- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 26, 2001

LAS VEGAS (AP) With a methodical rushing attack and an overwhelming defensive effort, Utah won the Las Vegas Bowl exactly the way Ron McBride always hoped his team would play this season.
Adam Tate rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown and Utah's defense limited USC to 1 yard rushing as the Utes cleaned up in Las Vegas for the second time in three years, beating the Trojans 10-6 yesterday.
McBride, soaked from a Gatorade dousing, led the cheers and the school fight song after the Utes controlled the ball over the final 5:43 with a poise they didn't show while blowing fourth-quarter leads over Brigham Young and Air Force in their final two regular season games.
"We were under a lot of criticism for the Air Force and BYU games, but adversity is what I like," McBride said. "I was determined that we were going to come down here and win this game. We needed this. We played with the ultimate determination today."
The Utes (8-4) won with their defense, which embarrassed USC's strong offense. The Trojans (6-6), who had their four-game winning streak snapped, finished with 151 total yards.
After scoring its only touchdown on the first possession of the second half, USC didn't get across the Utah 40 for the rest of the day as linebacker Sheldon Deckart and the Utes defense, missing two starters, still dominated.
"We let them come right at us, and we stopped them," Deckart said. "It was a big part of our game plan to make big plays and then keep making big plays."
Southern California, which entered the game hoping to build for a run at the Pac-10 title next season, instead found nearly its every move thwarted by a Utah game plan that seemed to anticipate every trick in coach Pete Carroll's store.
The Trojans didn't manage to accumulate positive rushing yardage until midway through the fourth quarter. Carson Palmer, who was 15 of 26 for 150 yards, missed open receivers and saw other passes dropped.
"I don't think they thought we were comparable to them," McBride said. "They didn't think we were in the same league. They were destroying teams in the last five weeks of the season … but it's a funny game."
Despite going scoreless in the second half, Utah converted two long third downs in the final 3:30 to run out the clock.
On third-and-14 from the Utes 9 with 3:30 left, quarterback Lance Rice hit Michael Richardson for a 20-yard reception. Facing third-and-4 a minute later, Tate bounced off several defenders for a 16-yard run that essentially sealed it.
When Tate surged for yet another first down with 1:30 left, the Utes began to celebrate Utah's third bowl victory in six trips during his 12 years in charge. The Utes beat Fresno State in Las Vegas in 1999.
Tate and Dameon Hunter, who rushed for 94 yards to win Utah's MVP award, were two of the first players to hug McBride after the final snap.

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