By BERNIE WILSON, AP Sports Writer
December 31, 2004
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Mack Brown and the BCS have been exonerated by the Texas
Tech Red Raiders.
Stunned at getting knocked out of the Rose Bowl by the Texas Longhorns, the
No. 4 California Golden Bears couldn't even hang with No. 23 Texas Tech in the
Holiday Bowl, losing 45-31 on Thursday night.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford said there was no connection between the snub and the
``We didn't lose the game because we didn't go to the Rose Bowl,'' Tedford
said. ``It had nothing to do with focus and preparation because we didn't go to
the Rose Bowl.
``Once and for all, please, it has nothing to do with it. It is not going to
set our program back.''
In that case, it looks as if Brown isn't such a villain, after all.
Cal had been in position to go to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 46
seasons, but was leapfrogged in the final Bowl Championship Series standings by
Brown's Texas Longhorns, who ended up in Pasadena to face Michigan on Saturday.
The day the BCS pairings were released, Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers said
Brown ``was a little classless'' for begging for poll votes to help his
Longhorns, and that the system was ``faulty.'' Tedford said votes in the
coaches' poll should be made public.
The Longhorns, by the way, beat Texas Tech 51-21 at Lubbock on Oct. 23.
Texas Tech fans mocked Cal with chants of ``Overrated!'' in the closing
The Golden Bears (10-2), who were 11 1/2 -point favorites, simply had no answer
against the Red Raiders (8-4) and their efficient spread offense, which uses
four wide receivers most of the time.
Tech senior Sonny Cumbie threw for a career-high 520 yards and three
touchdowns, including a 60-yarder to Joel Filani. Safety Vincent Meeks set up a
score with a 48-yard interception return.
Cumbie was 39-of-60 and broke the Holiday Bowl attempts record of 59 set by
BYU's Ty Detmer in 1989. He was short of Detmer's Holiday Bowl record of 576
yards, also set in 1989.
``We have a great band of players around me,'' Cumbie said. ``And so
throwing the ball to them makes things happen. I knew we could have a big night
if we executed real well.''
Cumbie said opponents can practice all they want, ``But our receivers are
too fast, our offensive linemen are too good. You can't simulate how good our
offense is in three weeks of practice.''
Cal's J.J. Arrington became just the third running back in Pac-10 history to
rush for 2,000 yards in a season. The senior from Nashville, N.C., carried 25
times for 173 yards, for 2,018 yards.
Southern Cal's Marcus Allen had 2,427 yards in 1981, and Charles White had
2,050 in 1979. Both won the Heisman Trophy.
Arrington scored on a 2-yard run in the first quarter, his 15th rushing TD
of the season, a school record. He had been tied with Lindsey Chapman and
The Golden Bears were undisciplined on defense -- they had two personal fouls
on one Tech drive -- and Rodgers looked confused at times. California was
without career receptions leader Geoff McArthur, who broke his left leg in the
fourth quarter of a 26-16 win at Southern Mississippi on Dec. 4.
``We thought we had a good game plan for them,'' Arrington said. ``We didn't
underestimate them at all. We worked hard like we did every other week for
Cal's only other loss was to No. 1 USC, 23-17 on Oct. 9.
Texas Tech (8-4) had four scoring drives that took less than two minutes
each. Trailing 14-7 after the first quarter, the Red Raiders scored 24 straight
points and had a commanding 31-14 lead by early in the third quarter.
Cumbie threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Hicks for a 17-14 lead with
8:57 left before halftime. The short drive was set up by Meeks' interception
Tech piled it on with Taurean Henderson's 2-yard run late in the second
quarter and Cumbie's 60-yard scoring pass to Filani on the opening drive of the
second half for a 17-point lead. Filani caught the ball at the Cal 40 and raced
past cornerback Daymeion Hughes into the end zone.
Hicks also had a 9-yard TD catch in the first quarter.
Rodgers threw an 11-yard TD pass to Garrett Cross and scored on a 1-yard
sneak, both in the fourth quarter. Rodgers was 24-of-42 for 246 yards, with one
Updated on Friday, Dec 31, 2004 3:28 am, EST
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