him rush numerous throws, holding the nation’s third-best offense to 250 total yards — 295 below its average — while spoiling the Knights’ bid for a second straight self-proclaimed national title.

Taj McGowan scored on a 2-yard run and the Knights converted a 2-point conversion to pull UCF to within 40-32. After LSU recovered the onside kick, the Knights’ last-ditch attempt finished with a tipped interception, ending a run that started after a loss in the 2016 Cure Bowl.

“Obviously, everyone in the locker room is really upset,” UCF defensive lineman Mason Colubiale. “We haven’t lost a game since 2016.”

UCF declared itself national champions after finishing as the only undefeated FBS team a year ago. The Knights earned another shot at an undefeated season by staging a massive rally to beat Memphis in the American Athletic Conference title game.

But just like last year, UCF was on the outside looking in when the College Football Playoff final four was announced, adding to the boulder-sized chip on its shoulder and only a self-awarded national title in its reach.

The Speedy Knights got the Fiesta Bowl off to a fast start, going up 14-3 on Greg McCrae’s 25-yard TD run and Brandon Moore’s 93-yard interception return.

The Tigers roared back behind Burrow and their disruptive defensive front.

Burrow shook off the big hit on the pick six, finding Jefferson on a pair of scoring passes and a 49-yard TD to Derrick Dillon.

UCF sputtered offensively after its opening drive, but Mack hit Gabriel Davis on a 32-yard pass in the closing seconds to pull UCF to within 24-21 at halftime.

Burrow opened the second half with a 32-yard TD pass to Ja’Marr Chase, and Cole Tracy hit three field goals to put LSU up 40-24. Tracy’s final kick, the 97th of his career, broke the NCAA all-division record and ended the nation’s fourth-longest winning streak since 2000.

Citrus Bowl

Kentucky 27, Penn State 24

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Winning 10 games, beating Penn State on New Year’s Day, and finishing in the Top 20 is no small deal for the Kentucky Wildcats.

So when Mark Stoops took a seat on the podium flanked by linebacker Josh Allen and running back Benny Snell Jr. after Tuesday’s 27-24 victory in the Citrus Bowl, the coach understandably was beyond excited.

“It was extremely important to this team, to all of us, to come home with some hardware, to come home with a trophy,” Stoops said.

Snell ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns to become Kentucky’s career rushing leader and helped the 16th-ranked Wildcats end their best season in more than four decades on a winning note.

Snell scored on runs of 2 and 12 yards in the second half, then carried for a couple of crucial first downs to help Kentucky (10-3) run out the clock after Penn State’s Trace McSorley trimmed a 27-7 deficit to three points despite playing with a foot injury.

McSorley threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns, and the Nittany Lions’ career passing and wins leader also rushed for a team-high 75 yards and one TD.

Lynn Bowden Jr. scored on a 58-yard punt return for Kentucky. Allen, the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year, had three of the Wildcats’ six sacks.

Penn State (9-4) trailed 27-7 entering the fourth quarter, but McSorley’s wasn’t finished. His 1-yard TD run capped a 75-yard drive, and he followed with an 18-yard TD pass to Pat Friermuth to cut Kentucky’s lead to six.

The Nittany Lions marched to the Kentucky 14 on their next possession and pulled within 27-24 with 4:12 left.

Thanks to Snell, a junior who already has declared for the NFL draft, McSorley didn’t get the ball back until just one second was left on the clock.

Franklin declined to discuss specifics of McSorley’s injury.

Outback Bowl

Iowa 27, Mississippi State 22

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Iowa Hawkeyes lost a yard on the last play of the Outback Bowl, pushing their final rushing total to minus 15 yards, and didn’t mind a bit.

They ran the play from victory formation.

Safety Jake Gervase’s interception in the end zone helped preserve a late lead, and a ball-hawking defense compensated for a sputtering offense as Iowa beat No. 18 Mississippi State 27-22 on Tuesday.

Gervase also batted down an errant fourth-down pass to end the Bulldogs’ final drive at the Iowa 32 with 25 seconds left. Two earlier Mississippi State threats in the fourth quarter led to only three points.

The Hawkeyes totaled just 199 yards, with 75 coming on a touchdown pass from Nathan Stanley to Nick Easley , but they converted three takeaways into 17 points.

The Hawkeyes won despite losing 27 inches per rush. Their three running backs totaled 4 yards in 15 carries.

Iowa (9-4) earned its biggest postseason victory since an Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech to cap the 2009 season. Mississippi State (8-5) lost to a team outside the top 15 for the first time.

A takeaway helped Iowa score two touchdowns in 97 seconds for a 17-6 lead — especially impressive against a team that allowed only 12 TDs during the regular season.

Mississippi State rallied with two touchdowns in 18 seconds to go up 19-17. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald gave the Bulldogs the advantage on a nifty 33-yard touchdown run , his 100th career score rushing or passing.

But on their next possession, Fitzgerald’s tipped pass was intercepted by defensive lineman Chauncey Golston. Stanley then scrambled to convert a fourth and 1, and on the next play he hit Easley with an 8-yard score to put Iowa ahead to stay, 24-19.


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