Matt Barkley threw touchdown passes to Stanley Havili on Southern Cal's first two possessions and added a touchdown run in the fourth quarter to help the Trojans beat Boston College, 24-13, in the Emerald Bowl last night in San Francisco.
The victory put a positive ending on a disappointing season for USC (9-4). The Trojans lost three of their final five regular-season games to fall out of the national rankings for the first time since Pete Carroll's first season as coach, in 2001.
That left USC in an unfamiliar bowl setting after making it to the Bowl Championship Series the last seven years, including four straight Rose Bowl bids. (Last January, the Trojans crushed Penn State.) But the Trojans made the most of it, handing Boston College (8-5) its second straight bowl loss after an eight-year bowl winning streak.
Damian Williams caught 12 passes for 189 yards for USC.
The Trojans had hoped to have star tailback Joe McKnight back, but were apparently unable to resolve his eligibility issues. The school has been investigating whether McKnight violated rules by using an SUV that doesn't belong to him.
Pittsburgh 19, North Carolina 17 - Dion Lewis rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown to surpass Tony Dorsett as Pittsburgh's top freshman rusher, and Dan Hutchins kicked a 33-yard field goal with 52 seconds left to give the No. 17 Panthers (10-3) a win over UNC (8-5) in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.
Pitt converted on fourth down at its own 30 and took advantage of a key offside penalty to set up Hutchins' fourth field goal to reach double figures in wins for the first time since 1981, when Dan Marino was the quarterback.
North Carolina's T.J. Yates threw two TD passes to Greg Little, but his incomplete pass on a fourth-and-10 play from his own 49 with six seconds left doomed the Tar Heels.
Lewis, who succeeded Eagles rookie LeSean McCoy as the Panthers' starter, surpassed Dorsett's freshman rushing record of 1,686 yards in the first quarter and finished with 1,799.
Marshall 21, Ohio 17 - Martin Ward ran for two TDs in the first half, and the Thundering Herd (7-6) held off the Bobcats (9-5) in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.
DeQuan Bembry's interception with 40 seconds left sealed the victory for Marshall, which led by 21 points midway through the second quarter. "It was just a relief," Bembry said.
Ohio rallied with Shannon Ballard's 75-yard return of a fumble in the second quarter, Terrence McCrae's TD catch, and Matt Weller's field goal.
Meanwhile, Sarah Thomas made history at the game, becoming the first woman to officiate a bowl game. She served as the line judge.