BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Benjamin Williams led South Florida to its first bowl victory, running for two first-half touchdowns in the Bulls’ 24-7 victory over East Carolina on Saturday in the inaugural PapaJohns.com Bowl.

The Bulls (9-4) played the scoreless second half without quarterback Matt Grothe. The Big East freshman of the year was kicked in the right shin in the second quarter

San Jose St. 20, New Mexico 12

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Adam Tafralis threw three TD passes for San Jose State in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl to extend New Mexico’s postseason drought to 45 years.

New Mexico (6-7) hasn’t won a bowl game since it beat Western Michigan in the 1961 Aviation Bowl and is 0-5 since 1997. For the Spartans (9-4), the win provided a final highlight in a year in which they had more wins than the three previous seasons.

Tafralis, who was 11-of-18 for 209 yards, threw scoring passes of 36 and 24 yards to James Jones and 76 yards to John Broussard.

New Mexico’s only touchdown came with 15 seconds left in the game on a 15-yard pass from Chris Nelson to Marcus Smith.

Utah 25, Tulsa 13

FORT WORTH, Texas – Louie Sakoda made four field goals, defensive star Eric Weddle ran for a score and Utah matched the longest active bowl streak with its sixth straight postseason win, 25-13 over Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl.

The Utes (8-5) have won all of their bowl games since 1999, including two years ago when they were the first non-BCS team to play in the Bowl Championship Series and beat Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl to cap an undefeated season.

Brett Ratliff was 23-of-34 passing for 240 yards and was credited with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter for the Utes, though it was actually a designed catch-and-pitch similar to a score in their Fiesta Bowl romp. Brian Hernandez caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage and pitched to Brent Casteel, who ran around the left end and leaped into the end zone.

Brent Smith scored on a pair of 1-yard keepers for Tulsa (8-5), which finished a once-promising season with its fourth loss in five games.

Boston College also has won six straight bowls. The Eagles have a chance to extend their streak next Saturday against Navy in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Weddle, the two-time Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year who also plays several snaps a game on offense, ran 10 times for 56 yards. His 4-yard score with 1:05 left in the game was his fifth rushing TD this season.

He also intercepted a pass on the final play of the game.

PapaJohns.com Bowl

South Florida 24, East Carolina 7

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Benjamin Williams led South Florida to its first bowl victory, running for two first-half touchdowns to help the Bulls beat East Carolina in the inaugural PapaJohns.com Bowl.

The Bulls (9-4) played the scoreless second half without quarterback Matt Grothe. The Big East freshman of the year was kicked in the right shin in the second quarter

The decade-old program’s only previous bowl appearance was a shutout loss last year in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. South Florida also tied its season high for wins.

Struggling to make a comeback, East Carolina (7-6) drove inside the South Florida 30 five times in the second half only to fall short.

Williams finished with 67 yards on 17 carries, and Grothe threw a 37-yard TD pass to Amarri Jackson. East Carolina’s James Pinkney threw a 48-yard scoring pass to Bobby Good.

New Mexico Bowl

San Jose St. 20, New Mexico 12

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Adam Tafralis threw three TD passes for San Jose State in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl to extend New Mexico’s postseason drought to 45 years.

New Mexico (6-7) hasn’t won a bowl game since it beat Western Michigan in the 1961 Aviation Bowl and is 0-5 since 1997. For the Spartans (9-4), the win provided a final highlight in a year in which they had more wins than the three previous seasons.

Tafralis, who was 11-of-18 for 209 yards, threw scoring passes of 36 and 24 yards to James Jones and 76 yards to John Broussard.

New Mexico’s only touchdown came with 15 seconds left in the game on a 15-yard pass from Chris Nelson to Marcus Smith.

AP-ES-12-23-06 2329EST


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