After jumping ahead 24-3 in the third quarter, Georgia was able to hold on and defeat Penn State 24-17 in the TaxSlayer Bowl at EverBank Field.
Freshman wide receiver Terry Godwin, who earned TaxSlayer Bowl MVP honors, became the Bulldogs first non-QB to throw a TD pass since running back Thomas Brown tossed a nine-yard strike to QB Joe Tereshinski against Florida in 2005 on the same field.
Godwin had a 17-yard TD catch from QB Greyson Lambert. Goodwin had four catches for 34 yards and one TD plus one kickoff return for 27 yards.
Malcom Mitchell capped off his career with five receptions for 114 yards and a score. Tailback Sony Michel also had a strong game to end his sophomore season, amassing 85 yards rushing and flaunting a 21-yard scamper for a score in the third quarter.
Penn State redshirt freshman QB Trace McSorely, who entered the game midway through the second quarter after Christian Hackenberg left with an injury, was 14-of-27 for 142 yards and two scores while rushing seven times for 31 yards. Running back Saquon Barkley totaled 69 yards on 17 carries.
Hackenberg and defensive tackle Austin Johnson declared for the NFL draft after the game.
TAXSLAYER BOWL NOTES - Penn State (7-6) outgained Georgia (10-3), 401-327 in total offense…. The victory gave Georgia's senior class 40 wins for its four-year career…. Linebacker Jake Cooper made his first career start and is the fourth true freshman to start for Penn State this season…. the turnover was the sixth pick of the season for Georgia safety Dominick Sanders…. Penn State freshman QB Trace McSorley threw his first career TD pass, 17 yards to Geno Lewis….New Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was in attendance at EverBank Field …..Nittany Lions’ linebacker Troy Reeder missed the game due to an injury…teammate Marcus Allen forced his second career forced fumble in the third quarter… Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan left the game after spraining his ankle.
BOWL MANIA- Georgia made its 51st all-time appearance in a bowl game for the 19th consecutive year. That ranks tied for fourth nationally. With the win over Penn State, Georgia improves to 29-19-3 in bowl games, the 29 wins ranks third nationally. Georgia is now 3-1-1 in bowl games in Jacksonville. Penn State is 28-16-2 all-time in bowl games, tied for No. 4 in the nation in post-season wins. The Nittany Lions, Georgia and Oklahoma entered this bowl season tied for third at 28.
GOOD COMPANY - Penn State wide receiver Chris Godwin became the school's career leader in bowl receiving yards and just the second to surpass 1,100 receiving yards in a season. Godwin caught six passes for 133 yards, giving the sophomore 273 receiving yards between the 2014 Pinstripe and 2016 TaxSlayer Bowls for a new school record. He finished the season with 1,101 receiving yards ranking second only to Jacksonville Jaguars’ leading receiver Allen Robinson's 2013 mark of 1,432 yards.
AROUND THE STATE:
ALL ORANGE IN OUTBACK BOWL - Tennessee pounded its way to a 45-6 victory over Northwestern in the 30th anniversary Outback Bowl before a crowd of 53,202 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
It was the largest margin of victory for the Vols in a bowl game in program history.
The Vols (9-4) racked up 226 rushing yards, led by Outback Bowl MVP Jalen Hurd, who recorded 130 yards rushing and a touchdown, becoming the first Vol to rush for 100 rushing yards in two bowl games.
QB Joshua Dobbs ran for 48 yards and two touchdowns, and Alvin Kamara added 53 rushing yards and one score. Dobbs also completed 14 of 25 passes for 166 yards, hitting nine different receivers. The Vols had 420 total offensive yards.
The Tennessee defense limited Northwestern (10-3) to 261 yards, intercepted four passes and totaled four sacks. With the win, Tennessee improved to 27-24 all-time in bowl games.
RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL - Entering the Russel Athletic Bowl in Orlando No. 17 Baylor was without its top two quarterbacks, leading rusher, and an All-American receiver. Baylor QBs Seth Russell (neck) and Jarrett Stidham (broken ankle), receiver Corey Coleman (hernia surgery), and running back Shock Linwood (broken foot) were all absent.
Never the less, the Bears piled up an FBS bowl-record 645 yards rushing to upset 10th-ranked North Carolina, 49-38, before 40,418 at Citrus Bowl Stadium. The win was Baylor's first bowl victory since 2012, snapping a string of two consecutive bowl losses.
Johnny Jefferson rushed for a school-record 299 yards and was named the bowl’s MVP.
MICHIGAN THUMPS GATORS - In 17th-ranked Michigan football team's first bowl game under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines scored 34 unanswered points in a 41-7 drubbing of 19th-ranked Florida.
Michigan racked up 500-plus yards on the nation's No. 6-ranked defense Friday and clinched 10 wins and a bowl victory for the first time since 2011. SEC East Division champion Florida ended the season with three straight losses.
In their last meeting Michigan sent head coach Lloyd Carr into retirement with an emotional 41-35 victory over the ninth-ranked Gators in the 2008 Capital One Bowl, led by current Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Chad Henne's MVP performance.
The game marked the 70th playing of the Citrus Bowl, among the oldest bowl games in the nation. The attendance of 63,113 is the highest attendance figure since the 2008 game.