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After opening the 2022 college football bowl game season with five consecutive losses by Texas teams, Houston Cougars finally rally for a win in the Independence Bowl 

With nine Texas college football programs playing in 2022 bowl games, the Lone Star State entered the bowl season with high expectations.

But five straight Texas teams – the UTSA Roadrunners, Rice Owls, SMU Mustangs, North Texas Mean Green and Baylor Bears – went down in defeat on the national stage before the Houston Cougars broke the skid with a come-from-behind victory over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in the Independence Bowl.

Still coming up will be the Texas Tech Red Raiders taking on Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl Dec. 28, the Texas Longhorns will face Washington in the Alamo Bowl Dec. 29, and the third-ranked TCU Horned Frogs will battle second-ranked Michigan in a College Football Playoff Semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl Dec. 31.

Independence Bowl:

HOUSTON Cougars 23, LOUISIANA Ragin’ Cajuns 16

University of Houston quarterback Clayton Tune connected with Nathaniel Dell on a 12-yard scoring pass with 20 seconds remaining as the Cougars completed a 17-point comeback for a 23-16 win over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Friday at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La.

In the first Independence Bowl appearance for both teams, Houston (8-5) rallied from a 16-6 deficit at halftime as it capitalized on a pair of Louisiana (6-7) fumbles to earn the win.

Leading the Cougars on the ground and through the air, Tune completed 19 of 28 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 55 yards on 11 attempts. KeSean Carter led Houston om receiving with four catches for 112 yards and a touchdown, while Dell hauled in two scoring passes.

Engineering the first half lead, Louisiana quarterback Chandler Fields completed 17 of 25 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, connecting with Lance Legendre catching five passes for 56 yards. The Ragin’ Cajuns finished with 323 yards of total offense as Chris Smith led Louisiana on the ground with 48 yards on 14 carries. Defensively, Kam Pedescleaux, Kris Moncrief and Jourdan Quibodeaux each tallied seven tackles.

Watch the ESPN College Football highlights here:

Armed Forces Bowl:

AIR FORCE Falcons 30, BAYLOR Bears 15

In dominating fashion, the Air Force Falcons soared over the Baylor Bears, 30-15, in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in bitter cold conditions Thursday night at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.

Air Force running back Brad Roberts rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns while quarterback Haaziq Daniels kept the Bears (6-7) off balance with 103 yards passing and a scoring strike in the win. The Falcons (10-3) ran all over Baylor, piling up 276 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground.

In the meantime, the Bears managed only 42 yards rushing on 26 carries while quarterback Blake Shapen struggled, completing 11 of 23 passes for 188 yards and accounting for both Baylor touchdowns.

The game kicked off with a temperature of 13 degrees and a wind chill of minus-four as Baylor officials announced it was the coldest kickoff temperature in the history of the program.

Air Force has won its last five games against Power 5 programs over the last four seasons, including two wins over Colorado and one each against Washington State and Louisville.

Watch the ESPN College Football highlights here:

Duluth Trading Cure Bowl:

No. 24 TROY Trojans 18, No. 25 UTSA Roadrunners 12

Forcing five turnovers, the 23rd-ranked Troy Trojans came from behind to pull out an 18-12 over the 22nd-ranked UTSA Roadrunners Dec. 16 in the Duluth Trading Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

Troy (12-2), the Sun Belt Conference champion, closed out the season with 11 straight victories and set a school record for wins in a season. Conference USA champ UTSA (11-3) outgained Troy, 345-166, and led 12-0 in the first half, but turnovers proved to be the difference.

Watch the ESPN College Football highlights here:

Lending Tree Bowl:

SOUTHERN MISS Golden Eagles 38, RICE Owls 24

Delivering a performance for the ages, Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. rushed for 329 yards and two touchdowns while tossing a touchdown pass as the Golden Eagles (7-6) clawed the Rice Owls, 38-24, in the LendingTree Bowl Dec. 17 in Mobile Ala.

Gore broke the mark of 317 yards set by Appalachian State’s Camerun Peoples in the 2020 Myrtle Beach Bowl against North Texas, and also broke the Southern Miss record of 304 by Sam Dejarnette against Florida State in 1982.

Rice quarterback AJ Padgett threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns in the losing effort for the Owls (5-8).

Watch the ESPN College Football highlights here:

New Mexico Bowl:

BYU Cougars 24, SMU Mustangs 23

In dramatic fashion, the BYU Cougars stopped the SMU Mustangs on a two-point conversion attempt with eight seconds on the clock to secure a wild 24-23 victory in the New Mexico Bowl Dec. 17 at University Stadium in Albuquerque, NM.

In fourth meeting all-time between BYU and SMU on the gridiron, the SMU (7-6) comeback fell short despite scoring 13 fourth quarter points. The Cougars (8-5) won for the fourth straight time with the last meeting occurring when both programs played in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

In their second bowl meeting, the matchup once again produced a thrilling finish as the first meeting remains one of the great finishes in college football history. In the 1980 Holiday Bowl, BYU won, 46-45, after trailing by 20 points with less than three minutes left.

Watch the ESPN College Football highlights here:

Frisco Bowl:

BOISE STATE Broncos 35, NORTH TEXAS Mean Green 32

In an exciting back-and-forth battle, Boise State quarterback Taylen Green accounted for 256 yards and three touchdowns as the Broncos kicked the North Texas Mean Green, 35-32, in Frisco Bowl Dec. 18 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

Winning their first bowl game since 2017, the Broncos (10-4) set a Boise State bowl game record with 22 points in the third quarter that produced five lead changes. Led by 29-year-ol quarterback Austin Aune, the Mean Green (7-7) lost its sixth straight bowl game. North Texas has been to a bowl in six of the last seven seasons but has not won a bowl game since beating UNLV in the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Watch the ESPN College Football highlights here:

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