Tuesday, January 3, 2006
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
The Associated Pess
TEMPE, Ariz. - Troy Smith found a measure of redemption and Notre Dame found itself a bowl loser again in a Fiesta matchup brimming with big plays by the Buckeyes.
Suspended from last year's Alamo Bowl for taking $500 from a booster, Smith hooked up on a pair of long touchdown passes and fourth-ranked Ohio State beat the No. 5 Irish 34-20 Monday night, sending them to their eighth straight bowl loss.
Santonio Holmes set a Fiesta Bowl record with an 85-yard TD catch, then said he forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Ted Ginn scored on a 68-yard end around and caught a 56-yard touchdown pass for the Buckeyes (10-2).
Darius Walker scored all three touchdowns for Notre Dame (9-3). The Irish fell to 13-14 overall in bowls, a disappointing end for Charlie Weis in his first year as their coach.
Smith, the offensive MVP, also sat out this year's opener, but has improved steadily since then. He completed 19 of 28 passes for a career-high 342 yards and ran for another 66 in 13 attempts.
''As you watched Troy throughout his career, every day in practice, he learns a little something and gets better, and he learns from every ball game,'' Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. ''He's very passionate about being a great quarterback, and each day he's taking a step closer to it.''
The junior from Cleveland capped his performance with a pair of third-and-long completions on the Buckeyes' final scoring drive. Antonio Pittman, who rushed for 136 yards in 21 carries, broke free on a 60-yard touchdown run to seal the victory with 1:46 to play.