Scores
CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL

Final

West Virginia 7

(9-4, 5-2 Big 12)

(25) NC State 23

(9-4, 5-3 ACC)

Coverage: ESPN

6:30 PM ET, December 28, 2010

1 2 3 4 T
WVU 0 7 0 07
#25NCST 7 3 6 723

Top Performers

Passing: R. Wilson (WIS) - 275 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: J. Washington (NCST) - 18 CAR, 62 YDS

Receiving: J. Williams (NCST) - 6 REC, 77 YDS, 1 TD

Wolfpack win nine games for first time since '02

Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. -- If this was Russell Wilson's football finale, he sure made the most of it.

Wilson threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, leading North Carolina State past No. 22 West Virginia 23-7 in the Champs Sports Bowl on Tuesday night.

The Atlantic Coast Conference's leading passer this season now has to decide whether to make an early move toward a professional baseball career or come back to lead the Wolfpack again next year.

"I've been blessed to have the opportunity to play football and baseball my whole life," Wilson said. "If it happens in the future that I can still do that, or if it doesn't, whatever, but I know that playing for Coach [Tom] O'Brien and playing for NC State -- whether I do come back or not -- has been a great opportunity and a great blessing.

"I'm very passionate about NC State and NC State football, and I will always be," he said.

Wilson also had 41 yards rushing, Josh Czajkowski made three field goals and the Wolfpack (9-4) won nine games for the first time since 2002.

Geno Smith had 196 yards passing and an injured Noel Devine ran for 50 yards for the Mountaineers (9-4), whose five second-half turnovers ended any hopes of a cheerful send off for some of Bill Stewart's staff.

Stewart is being slowly moved out as coach, with Dana Holgorsen, Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator, taking over at the same position next year at West Virginia before moving into Stewart's job in 2012. The game was current offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen's last game.

How it will all work remains a mystery.

"I don't mean to be a wise [guy], but this is not the time to talk about next year," Stewart said. "I just finished a bowl game. I'll see them Jan. 9 and we'll start preparation then for 2011."

Instead, this one was a coronation for someone else.

Wilson, who earned the bowl's MVP honor, may very well have played his last football game for the Wolfpack. He spent much of the summer playing second base in the Colorado Rockies' minor league system, and his career in baseball has always seemed more promising.

The Wolfpack can only hope he returns.

Wilson was 28-for-45 passing, had no interceptions and shredded a West Virginia defense that had been solid. It was the most points that the Mountaineers -- who had never given up more than 21 points -- allowed all season.

"We've got to try to persuade him to come back," running back James Washington said.

Wilson's 16-yard touchdown pass to Mustafa Greene put the Wolfpack up 7-0 in the first quarter, and they never had trouble moving the ball after that. Scoring, at least early, was another matter.

NC State's offense stalled several times after crossing into Mountaineers' territory. The Wolfpack also faked a potential 43-yard field goal in the second quarter that was a disaster: Holder Corey Tedder threw an over-the-shoulder pass from his knees that skipped off the new field turf, kicker Czajkowski was hit amid the scramble and West Virginia took possession.

West Virginia capitalized when Smith threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Stedman Bailey, who reached over defensive back David Amerson to catch the ball and tie the game.

But the Mountaineers ended any chance of a comeback with late turnovers. Smith fumbled a handoff, Devine lost the ball after a hit by Amerson and then Smith was intercepted by Brandon Bishop.

As if that wasn't enough, Jock Sanders fumbled a punt on the West Virginia 7-yard line that led to a 3-yard TD catch by Jarvis Williams to seal the victory. Smith also had another fumble in the final minutes.

"We said all year long that our motto was we can only stop ourselves and beat ourselves and that's pretty much what happened," Devine said.

The win put Wilson in elite company with only one other Wolfpack quarterback: Only the 2002 team that went 11-3, led by Philip Rivers, had won at least nine games.

Even if he does opt to leave school early, Wilson said he isn't giving up on either of his dreams.

"I want to be a starting quarterback in the NFL one day, and I want to be a starting second baseman in Major League Baseball one day," he said. "No matter what, I work my butt off every day to try to be the best and that's my mindset."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
WVU
NCST
1st Downs1921
Total Yards326378
Passing196275
Rushing130103
Penalties3-294-39
3rd Down Conversions6-138-20
4th Down Conversions0-10-1
Turnovers51
Possession23:1436:46

Passing Leaders

West VirginiaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Smith22/391965.011
North Carolina StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Wilson28/452756.120

Rushing Leaders

West VirginiaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Smith12594.9018
Devine8506.3028
North Carolina StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Washington18623.4011
Wilson14412.9018

Receiving Leaders

West VirginiaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Bailey46115.3132
Sanders55811.6026
North Carolina StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Williams67712.8132
Davis56813.6026

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERWVUNCST
TD01:37Mustafa Greene 16 Yd Pass From Russell Wilson (Josh Czajkowski Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERWVUNCST
TD02:10Stedman Bailey 32 Yd Pass From Geno Smith (Tyler Bitancurt Kick) 77
FG00:26Josh Czajkowski 45 Yd 710
THIRD QUARTERWVUNCST
FG06:05Josh Czajkowski 38 Yd 713
FG01:50Josh Czajkowski 40 Yd 716
FOURTH QUARTERWVUNCST
TD03:55Jarvis Williams 7 Yd Pass From Russell Wilson (Josh Czajkowski Kick) 723

Research Notes

West Virginia definitely picked a bad time to play its worst game of the year. They had a season-low in points scored (7) and season-highs in points allowed (23) and turnovers (5)
  [+]
NC State's 10-play, 86-yard TD drive in the first quarter against West Virginia was an unlikely one. West Virginia's defense entered the Champs Sports Bowl allowing just four touchdowns this season when the opponent starts a drive at or inside its own 25 yard-line, the fewest of any FBS team.

ESPN Stats & Information