SAN DIEGO — Shannon Brooks caught a tipped pass from Mitch Leidner for a 13-yard, go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and the Minnesota Golden Gophers, beset by turmoil after 10 players were suspended after a sexual assault investigation, upset Luke Falk and the Washington State Cougars 17-12 in the Holiday Bowl on Tuesday night.
It was one of the few exciting plays in an otherwise pedestrian edition of what traditionally has been one of the country's most exciting bowl games.
WSU cornerback Marcellus Pippins reached up with his right hand and deflected Leidner's pass in the end zone but it went right to Brooks for the TD and a 10-6 lead. That capped an 84-yard, 10-play drive on Minnesota's first possession of the second half.
The Golden Gophers (9-4) were looking to regroup after backing down from a threat to skip this game if 10 teammates suspended after a sexual assault investigation weren't reinstated. Their boycott lasted less than 36 hours, with university leadership never blinking. The players backed down amid pressure from many who read details of the allegations.
WSU (8-5) ended on a three-game losing streak and was held to its lowest point total of the season. The Cougars had scored more than 50 points four times this season, a school record.
The Golden Gophers frustrated Falk most of the game, holding him to 264 yards — 86 below his average — on 30-of-51 passing. Falk didn't crack 200 yards until the final minutes, when he led a drive capped by an 8-yard TD pass to Kyle Sweet. After three tries due to Minnesota penalties, the conversion attempt failed. Minnesota then recovered an onside kick.
Falk came in having completed 71 percent of his passes in throwing for 4,204 yards and 37 touchdowns. The Cougars were ranked second in the nation in passing.
Falk was intercepted by Adekunle Ayinde on fourth down with 3:05 left. That set up Rodney Smith's 9-yard TD run with 2:06 left for a 17-6 lead.
WSU lead 6-3 after a lackluster first half that included just three field goals.
The Cougars couldn't get their vaunted Air Raid offense going and crossed the 50 just twice, getting field goals of 26 and 41 yards by Erik Powell.
Powell's second field goal was set up when Nnamdi Oguayo hit Leidner and forced a fumble that Isaac Dotson recovered at the Golden Gophers' 38.
Minnesota got a 43-yard field goal by Emmit Carpenter in the second quarter.
Army 38, North Texas 31
DALLAS — Jordan Asberry ran for a 3-yard touchdown on fourth down in overtime, sending Army past North Texas in a rematch at the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Asberry's score was the sixth rushing touchdown in the game for the Black Knights (8-5) and 46th of the season.
Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 129 yards and a touchdown for Army while Darnell Woolfolk had 119 yards and two TDs.
North Texas (5-8) had its chance in overtime. But after Alec Morris scrambled for 4 yards and Jeffery Wilson lost 3, consecutive incomplete passes followed. Morris threw for 304 yards and three scores, but his desperation fourth-down throw on the run ended the game.
Wake Forest 34, Temple 26
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Wake Forest attached a positive ending to a season marred by scandal, using a strong performance by quarterback John Wolford to beat heavily favored Temple in the Military Bowl.
After throwing an interception on the first series of the game — a turnover Temple used to take a 7-0 lead — Wolford helped the Demon Deacons rattle off 31 straight points before halftime.
Wolford left with a neck strain in the third quarter with the score 31-17. Wake Forest (7-6) then withstood a comeback bid by Temple (10-4) to secure its first winning season since 2008.