Run and Shoot: Fresno State wins H-Bowl

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Fresno State wins H-Bowl

BOISE, Idaho — This time the lame duck coach didn’t walk off the blue turf at Bronco Stadium with a win for a going-away present.
Fresno State spoiled Georgia Tech's Jon Tenuta’s head coaching debut — and last game with the Yellow Jackets — with a 40-28 victory in front of a pro-Bulldog crowd on a bitter-cold day.

Bulldogs quarterback Tom Brandstater was named Fresno State's MVP after completing 23-of-30 passes for 285 yards and one touchdown and ran for another, and running back Clifton Smith rushed for 152 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries as Fresno State’s offense dominated.
The Bulldogs churned out 571 yards of offense, including 285 yards rushing against a Georgia Tech defense that entered the game yielding just an average of 100.2 yards through the first 12 games. Fresno’s offensive line also did not allow a sack against a defense averaging a national-best four sacks per game.
"The thing that I'll remember about this team, is13 games they played hard," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said. "They represented themselves very well."
One season after the Bulldogs' first losing season in eight years, Fresno State rebounded to finish 9-4. The bowl win was Fresno State's fourth consecutive bowl win against BCS opponents. It was also the second bowl win over Georgia Tech for the Bulldogs, and their second Humanitarian Bowl win. Fresno State defeated Georgia Tech 30-21 in the 2002 Silicon Valley Classic and topped Virginia 37-34 in overtime in 2004.
The win was the first for the WAC this bowl season. WAC teams are now 1-2 in bowl games this season.
Nevada lost to New Mexico 23-0 in the New Mexico Bowl, and East Carolina defeated Boise State 41-38 in the Hawaii Bowl.
WAC champion Hawaii (12-0) plays Georgia (10-2) on Tuesday in the Sugar Bowl.
"It just feels ecstatic," Brandstater said of the victory. "... I was at the bottom of the (celebration) pile three years ago. It feels good to be a part of it."
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior quarterback put his team up 17-7 with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Drew Lubinsky in the second quarter, and later weaved around and through Georgia Tech's defense for a 24-yard scoring run in the third quarter that put the Bulldogs on top, 34-14.
Smith opened up the second half with a 43-yard touchdown run to give Fresno State a 27-7 lead.
Georgia Tech came back with three scores in the second half. Its final score — a 20-yard pass from quarterback Calvin Booker to receiver D.J. Donley — cut the lead to 34-28 with 2 minutes 48 seconds remaining in the game.
Smith countered with his second score, a 32-yard run, with less than 2 minutes, and safety Jake Jorde sealed the win when he intercepted Booker's final pass.
"To go out against an ACC team like Georgia Tech, it means a lot," Smith said.
Georgia Tech slipped to 7-6 with its third consecutive bowl loss. Georgia Tech is now 22-14 in bowl games, including a 1-1 mark in the Humanitarian Bowl, and 1-3 against no-BCS teams this decade.
The Yellow Jackets came to Boise without former coach Chan Gailey, who was fired on Nov. 26. Tenuta, the team's defensive coordinator the past six seasons, coached the game as the interim head coach.
Former Navy coach Paul Johnson was hired on Dec. 7 to take over at Georgia Tech in 2008. Johnson watched the game from the press box.
"... You just sit there and watch the team," he said during halftime. "That's about all you can do."
Johnson said he will hold a staff meeting after the new year and focus on recruiting.
He said he would wait until after the bowl game to name his coaching staff.
Georgia Tech amassed 379 yards of offense and used three different quarterbacks.
Junior Calvin Booker, the third to enter the game, experienced the most success of the trio. He connected on 7-of-15 passes for 116 yards with one touchdown against one interception.
Starter Taylor Bennett was 9-for-15 for 91 yards and one touchdown before leaving the game late in the first quarter. Josh Nesbitt took over for the final drive of the quarter and rushed six times for 37 yards and completed 1-of-2 passes for 11 yards with no touchdowns.
Jonathan Dwyer led the Yellow Jackets with 62 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns rushing.
Tenuta said he enjoyed his one game as interim head coach. But he did not experience the same sendoff that Larry Coker did with Miami beating Nevada 21-20 in last year's game in Boise.
"Once it got going I enjoyed it a little bit more," Tenuta said.
"We just didn’t play well. We started out good then, wow, we gave up too many big plays."

PLAYER OF THE GAME
Clifon Smith, running back, Fresno State
The senior rushed for 152 yards and two long touchdowns on 18 carries and had four catches for 57 more yards.

PLAY OF THE GAME
Fresno State quarterback Tom Brandstater prevented a sack and ran around and through the Georgia Tech defense for a 24-yard touchdown run in the thrid quarter to give the Bulldogs a 34-14 lead.

BACK IN ACTION
Fresno State opens the 2008 season Aug. 30 at UCLA, while Georgia Tech opens the 2008 season at home against Jacksonville State on Aug. 30.

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