Sunday, December 28, 2008

NOLES LOOK GOOD, CRITICAL TURNOVERS DOOM HEELS AND CANES

West Virginia 31, NORTH CAROLINA 30

Pat White had one more dazzling comeback in him before finishing his record-breaking college career.

Record breaking QB Pat White threw for 332 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Alric Arnett midway through the fourth quarter that sent West Virginia to a 31-30 win over UNC in the Meineke Bowl. By doing so, White became the first D1 QB to ever win four bowl games in his career.

The senior quarterback was voted MVP of a bowl for the third straight year, helping the Mountaineers (9-4) overcome Hakeem Nicks' big day for the Heels.

Nicks caught eight passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns for Carolina (8-5), but T.J. Yates was intercepted by Pat Lazear with under 2 minutes left to end Butch Davis' hopes of a bowl win in his second year at North Carolina.

The Heels were leading midway through the fourth quarter and had just rejected a WVU fourth down attempt when Shaun Draughn's fumble was recovered by the Mountaineers. White threw a 41-yard pass over the middle to Jock Sanders, picked up nine yards on a running play and then rifled a pass between two defenders to Arnett for the go-ahead touchdown with 7:14 left.

Yates couldn't find the dynamic Nicks on the Tar Heels' final drive, eventually throwing his first interception of the game. As disappointment since all UNC needed was a field goal for the win.

FLORIDA STATE 41, Wisconsin 13

Derek Nicholson and Dakota Wilson returned fumbles for touchdowns, Christian Ponder threw two TD passes and Florida State routed Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl.
The Seminoles (9-4) finished with more than eight wins for the first time since 2004.

Derek Nicholson had two fumble recoveries, including one he returned 75 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. Punter Graham Gano averaged 48.2 yards on five and had three downed inside the Badgers 5 to earn game MVP.

P.J. Hill ran for 140 yards on 15 carries for the Badgers (7-6), but quarterback Dustin Sherer completed only four of nine for 55 yards through the first three quarters. His fumble early in the fourth quarter was returned 51 yards for a score by Watson to put FSU up 35-6.
Ponder completed 18 of 31 passes for 199 yards.

Florida State, playing in its NCAA-leading 27th-straight bowl game, improved coach Bobby Bowden's career record to 21-10-1.

California 24, MIAMI 17

Jahvid Best rushed for a bowl-record 186 yards and two touchdowns, yet the Golden Bears still needed a big defensive play and an unlikely hero to hold off the Hurricanes (7-6).

Cal quarterback Nate Longshore shook off a dismal 10-for-21 performance in his final game with a late scoring pass to Anthony Miller as the Golden Bears won for the fifth time in a school-record six consecutive bowl appearances under coach Jeff Tedford.

Miami stayed in it with strong pass defense and a solid game from Jacory Harris, who went 25-of-41 for 194 yards and two TDs in his second career start while subbing for the suspended Robert Marve. Harris had won 31 straight starts dating back to his high school career in South Florida, but his fourth quarter fumble cost the Hurricanes in their first bowl game under coach Randy Shannon.

(Photos by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images, Sam Greenwood/Getty Images, AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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