Memphis Motors Past Akron 38-31
Dec. 26, 2005
DETROIT (AP) - DeAngelo Williams lived up to the hype.
Williams set an NCAA record with his 34th 100-yard rushing game and scored three touchdowns, leading Memphis to a 38-31 victory over Akron in the Motor City Bowl on Monday.
Williams ran for 238 yards on 31 carries and finished his career with 6,026 yards rushing - trailing only Ron Dayne, Ricky Williams and Tony Dorsett in Division I-A history - and an NCAA-record 7,573 all-purpose yards.
"I'm really not a statistical guy, but when you mention those guys, it's huge," Williams said.
The Tigers (7-5) took a 21-point lead with 3:09 left, but needed to recover an onside kick with 55 seconds left to seal the win after Luke Getsy threw his fourth touchdown pass to cut the lead to seven points.
"I didn't want to be the only coach in the country to get a Gatorade bath - then lose the game," Memphis coach Tommy West said. "I give them credit. Akron has been doing that all year, that's why they won their championship."
Akron (7-6) made a good showing in its first Division I-A bowl game after scoring 21 fourth-quarter points to beat Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
"This became an awakening around the campus and the town," Zips coach J.D Brookhart said. "To come out and see that wave of blue and gold on the sideline was awesome."
Getsy was 34-for-59 for a Motor City Bowl-record 455 yards, and tied Chad Pennington's mark for passing touchdowns in the bowl's nine-year history. Jabari Arthur broke Randy Moss's bowl record with 180 yards receiving, scoring twice on eight receptions.
"I would've rather won," Getsy said.
The Tigers led by 10 at halftime after scoring on three straight drives, then pulled away in the second half with three TDs and a field goal in four drives before nearly collapsing in the final minutes.
It was a wild finish - with 46 points scored in the final 15:46 - after Akron led 3-0 midway through the first quarter. The teams combined for 1,018 yards of offense.
Williams, who shared the 100-yard rushing record with Heisman Trophy winners Archie Griffin of Ohio State and Dorsett of Pittsburgh, broke the mark in the third quarter when he ran up the middle and bounced to the outside on an 18-yard carry.
Griffin set the mark in 42 games, and Dorsett matched it in 43 games - one fewer than Williams.
"Coach West tells me all the time that I'll appreciate it when I'm 50-, 60-years old," he said.
It wasn't shocking to see Williams run through and around the Zips with his NFL-caliber speed after Northern Illinois' Garrett Wolfe ran for 270 yards against Akron in the MAC championship game.
"He's really fast," Brookhart said. "Nobody catches him, and he takes away angles real quick."
After Getsy threw a 72-yard TD pass to Brett Biggs early in the fourth quarter to cut Akron's deficit to 23-17, Williams showed his speed and power.
He burst through a small hole in the middle of the line and sprinted for a 67-yard gain to set up his 2-yard, linemen-dragging TD for his third score, tying the bowl record.
"That touchdown run was as good of a run as he had all day," West said.
Williams, who finished seventh in voting for the Heisman, was taken out of the game midway through the fourth quarter while Memphis was driving for its 38-17 lead.
He set a Motor City Bowl record with his 238 yards, surpassing Northwestern's Jason Wright who previously held the record with 237 yards against Bowling Green in 2003.
A crowd of 50,616 attended the game in Ford Field, where the Super Bowl will be played in less than six weeks.
-- Story reflects changes made following the bowl game in which Maurice Avery was credited with a rush for five yards that should have been credited to Williams --