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North Carolina State beats West Virginia 23-7 in Champs Sports Bowl

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

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

The ACC's leading passer this season has to decide whether to make an early move toward a professional baseball career or come back to the Wolpack 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 N.C. State … has been a great opportunity and a great blessing."

Wilson also had 41 yards rushing, Josh Czajkowski hit three field goals and the Wolfpack (9-4) reached nine wins 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 hopes of a cheerful sendoff for some of Bill Stewart's staff.

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

After Wilson got the scoring started with a 16-yard touchdown to Mustafa Greene, the Mountaineers tied it at 7 on Smith's 32-yard TD to Stedman Bailey in the second quarter.

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

Mixed emotions for Friedgen's finale

WASHINGTON — It has been a slow, sad march toward Ralph Friedgen's final game as coach at Maryland.

"Being with the players one last time is pretty special," he said. "You know, it's kind of like you died. It's a slow death. Everything you experience is for the last time. It's been a very stressful week for me."

Friedgen, 63, was on the verge of tears at the news conference for the Military Bowl, which matches the Terrapins against East Carolina today at RFK Stadium. The ACC coach of the year is being fired, effective after the game.

The Terrapins let go of Friedgen after offensive coordinator James Franklin accepted the coaching job at Vanderbilt and offered jobs to several Maryland assistants.

Meanwhile, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Maryland might have reached out to Tigers offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn about its vacant head coaching job. Malzahn was a candidate for the Vanderbilt job but stayed with Auburn after agreeing to a three-year contract worth at least $1 million a year.

Comcast SportsNet Washington reported that Maryland's search committee met several candidates including Malzahn, former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach and SMU coach June Jones.

MIAMI QUARTERBACK DERBY:Miami freshman quarterback Stephen Morris injured his left ankle at practice after defensive tackle Micanor Regis apparently rolled into Morris' leg, the Miami Herald reported. Morris left on crutches and later wore a boot, making it likely that junior Jacory Harris will start in Friday's Sun Bowl. Interim coach Jeff Stoutland said he wouldn't name a starter until he knew the extent of Morris' injury.

OHIO STATE APOLOGIES: Star quarterback Terrelle Pryor and four Ohio State teammates suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season apologized for selling championship rings and memorabilia and taking discounts from a tattoo parlor. The NCAA will let all five play Jan. 4 in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas. Pryor, starting tailback Dan "Boom" Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey, offensive tackle Mike Adams and backup defensive lineman Solomon Thomas said they regretted their actions.

IOWA STAR ARRESTED: Iowa starting running back Adam Robinson, already suspended for late Tuesday's Insight Bowl, was charged with possession of marijuana Monday night in his hometown of Des Moines, putting his playing career in jeopardy. Robinson, 21, was released with a promise to appear in court Jan. 5. Coach Kirk Ferentz had left him off the roster for Tuesday night's game for "failing to comply with team expectations and policies."

GEORGIA: Receiver A.J. Green says he'll sit down with his family after Friday's Liberty Bowl to discuss whether he should enter the NFL draft. Green, a junior, was the Bulldogs' leading receiver this season despite being suspended the first four games for selling a bowl jersey to an agent.

North Carolina State beats West Virginia 23-7 in Champs Sports Bowl 12/28/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 12:30am]
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