Red Raiders sink Navy

Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2003

HOUSTON Navy was no match for Texas Tech's air force.

B.J. Sy-mons completed the most prolific passing season in NCAA history Tuesday by throwing for 497 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Red Raiders to a 38-14 victory over the Midship-men in the Houston Bowl.

Symons, who didn't get the starting job until this year, finished his career with a 5,833-yard season to extend the record he already owned. His performance lifted Tech (8-5) to the first consecutive bowl victories in school history.

The game ended a remarkable turnaround season for Navy (8-5), which won just three games over the previous three years. Quarterback Craig Candeto, at the controls of coach Paul Johnson's top-ranked rushing offense, ran for 90 yards and both touchdowns in his last game.

Candeto's 2-yard TD run early in the third quarter pulled Navy within 14-7 against the larger, faster and more highly recruited Red Raiders. Navy did it all with virtually no threat of the pass as Candeto completed just two for 33 yards.

The Red Raiders' No. 1 passing offense responded, with Symons leading them back quickly to set up a 4-yard TD run by Taurean Henderson. Keith Toogood tacked on a 21-yard field goal for a 24-7 lead.

Tech's 110th-ranked defense never quite stopped Navy, which rolled up 289 yards rushing, but slowed the Mids enough despite a fourth-quarter scoring plunge by Candeto. Symons poured it on at the end with TD passes to Jarrett Hicks and Mickey Peters.

No. 15 Washington State 28, No. 5 Texas 20

SAN DIEGO Now this was a Holiday Bowl.

No. 15 Washington State scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to build a 16-point lead, then came up with a huge defensive stand late in the fourth quarter to beat No. 5 Texas 28-20 on Tuesday night.

The Holiday Bowl has a history of big plays and wild finishes, and this one had both.

With the Longhorns trailing by eight, senior receiver Roy Williams caught a 45-yard pass from Chance Mock to give Texas the ball at the WSU 11 with 2:31 to play.

After Mock threw an incompletion, WSU blitzed hard and forced Mock deep into the pocket. Don Jackson hit Mock and forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow linebacker Will Derting at the 36-yard line with 2:16 to play.

Texas got the ball back one more time, but Mock was sacked at midfield by D.D. Acholonu as time expired.

Fresno St. 17, UCLA 9

SAN JOSE, Calif. Bryson Sumlin made his first career touchdown catch and also ran for a score in Fresno State's 17-9 victory over UCLA in the Silicon Valley Classic on Tuesday night.

Sumlin, a sophomore backup who began his Fresno State career as a cornerback, capitalized on two big chances to score and helped the Bulldogs beat the Bruins for the first time in six meetings.

Fresno State (9-5) made its school-record fifth straight bowl appearance and fourth in a row in this game. And once again, the Bulldogs seized the opportunity to spoil things for a bigger, more prominent program in a game dominated by defense.

Paul Pinegar passed for 133 yards, but Fresno State didn't exactly need a prolific offense to beat the inept Bruins, who managed just 164 total yards 97 in one series shortly before halftime.

UCLA (6-7) lost its last five games to turn what once was a promising season into a disappointment under first-year coach Karl Dorrell. The inefficient offense was again the culprit, going 2-for-14 on third-down conversions.

Manuel Sanchez intercepted Bruins quarterback Drew Olson with 2:42 left and several Bulldogs celebrated their win by sliding face-first through the muddy field at Spartan Stadium.

Fresno State seemed to be in control until an ugly drive midway through the third quarter in which a series of mistakes left the Bulldogs facing fourth-and-37. Asi Faoa blocked the ensuing punt in the end zone for a UCLA safety.

Later in the quarter, Pinegar fumbled when he attempted to throw and left Fresno State stranded at its own 1. But the Bruins bailed out the Bulldogs by roughing punter Mike Lingua, and UCLA never mounted another significant drive.

The Bruins swore they were happy with their less than glamorous bowl destination, but they sure didn't play that way. UCLA seemed disinterested and disorganized, struggling to stop Fresno State's offense and failing to move the ball through the air or on the ground while falling behind 17-0 early in the second quarter.

After Fresno State stopped UCLA on fourth-and-1 late in the first quarter, Pinegar completed a 44-yard TD pass to Sumlin, who also had a 1-yard scoring run earlier in the period.

When Fresno State downed a punt inside the 3 shortly before halftime, the Bruins briefly woke up. UCLA went 97 yards in just seven plays, with Craig Bragg making a spectacular 27-yard diving catch in the corner of the end zone 20 seconds before halftime for the Bruins' first score.

UCLA starting safety Jarrad Page was ejected 5 seconds later after apparently throwing the final shove in a scuffle involving many players. Dorrell hollered at referee David Witvoet as they ran they off the field at halftime.

Dorrell admitted Monday that he had turned down opportunities to play Fresno State during the regular season, essentially because the Bruins have nothing to gain by facing the upset-minded Bulldogs.

Fresno State lost the first two Silicon Valley Classics, including a thrilling last-second defeat on a failed fake field goal in the inaugural game. The Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech in the game last season, overcoming several injuries for the school's first bowl victory since 1992.

The win makes the Western Athletic Conference 3-0 this bowl season. Boise State beat TCU 34-31 in the Fort Worth Bowl and Hawaii defeated Houston 54-48 in triple overtime in the Hawaii Bowl. The last WAC team to play will be Tulsa, which faces Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl on Saturday.

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