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Bowl roundup: Irish, behind Tyler Buchner (5 TDs), rally in Gator Bowl

Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Tyler Buchner (12) is awarded with his MVP game trophy after Friday night's victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks. The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish took on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl game in Jacksonville, Florida's TIAA Bank Field Friday, December 30, 2022.

Tyler Buchner passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more while connecting with Mitchell Evans for a go-ahead, 16-yard TD pass with 1:38 left to boost Notre Dame to a 45-38 victory against South Carolina on Friday at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla.

No. 21 Notre Dame outgained No. 19 South Carolina 558-352, establishing a program bowl record for yardage in the highest-scoring Gator Bowl in history. The Fighting Irish (9-4) erased a two-touchdown deficit to close the season with six wins in their final seven games.

South Carolina (8-5) was forced to punt on five of its first six second-half possessions, but those struggles were rendered moot when the Gamecocks’ O’Donnell Fortune returned a Buchner interception 100 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 38 with 7:42 to play.

Buchner was 18-for-33 passing for 274 yards and three interceptions while gaining 61 yards on 12 carries. South Carolina counterpart Spencer Rattler led the Gamecocks into Notre Dame territory in the final minute, but penalties pushed the team back. Rattler was 29-for-44 for 246 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

No. 6 Tennessee 31, No. 7 Clemson 14

Joe Milton III passed for 251 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Volunteers to a victory over the Tigers in the Orange Bowl at Miami Gardens, Fla.

Squirrel White caught nine passes for 108 yards and one touchdown and Bru McCoy and Ramel Keyton also had scoring receptions for Tennessee (11-2). Jabari Small rushed for a touchdown while Aaron Beasley and Byron Young each had two sacks as the Volunteers achieved their first 11-win season since 2001.

Clemson’s Cade Klubnik connected on 30 of 54 passes for 320 yards and two interceptions and also rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown in his first career start. Joseph Ngata had eight catches for 84 yards for the Tigers (11-3).

Pitt 37, No. 18 UCLA 35

Ben Sauls set a Sun Bowl record by going 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts, including the game-winning, 47-yard attempt with four seconds remaining to elevate the Panthers to a late win over the Bruins in El Paso, Texas.

Pitt (9-4) scored 20 straight points in the second half, rallying from down 28-14 after Jaylin Davies’ 52-yard pick-6 in the third quarter for UCLA (9-4), to pull ahead 34-28. But after a failed fourth-down conversion try with just over two minutes left, the Panthers gave up a 70-yard drive, resulting in the Bruins’ lone offensive TD of the second half.

T.J. Harden, filling in for Pac-12 Conference-leading rusher Zach Charbonnet as UCLA’s primary ball-carrier, capped a 111-yard day with a go-ahead 8-yard score with 34 seconds remaining. But with no timeouts remaining, Pitt drove 46 yards in 30 seconds to set up the winning kick. Quarterback Nick Patti went 20-of-41 for 232 yards for Pitt.

Maryland 16, No. 23 North Carolina State 12

Taulia Tagovailoa connected with Octavian Smith Jr. for the only touchdown of the game to give the Terrapins a victory over the Wolfpack in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.

Tagovailoa completed 19 of 37 throws for 221 yards with two interceptions, reaching 665 career completions to set a program record. Roman Hemby ran for 65 yards for Maryland (8-5), which had its first eight-win season since 2010 and earned bowl wins in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-03.

NC State’s Christopher Dunn, the 2022 Lou Groza Award winner as the top placekicker in college football, went 4-for-4 on field goals to account for all of his team’s points. The Maryland defense held the Wolfpack to just 27 rushing yards on 18 attempts.

Ohio 30, Wyoming 27 (OT)

CJ Harris’ 10-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Foster handed the Bobcats an overtime win over the Cowboys in the Arizona Bowl at Tucson, Ariz.

Harris, who completed 20 of 33 attempts for 184 yards and two touchdowns, found Foster in the back of the end zone over defender Shae Suiaunoa. Sieh Bangura rushed for 138 yards on 25 carries with a touchdown for Ohio (10-4), which reached 10 wins in a season for the first time since 2011.

Wyoming’s opening possession in overtime ended with John Hoyland’s 29-yard field goal after the Cowboys stalled. Redshirt freshman Jordon Vaughn, who did not play in a game during the regular season, rushed for two touchdowns, including a 5-yard run with 2:08 left in regulation that put Wyoming (7-6) ahead 24-21.

–Field Level Media