Falcons edge Jaguars late in inaugural Camellia Bowl

Montgomery, AL (SportsNetwork.com) - South Alabama took its first lead in its first bowl game with 1:20 remaining, but it didn't take long for Bowling Green to go back in front.

What a way to snap a 10-year bowl win drought.

James Knapke tossed a go-ahead 78-yard touchdown pass to Roger Lewis with 1:06 remaining and the Falcons defeated the Jaguars 33-28 in the inaugural Camellia Bowl on Saturday night.

Bowling Green regained the advantage 16 seconds after Terrance Timmons scampered in from three yards out off a pitch to the left side, staking South Alabama to a 28-27 edge.

Knapke lofted a perfect pass down the right seam to Lewis on the ensuing offensive snap to help the Falcons vault back ahead.

Jude Adjei-Barimah intercepted Brandon Bridge on South Alabama's first play of its next drive to essentially seal the outcome. The Jaguars then forced a potential three-and-out, but committed a roughing the kicker penalty on a Joe Davidson punt to give the Falcons a fresh set of downs.

Bowling Green recorded its first bowl win since the 2004 GMAC Bowl, when it beat Memphis 52-35.

Knapke completed 25-of-39 passes for 368 yards with two touchdowns, Lewis finished with four receptions for 137 yards and two scores, Gehrig Dieter caught seven balls for 108 yards for the Falcons (8-6), who snapped a three- game losing streak.

Travis Greene ran for a pair of scores in the triumph.

No program had ever made a bowl game quicker than South Alabama. The Jaguars made it into the postseason in just their second year as a full-fledged FBS team after beginning the football program in 2009.

Bridge, who was just 4-of-13 for 34 yards in the first half, finished 20-of-37 for 279 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for South Alabama (6-7), which went 6-6 last season but was not invited to a bowl game.

Danny Woodson had six catches for 122 yards in defeat.

Bridge hit Woodson down the left sideline with a 45-yard completion to move the ball to the Bowling Green 32. Bridge floated 18-yard TD pass to DeMarrion Buford-Hughes four plays later to trim the Jaguars' deficit to 27-21 with 11:23 to go.

Fred Coppet burst through a huge hole up the middle for a 31-yard run on the first snap of Bowling Green's following sequence. Montell Garner committed a pass interference penalty in the end zone on a 3rd-and-3 to put the ball at the 2, but Greene was unable to get in on three consecutive carries. Tyler Tate then hooked an 18-yard field goal wide left to keep it a one-score contest midway through the fourth.

Earlier, Lewis hauled in a 44-yard TD catch to cap the Falcons' opening 7- play, 65-yard march and the Falcons went up 14-0 on Greene's 1-yard TD plunge a possession later.

South Alabama answered, though, as Kendall Houston broke off a 44-yard TD run down the right sideline to trim the gap in half.

Tate nailed a 39 and 22-yard field goal in the second to help the Falcons take a 20-7 cushion into the locker room.

Bridge's 15-yard TD sprint along the left sideline with six minutes to go in the third got South Alabama within 20-14, but Greene's 17-yard TD run on Bowling Green's next touch helped it go back up by 13, 27-14.

Game Notes

Knapke surpassed the 350-plus yard passing mark for the third time in his career ... Bowling Green was coming off a 51-17 loss to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game ... Bowling Green outgained South Alabama, 500-415 ... The Jaguars went 5-of-15 on third down, while the Falcons finished 7- of-21.