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Bernard has gem of game for Beavers

December 29, 2007|From the Associated Press

Yvenson Bernard figured the only defense that could have stopped him in the Emerald Bowl was wearing the same uniform as he was.

Bernard rushed for 177 yards and a touchdown in his final college game, and Oregon State stopped Maryland's running game cold to emerge from a rainy baseball stadium with a 21-14 victory Friday night at San Francisco.

After carrying the ball 38 times and jumping four spots to sixth place on the Pac-10's career rushing yardage list, Bernard felt he had carved out a perfect ending to a four-year stint in Oregon -- with plenty of help from his stalwart defense.

"I always said I wouldn't want to run against our defense, and you just saw why," Bernard said. "I don't really worry about the records and all that."

Bernard teamed with freshman James Rodgers, who rushed for a career-best 115 yards, caught an early touchdown pass and recovered Bernard's fumble for the second half's only score. With one defensive stand after another, the Beavers (9-4) extended the Pac-10's longest bowl winning streak to four and ended Coach Ralph Friedgen's three-game postseason winning streak at Maryland.

"That kid does it all," Bernard said of Rodgers. "He's definitely a threat, and you see what he causes on the offensive side. I can't imagine being a defense going against our offense."

Chris Turner passed for 205 yards and hit Isaiah Williams and Darrius Heyward-Bey with first-quarter scoring passes, but the Terrapins (6-7) stalled in the second half of their fifth loss in seven games.

Bernard passed Arizona's Trung Canidate, UCLA's Gaston Green and USC's Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell on the conference's career rushing chart.

Boston College 24, Michigan State 21 -- Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes, two to Rich Gunnell, and the Eagles extended the nation's longest bowl winning streak to eight in the Champs Sports Bowl at Orlando, Fla.

Boston College (11-3) won 11 games for the first time since 1940, but it was a season that at times had the promise of being even better. The Eagles were No. 2 in late October before losing three of their last five regular-season games.

They found plenty of motivation, though, wanting to extend their impressive bowl streak and send Ryan and his fellow seniors out on a high note.

Ryan completed 22 of 47 passes for 249 yards, but he also had an interception and a fumble. But his counterpart, Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer, had more problems, throwing four interceptions and losing a fumble for the Spartans (7-6).

"We wanted to take some chances deep against their corners," Ryan said. "They were bringing pressure all night and had a bunch of guys up in the box, so we wanted to take advantage of the one-on-one coverage. We felt it was a good matchup for us."

Gunnell had six catches for 138 yards, including touchdown receptions of 29 and 68 yards. Both catches came against Michigan State freshman Chris Rucker, who was playing for the first time since having three medical procedures in the last two months to correct a detached retina.

BC All-American safety Jamie Silva had two interceptions and was the game's most valuable player.

The Eagles sealed the win with their fourth interception of the game. Paul Anderson picked off Hoyer's pass and returned it to the Michigan State 29 with 2:29 remaining.

"You go into a season hoping never to lose," Silva said. "We did start out 8-0, which was great, but then we went on a little bad streak. No one wanted to do that. But this shows a little bit about our team, coming back and winning this game."

Michigan State, in its first bowl in four years, played without four academically ineligible players, including defensive end Jonal Saint-Dic, one of the best pass rushers in the Big Ten.

Texas Christian 20, Houston 13 -- Andy Dalton ran for a touchdown and Justin Watts had the go-ahead score as TCU (8-5) won the Texas Bowl at Houston for its third bowl victory in as many years.

Playing without coach Art Briles, who left in late November to coach at Baylor, the Cougars (8-5) extended their bowl losing streak to eight games. Their last bowl win came in the 1980 Garden State Bowl.

Interim Coach Chris Thurmond led a Houston team that often looked confused and shaky.

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Virginia Tech running back Branden Ore will be held out of the first quarter of the Orange Bowl against Kansas on Thursday because he arrived late to a practice.

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