Joel Klatt threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns and Mason Crosby kicked four field goals, leading Colorado to a 33-28 victory over Texas-El Paso last night in the Houston Bowl.
Klatt keyed a fourth-quarter comeback by the plodding Buffaloes (8-5), who tried to keep pace with UTEP, which is ranked eighth in the nation in scoring offense. Colorado led, 3-0, midway through the first quarter, but trailed until seizing the lead late in the game.
Facing a fourth-and-3 at its 35, Colorado used a bit of trickery. Punter John Torp raced 22 yards around the left end on a fake punt for the first down. Two plays later, Klatt threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Evan Judge for the go-ahead score with 8:43 left.
Klatt was flattened by UTEP defensive end Ibok Ibok as he released the ball and didn't see the touchdown. He got up off the turf slowly and wobbled off the field into the arms of celebrating teammates.
Klatt completed 24 of 33 passes, five to Joel Klopfenstein for 134 yards. Bobby Purify rushed 80 yards on 22 carries.
The Miners (8-4) still had a chance to win the game in the final minutes.
On third and 4 from the UTEP 25, Jordan Palmer completed a 15-yard pass to Johnnie Lee Higgins, keeping a late drive alive. But Palmer misfired badly on his final four passes, and the comeback fizzled.
Colorado coach Gary Barnett was doused with a Gatorade cooler in the waning seconds, and dozens of players came over to embrace their leader.
Colorado's first bowl victory since the 1999 Insight.com Bowl capped an improbable turnaround for the Buffaloes, who went through an offseason of scandal and turmoil.
Ohio State 33, Oklahoma State 7 -- Ohio State didn't miss starting quarterback Troy Smith a bit. Justin Zwick stepped in for the suspended Smith and threw for 189 yards and a touchdown, and Ted Ginn Jr. and Lydell Ross each scored, leading No. 24 Ohio State to victory over Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
Ginn caught six passes for 78 yards and rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Zwick completed 17 of 27 passes for 189 yards, and Ross rushed for 99 yards on 12 carries. Mike Nugent kicked four field goals.
Smith, who led Ohio State to victories in four of its last five games, was suspended by the team last week. University officials said he accepted an unspecified benefit from a team booster in violation of NCAA rules.
The Buckeyes took advantage of two early turnovers by Oklahoma State, and never let the Cowboys get anything going offensively.