Dec 28, 2001
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Tom O'Brien, William Green, Brian St. Pierre and Josh Ott.
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By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - William Green, the nation's second-leading rusher led Boston College to a 20-16 win over No. 16 Georgia in the Music City Bowl on Friday, setting up one touchdown with a 75-yard run and powering 7 yards for the winning score with 4:43 left.
After gaining 149 yards on 35 carries in his final game as a junior, Green reiterated that he'll decide whether to enter the NFL draft after meeting with his coaches next month.
College opponents wouldn't mind not looking at the back of Green's No. 1 jersey.
"As long as you have a back like No. 1 here," BC coach Tom O'Brien said of the game's MVP, "you have to give the ball to him, "keep pounding away, and sooner or later he'll break one."
Georgia (8-4) helped Boston College (8-4) with four turnovers, nine penalties and curious play-calling.
Trailing 20-16 with 1:32 left, coach Mark Richt decided to punt on fourth-and-17 at Georgia's 43-yard line. The punt went into the end zone, BC took over at its 20, and Georgia got the ball back with 14 seconds and 52 yards to go.
"I thought we'd have about 30 or 40 seconds" left, Richt said. "I don't know if that's better odds than going for it on fourth down and making it."
On Georgia's last two plays, David Greene threw an incompletion, then was sacked by Doug Goodwin as the pro-Georgia crowd of 46,125 left disappointed.
Trailing by four, the Bulldogs couldn't try for a field goal. They might have if they hadn't been offside on an extra-point attempt after Verron Haynes, who rushed for 132 yards, scored on a 1-yard run for a 16-13 lead with 5:26 left in the third quarter.
"That changed the dynamics of the game," Richt said.
Billy Bennett missed the longer kick after making his other 34 attempts this season.
Boston College ended a 21-game losing streak against ranked teams.
"I told the team before the game, 'We've had a good year. We can't call ourselves a good team unless we beat one,' and we beat a good team tonight," O'Brien said.
BC also gave the Big East a clean sweep of its four-year Music Bowl series against the Southeastern Conference. A Big Ten team will move into the Big East slot next year
"The Big East sometimes gets a bad rap," Eagles quarterback Brian St. Pierre said. "I think we're better than a lot of people think. The SEC will attest to that."
BC certainly was more opportunistic. Its two touchdowns and Sandro Sciortino's field goals of 25 and 26 yards followed Georgia's four turnovers. The Bulldogs also committed an offensive pass interference penalty against Terrence Edwards inside the Eagles 10 with 2:09 remaining.
"I just made a really poor throw, and Terrence was fighting for the ball," Greene said.
For BC, Green started the day averaging 155.9 yards per game. His 75-yard run ended when Jermaine Phillips caught him from behind and punched the ball out of bounds.
"I'm sure I'll get a lot of jokes from my teammates for getting caught from behind," Green said.
Three plays later, St. Pierre threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Dedrick Dewalt, giving BC a 10-7 lead with 9:09 left in the half.
The game started well for Georgia as Fred Gibson took the opening kickoff, then handed the ball to Decory Bryant for an 86-yard return. Two plays later, Greene and Gibson connected for a 15-yard touchdown pass.
After the game's last play, BC players rushed onto the field, flinging their helmets in the air after their fourth win in their last five bowls. And Green raised his MVP trophy above his head.
He had missed two of BC's biggest games the last two seasons - last year's Aloha Bowl and this year's 18-7 loss to top-ranked Miami - because of suspensions for unspecified violations of team rules.
The winning drive followed Sean Guthrie's recovery of a fumbled exchange between Greene and Musa Smith.
On fourth-and-1 at the BC 34, Green rushed for 2 yards. St. Pierre hit Dewalt for a 22-yard gain to the 10. Then St. Pierre scrambled for a 3-yard run, and Green ran up the middle for the winning touchdown.
Georgia used the nation's 15th-rated run defense to control Green most of the game. But its streak of four bowl wins in the last four seasons ended under first-year coach Richt, Florida State's former offensive coordinator.
"The defense did an excellent job getting turnovers and we did enough on offense," O'Brien said.