Comeback for La. Tech gives 'Dogs 'home' win

bowl roundup

Independence Bowl is the first postseason victory since '77

December 29, 2008|By From Sun news services

Phillip Livas returned a kickoff 97 yards, Daniel Porter rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown, and Louisiana Tech won the Independence Bowl by beating Northern Illinois, 17-10, yesterday in Shreveport, La.

It was Louisiana Tech's first postseason win since the 1977 Independence Bowl and the Bulldogs' seventh come-from-behind win of the season in what was essentially a home game. The Bulldogs (8-5), from nearby Ruston, hadn't won eight games since 1999.

The victory over Northern Illinois (6-7) marks a quick turnaround under coach Derek Dooley, former protege of Nick Saban and son of iconic Georgia coach and athletic director Vince Dooley. As his father did, Dooley won his first bowl.

Two seasons ago the Bulldogs won three games, but they earned their first bowl trip since the 2001 Humanitarian Bowl in a topsy-turvy season that started with an upset of Mississippi State and ended with a surprise trip to Shreveport when neither the Southeastern Conference nor the Big 12 could provide bowl-eligible teams.

Despite criticism of the matchup and a bloated bowl schedule, both teams were excited about the invitation and the chance to play the only college game of the day. Fans looking for excitement, especially those from DeKalb, Ill., needed to tune in early.

Much of the scoring and all the big plays came in the first half. Northern Illinois dominated the first quarter with advantages of 11:46 to 3:14 in time of possession and 125-23 in total yards in the first quarter. The Huskies scored on Chandler Harnish's 8-yard pass to fullback Kyle Skarb in the left flat, his fifth straight completion for 53 yards on the drive.

Saturday night

Florida State 42, Wisconsin 13: : Bobby Bowden saw a big-play offense and a hard-hitting, opportunistic defense for the Seminoles in the Champs Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

"It looked like the old Florida State out there," Bowden said. "Not that we're there, but we looked like we used to."

It was an ugly finish to a disappointing season for Wisconsin (7-6), which was ranked as high as No. 8 early.

Florida State (9-4) finished with more than eight wins for the first time since 2004.

Florida State, playing in its NCAA-leading 27th-straight bowl game, improved Bowden's career record to 21-10-1. Many key players on this team will be back next season, and Bowden, 79, hopes to return as well.

"I plan on coming back next year," said Bowden, who has 382 career victories, one behind Penn State's Joe Paterno for the major college record. "This makes it exciting to coach."

California 24, Miami 17: : Zack Follett forced a fumble by Jacory Harris deep in Miami territory with 3:28 left, and Anthony Miller scored the go-ahead 2-yard touchdown on his first career catch moments later to lift the Golden Bears (9-4) over the Hurricanes (7-6) in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.

Jahvid Best rushed for 186 yards and two touchdowns for Cal, which held off Miami in front of a Bay Area crowd filled with screaming Bears fans.

Harris, a freshman making his second start, was 25-for-41 for 194 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

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