West Virginia shocks Georgia; Wisconsin sends Alvarez out a winner

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

ATLANTA (AP) — Enough with those jokes about the Big East. West Virginia clearly deserved its place in the Bowl Championship Series.

Steve Slaton rushed for a record 204 yards and three touchdowns to lead the No. 11 Mountaineers to a 38-35 victory over eighth-ranked Georgia, which couldn’t take advantage of the home-field edge Monday night in the first Sugar Bowl ever played outside of New Orleans.

West Virginia (11-1) stunned all those red-clad fans at the Georgia Dome by jumping to a 28-0 lead by the opening minute of the second quarter. The Bulldogs (10-3) rallied, twice closing within a field goal in the second half, but they couldn’t finish one of the greatest comebacks in bowl history.

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Slaton squirted through big holes and left defenders such as All-American safety Greg Blue in the dust on a pair of 52-yard touchdown runs.

Slaton eclipsed the previous Sugar Bowl rushing record, a 202-yard performance by Pitt’s Tony Dorsett in a national championship-clinching victory over Georgia in 1977.

No. 21 Wisconsin 24,

No. 7 Auburn 10

(Capital One Bowl)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Brian Calhoun rushed for 213 yards and Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez got a win in his final game.

Calhoun, a junior considering a leap to the NFL, carried 30 times and scored on a 33-yard run in the fourth quarter. John Stocco threw for 301 yards and two touchdown for the Badgers (10-3).

The Tigers (9-3) were held scoreless in the first half for the first time this season and finished with only 236 yards. Wisconsin gained 548.

It was a fitting farewell for Alvarez, who led Wisconsin to eight bowl wins in 16 seasons and now will focus on his duties as athletic director.

No. 12 Virginia Tech 35, No. 15 Louisville 24

(Gator Bowl)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Marcus Vick threw two touchdown passes and James Anderson returned an interception 39 yards for a score to lead Virginia Tech.

The Hokies (11-2) scored on three consecutive possessions in the second half, rallying from a 17-10 deficit to take a 28-24 lead. Anderson intercepted Hunter Cantwell’s pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown with 5:04 left to seal the victory.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Louisville (9-3). Cantwell, a freshman walk-on making his second start in place of Brian Brohm, threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.

No. 13 Alabama 13,

No. 18 Texas Tech 10

(Cotton Bowl)

DALLAS (AP) — Jamie Christensen kicked a career-best 45-yard field goal as time expired to lift Alabama to the victory.

Brodie Croyle threw a 76-yard touchdown pass on his first attempt for Alabama (10-2). He was 19-of-31 for 275 yards.

No. 16 Florida 31,

No. 25 Iowa 24

(Outback Bowl)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Chris Leak threw two touchdown passes to Dallas Baker and Florida held on for the win.

Leak threw for 277 yards and Baker finished with 10 catches for 147 yards for the Gators (9-3), who led 24-7 at halftime. Vernell Brown returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown and Tremaine McCollum also ran back a blocked punt for a score.

Drew Tate threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns for Iowa (7-5).