Willie Reid returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown, the defense continually harassed Marcus Vick and Florida State upset No. 5 Virginia Tech 27-22...
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Willie Reid returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown, the defense continually harassed Marcus Vick and Florida State upset No. 5 Virginia Tech 27-22 Saturday night in the inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
The Seminoles (8-4) snapped a three-game losing streak — the program’s first since 1983 — and won the league title for the 12th time in 14 years.
“We’re back to normal now,” said Reid, who finished with 210 all-purpose yards and was the game’s most valuable player. “We’re back to Florida State football.”
Florida State turned around a disappointing season and earned a Bowl Championship Series berth in the Orange Bowl, where it likely will face No. 4 Penn State.
Bobby Bowden vs. Joe Paterno — the two winningest coaches in major-college-football history.
“Does it look like that? I might not show up,” Bowden jokingly said.
Few could have envisioned that matchup. Not after Florida State was outscored 89-36 in losses to North Carolina State, Clemson and Florida.
Boosters and fans were calling for Bowden to fire his son and offensive coordinator, Jeff Bowden. Some were even talking about the elder Bowden stepping down after 19 losses in the last five seasons. Others were already looking ahead and guessing how many in a row the team would lose; Florida State hasn’t lost four in a row since 1975, the year before Bowden arrived.
Georgia 24, Louisiana State 14
ATLANTA — D.J. Shockley threw two touchdown passes to Sean Bailey, Bryan McClendon set up another score with a blocked punt and Georgia won its second Southeastern Conference championship, 34-14 over Louisiana State (10-2), in four years.
Cheered on at the supposedly neutral site by a crowd dressed largely in red and black — not surprising, considering the Georgia campus is only about 75 miles east of Atlanta — the Bulldogs (10-2) earned the SEC’s automatic berth in the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl.
Normally, that would mean a trip to New Orleans, but this isn’t a normal year. The Sugar Bowl has shifted to the Georgia Dome, forced out of the Big Easy by the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
“We came into the year predicted to be third in the East,” Shockley told the crowd. “Now we’re No. 1 in the SEC, baby.”
Big East championship
No. 12 West Virginia 28, at South Florida 13
Pat White ran for 177 yards and two touchdowns, leading West Virginia (10-1) to a victory over South Florida (6-5) in the Mountaineers’ final tuneup for a Bowl Championship Series appearance. They will play Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.
No. 16 Louisville 30, Connecticut 20
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Michael Bush rushed for three touchdowns in his first appearance since missing two games with a sprained foot and Hunter Cantwell threw for another score to lead Louisville (9-2, 5-2) over Connecticut (5-6, 2-5).
Conference USA championship
Tulsa 44, at Central Florida 27
Tarrion Adams had three touchdowns, two of them rushing, and Tulsa’s defense shut UCF (8-4) out in the second half as the Golden Hurricane (8-4) claimed its first league title in 20 years.
• Quarterback Lamar Owens ran for three touchdowns to lead Navy (7-4) to a 42-23 victory over Army (4-7) in Philadelphia.