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AROUND THE NATION | CAPITAL ONE BOWL

Alvarez Goes Out a Winner, 24-10

January 03, 2006|From the Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. — With a masterful offensive performance and a surprisingly stingy defense, the Wisconsin Badgers gave Coach Barry Alvarez a proper send-off.

Brian Calhoun rushed for 213 yards, John Stocco passed for 301 and Brandon Williams had 173 yards receiving, lifting the No. 21 Badgers to a 24-10 victory over No. 7 Auburn in the Capital One Bowl on Monday.

It was the perfect tribute to a coach who restored pride to a down-and-out program.

"We wanted to be on," said Stocco, who threw two touchdown passes. "We just wanted to thank him for everything he's done, not just this year but since he's been here.

"This is coach's day. It just feels great to send him out of here like this."

The 10 1/2 -point underdog Badgers (10-3) were in control throughout against the Tigers (9-3), who flopped after ending the regular season with wins over Georgia and Alabama.

Alvarez never let his coaching finale be about himself, but the Badgers' near-flawless performance offered a fine opportunity for a little reflection.

"The main thing I'm most proud of is that we brought pride back to our fans for our football program," Alvarez said.

It was a fitting farewell for Alvarez, who led Wisconsin to eight bowl wins in 16 seasons and now will focus on his duties as athletic director. The Badgers were 1-5 in the postseason before his arrival and sent him off with his fourth 10-win season.

Wisconsin amassed 311 yards and a 17-0 lead in the first half, leaving little doubt that Alvarez would get to celebrate another big win.

The architect of numerous firsts for Wisconsin, Alvarez became the first Badger coach to win his finale since Milt Bruhn in 1966. Defensive coordinator Bret Bielema takes over as coach.

Alvarez declined to rate the victory.

"I hate to rank wins because I love them all," he said. "Nobody enjoys winning more than me."

The Tigers tried to edge back into the game in the second half, but never really got going.

"We didn't have the answer," Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville said. "Offensively, we couldn't make a first down. That's not like us."

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