CHARLOTTE — Brendon Kay threw for 332 yards and a Belk Bowl-record four touchdowns, and Cincinnati capitalized on Duke’s inept play in the closing minutes to beat the Blue Devils 48-34 on Thursday night.
Duke appeared to have the game in hand and was driving for the go-ahead score — and its first bowl victory since 1961 — but the final 80 seconds proved disastrous.
With the game tied at 34 and the Blue Devils positioning themselves for a winning field goal, running back Josh Snead fumbled at the Cincinnati 5-yard line with 1:20 left and Bearcats defensive lineman John Williams recovered.
Kay then connected with tight end Travis Kelce on an 83-yard touchdown strike down the middle with 44 seconds left for the go-ahead score.
Cincinnati (10-3) sealed it on the next series when Maalik Bomar came crashing into Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, forcing a deflection that Nick Temple returned 55 yards for a touchdown.
Renfree threw for 358 yards — another Belk Bowl record — for the Blue Devils (6-7).
NO. 24 SAN JOSE STATE 29, BOWLING GREEN 20
At Washington, David Fales completed 33 of 43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns as No. 24 San Jose State completed a comeback season with a 29-20 win over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl.
Fales led the drive that set up Austin Lopez’s 27-yard field goal with 4:43 remaining, and De’Leon Eskridge’s 1-yard run with 2:34 left provided the insurance.
The Spartans finished 11-2 and are in the national rankings for the first time since 1975. They capped the year with a seven-game winning streak for their first 11-win season since 1940, a remarkable turnaround for a program that was 1-12 just two years ago and led Colorado to hire away coach Mike MacIntyre earlier this month.
Bowling Green finished 8-5.
Bama’s Jones still out
Alabama center Barrett Jones is not practicing while recuperating from a sprained foot.
Jones wore a black, non-contact jersey during the Crimson Tide’s practice indoors ahead of the BCS championship game against Notre Dame. The Tide returned a day earlier from a three-day Christmas break.
Jones was injured during the first quarter of the Southeastern Conference championship game against Georgia and hasn’t practiced.
Alabama coach Nick Saban says Jones and defensive lineman Denzel Devall spent some time on the treadmill Thursday. Devall has a sprained knee.
Saban is hoping both will get at least five practices next week for the Jan. 7 title game. He says “it's day to day because they both need to continue to make progress to be able to come back and play.”
Southern Cal QB won’t play
Matt Barkley’s career at Southern California is over.
Coach Lane Kiffin has announced that the senior quarterback won’t play in the Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech because of an injured shoulder. Redshirt freshman Max Wittek will make his second career start.
Barkley’s throwing shoulder was injured during USC’s second-to-last game against UCLA. He didn’t play in the season-finale against Notre Dame. Wittek started the game and the Trojans lost to the Fighting Irish to fall to 7-5 on the season.
Barkley rewrote the Pac-12 record book during a USC-record 47 starts over four seasons, becoming the conference leader in touchdown passes, yards passing, completions and total offense.
Two Gators leave
Florida safety De’Ante Saunders and offensive tackle Matt Patchan are leaving the program.
Coach Will Muschamp announced the pending transfers after the fourth-ranked Gators landed in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.
Muschamp says “I think they needed a fresh start and that’s all I’ve got to say about it.”
Saunders, a sophomore from DeLand, played in eight games this season. Patchan, a fourth-year junior from Tampa, has missed the season with a pectoral injury.