ARLINGTON, Texas: Spencer Rattler threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score, Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for 186 yards and No. 8 Oklahoma beat 10th-ranked SEC runner-up Florida 55-20 on Wednesday night in the Cotton Bowl.
Back in the same NFL stadium where 11 days earlier they won their sixth consecutive Big 12 title, the Sooners (9-2, No. 6 CFP) jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first seven minutes. The 55 points were their most ever in a bowl game, while piling up a Cotton Bowl-record 684 total yards.
Rattler threw a 27-yard TD pass to fellow freshman Marvin Mims on the games opening drive, and Floridas first possession ended with Tre Norwoods 45-yard interception return for a touchdown. That was the first of three picks thrown by Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Kyle Trask in the first quarter, after only five all season.
Oklahoma played in its sixth consecutive New Years Six bowl game, but the last three seasons had lost College Football Playoffs semifinal games while giving up an average of 54 points to different SEC teams.
The Sooners finished this season with an eight-game winning streak. They had started 0-2 in Big 12 play for the first time since 1998, effectively knocking them out of playoff contention by mid-October.
These Gators (8-4, No. 7 CFP) were much different than the team that just 11 days earlier fell 52-46 to No. 1 Alabama in the SEC title game, and had averaged nearly 42 points a game.
Rattler was the fourth starting quarterback in as many seasons to lead Oklahoma to a Big 12 title, the first who began his career in the program rather than coming in as a transfer. He was 14 of 23 passing for 247 yards and ran for 40 yards.
DUKE’S MAYO BOWL
WISCONSIN 42, WAKE FOREST 28
CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Graham Mertz accounted for three touchdowns and Wisconsin turned four second-half interceptions into 21 points to beat Wake Forest n the Dukes Mayo Bowl.
Mertz threw for 130 yards and ran for two short touchdowns for Wisconsin (4-3). The redshirt freshman dropped the football-shaped crystal trophy while dancing around the locker room in celebration, leaving it shattered after it fell off its base.
With the game tied at 21 late in the third quarter, Noah Burks intercepted Sam Hartman’ pass and returned it 41 yards to set up a 14-yard scoring strike from Mertz to Mason Stokke. Hartman’s passes were picked off on the next three possessions as well.
Scott Nelson had a 60-yard interception return, and Collin Wilder returned a pick 72 yards to set up short TD runs that gave the Badgers a 42-21 lead.
Jack Sanborn had 11 tackles and an interception and was the game MVP.
Wake Forest (4-5) outgained Wisconsin 518-266 on offense, but the Badgers had 176 return yards off interceptions.