Justin Blackmon caught two touchdown passes, including a 71-yard strike, and No. 16 Oklahoma State finished its first 11-win season with a 36-10 victory over Arizona in the Alamo Bowl on Wednesday night in San Antonio.
Blackmon, the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top receiver, set an NCAA record with his 12th consecutive game with at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown.
The sophomore caught nine passes for 117 yards in perhaps his last college game. He is projected as a high NFL draft pick but has not announced whether he will turn pro.
Brandon Weeden was 25 of 41 for 244 yards for Oklahoma State (11-2).
Nick Foles was 32 of 50 for 278 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions for Arizona (7-6), which ended the year with five straight losses. Nic Grigsby rushed 16 times for 59 yards for the Wildcats.
Maryland 51, East Carolina 20: The Terrapins forced four turnovers, Da’Rel Scott ran for 200 yards, and D.J. Adams had four short touchdown runs in Washington as fired coach Ralph Friedgen went out a winner.
Scott had second-half touchdown runs of 61 and 91 yards on back-to-back offensive plays for the Terrapins (9-4).
Dominique Davis completed 35 of 57 passes for 268 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for East Carolina (6-7).
After the game, Maryland receiver Torrey Smith said he will enter the NFL draft. Smith had 12 touchdown catches this season.
Illinois 38, Baylor 14: Mikel Leshoure ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns in Houston as Illinois earned its first bowl win since 1999.
The Illini spoiled the Bears’ first bowl appearance in 16 seasons. Both teams finished at 7-6.
Baylor’s Robert Griffin III threw for 306 yards and a touchdown, but his two fumbles in the first half put the Bears behind.
NCAA PLAYS DEFENSE
The NCAA defended its recent rulings in violations cases involving Ohio State and Auburn, saying it does not play favorites or make decisions based on financial considerations.
The NCAA posted a statement on its website responding to critics. It says “the notion that the NCAA is selective with its eligibility decisions and rules enforcement is another myth with no basis in fact.”
Last week, the NCAA suspended five Ohio State players for five games next season for selling their championship rings, trophies and other memorabilia items, but is allowing them to play in the upcoming Sugar Bowl.
Last month, the NCAA did not punish Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, even though it ruled his father had solicited money from Mississippi State while that school was recruiting his son.
Penn State athletic director Tim Curley plans to meet with Joe Paterno next month and expects the 84-year old coach to return for the 2011 season. SMU coach June Jones has removed his name from consideration to replace Friedgen at Maryland.
TODAY’s BOWL GAMES
Armed Forces Bowl
Army (6-6) at SMU (7-6)
WHEN: 9 a.m., Dallas. TV: ESPN. RADIO: 950-AM.
THE BUZZ: This usually is played in Fort Worth, at TCU, but that stadium is under renovation, so the game was moved to SMU. And, lo and behold, SMU is the Conference USA representative in the game. Can the Mustangs’ run defense hold up against Army’s triple-option attack? Army’s pass defense isn’t much, so SMU QB Kyle Padron could be in line for a big day.
THE LINE: SMU by 7. THE PICK: SMU, 27-21.
Kansas State (7-5) vs. Syracuse (7-5)
WHEN: 12:15 p.m., New York. TV: ESPN.
THE BUZZ: This is Syracuse’s first bowl appearance since 2004, and the Orange is in the postseason thanks to a solid defense. Kansas State is bowling for the first time since 2006. RB Daniel Thomas is a big-timer and will challenge a tough Syracuse front seven headed by LBs Doug Hogue and Derrell Smith.
THE LINE: Pick ’em. THE PICK: Kansas State, 21-17.
Music City Bowl
North Carolina (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6)
WHEN: 3:30 p.m., Nashville. TV: ESPN
THE BUZZ: Tennessee won its final four regular-season games to become bowl-eligible, and the Vols should have a nice “home-field advantage” of sorts. UNC quarterback T.J. Yates was one of the most effective passers in the ACC. Two key UNC starters, LB Bruce Carter and G Alan Pelc, will miss the game with injuries.
THE LINE: North Carolina by 1. THE PICK: North Carolina, 28-23.
McClatchy news services