- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2009

From combined dispatches


No. 16 GEORGIA 24, No. 19 MICHIGAN STATE 12: Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes in the second half, hitting Knowshown Moreno for the clinching score to lead the Bulldogs over the Spartans in Orlando, Fla.

Ranked No. 1 early this season, the Bulldogs (10-3) gave coach Mark Richt his sixth bowl win in eight tries.

Stafford was just 6-for-14 with an interception in the first half. After that, he looked more like the quarterback NFL teams covet - if he decides to pass up his senior season - in going 14-for-17 with three scores in a span of 18 minutes.

Stafford was picked as the game’s MVP, completing his performance by showing a nice touch in threading a 21-yard touchdown pass to Moreno late in the fourth quarter. Stafford set a single-season school record with 25 touchdown passes.

The loss by Michigan State (9-4) left Big Ten teams 1-6 in bowls this season.

The expected showdown between star running backs Javon Ringer and Moreno never materialized. Moreno ran for 62 yards on 23 carries; Ringer had 47 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Stafford and Bulldogs broke loose in the third quarter, with Michael Moore catching a 35-yard touchdown passes and Aron White catching a 21-yard touchdown toss.

Ringer scored on a 1-yard run midway through the fourth quarter - his school-record 22nd - but quarterback Brian Hoyer’s pass for a two-point conversion was long.


IOWA 31, SOUTH CAROLINA 10: From carrying couches to an All-American carrying a football. Now Big Ten MVP Shonn Greene figures he’s ready for the next level.

The Iowa running back turned Thursday’s Outback Bowl into a farewell party, leading the Hawkeyes past South Carolina 31-10 and then announcing he intends to skip his senior season to enter the NFL Draft.

“I don’t think there’s really a lot more I can do here,” Greene said. “People talk about the Heisman, but I think that’s a lot of politics. I don’t like getting caught up in all of that, so I just figure I’ll try my chances.”

Greene ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for more than 100 yards in all 13 of Iowa’s games, scored in all but one and won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back.

“He’s been the same guy each and every week,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said, using words like “humble” and “modest” to describe the 235-pound junior, who worked at a furniture store and didn’t play football while attending community college to improve his grades.

Greene finished with school single-season records of 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns.

“I’m speechless right now. I never imagined this happening. All the success, all the accolades and stuff like that,” said Greene, who sat out the 2007 season after losing his scholarship because of academic problems.

He said earlier this week he planned to meet with his family and consider information from the NFL college advisory committee before making a decision on whether to turn pro.


NEBRASKA 26, CLEMSON 21: Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz shook off a horrible first half and a slight concussion, threw for two touchdowns and led the Cornhuskers to a victory against the Tigers in Jacksonville, Fla., giving the storied program plenty of optimism following coach Bo Pelini’s first season.

Ganz was sprawled out on the ground, trainers huddled around him and teammates, coaches and fans wondering whether he would be able to continue playing.

Ganz eventually made his way to the sideline, cleared his head, got back in the game and ended up hoisting the Gator Bowl’s MVP trophy.

His comeback provided an appropriate ending for Nebraska’s season. After all, the Cornhuskers enjoyed one of college football’s best turnarounds.

“I’m proud of this group,” said Pelini, who replaced fired coach Bill Callahan after Nebraska finished 5-7 in 2007. “It’s been a tough 12 months, but there’s been a lot of hard work by a lot of people, and it’s paid off. Now, we’ve got to keep it going.”

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