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Star back delivers for Memphis
By wire services
Published December 27, 2005
DETROIT - DeAngelo Williams and his roommate put a damper on Akron's first bowl.
Maurice Avery, who started the season as a wide receiver and took over at quarterback because of injuries, sparked the Memphis offense early, and Williams took over in the second half as the Tigers raced to a 38-31 victory Monday in the Motor City Bowl, using the long ball to keep the Zips defense off-balance before 45,801.
Williams went over 100 yards with an 18-yard burst in the third quarter, setting an NCAA record of 34 games of 100 yards or more. He was tied with Heisman Trophy winners Archie Griffin and Tony Dorsett.
"I'm really not a statistical guy, but when you mention those guys, it's huge," Williams said.
Williams became the fourth running back in NCAA history to go over 6,000 yards for his career (6,021) with 233 yards on 30 carries against the Zips. He was 4 yards short of the Motor City record by Northwestern's Jason Wright, and his three touchdowns tied the bowl record.
Avery's ability to go deep helped stake the Tigers to a 13-3 halftime lead. He completed 5 of 9 first-half passes for 143 yards, and the Tigers held a 21-point lead with 3:09 left.
Still, they needed to recover an onside kick with 55 seconds left to seal the win after Luke Getsy threw his fourth touchdown to cut the lead to seven.
"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 made a good showing in its first Division I-A bowl after scoring 21 in the fourth 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-of-59 for a Motor City Bowl-record 455 yards, and he tied Chad Pennington's mark for passing touchdowns in the bowl's nine-year history. Jabari Arthur broke Randy Moss' bowl record with 180 yards receiving, scoring twice on eight receptions.
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.