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Bulldogs come back, turn back Cavaliers

Three years ago, Virginia broke Georgia's heart in the Peach Bowl. Payback came Thursday night.

The No. 19 Bulldogs rallied from a 21-0 deficit, then held on for a 35-33 victory over 13th-ranked Virginia when Todd Braverman's 48-yard field-goal attempt drifted just wide of the upright with 19 seconds remaining.

"We were just trying to stop the bleeding," Georgia coach Jim Donnan said. "By the end of the game, more good things happened than bad. The best thing was that missed field goal."

Quincy Carter accounted for three touchdowns and Olandis Gary ran for 110 yards and two scores as the Bulldogs (9-3) took advantage of countless mistakes by Virginia's kicking game. Georgia blocked a punt to set up a touchdown and Braverman missed two field goals and an extra point.

"We gave up 28 points in the second half _ that was the bad part," coach George Welsh said. "You can say we missed a field goal and all that, but you (can't) give up 28 points in the half."

In the 1995 Peach Bowl, Georgia bounced back from a 24-6 deficit against the Cavaliers, tying it at 27 with just over a minute remaining. But Petey Allen returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and a 34-27 victory for Virginia.

"I remember watching that game on television and thinking about coming to Georgia," said Gary, who wound up transferring from Marshall and playing two years for the Bulldogs. "This time, we came out victorious."

The Cavaliers (9-3) provided a thrilling finish after Georgia went ahead 35-27 on Carter's 1-yard sneak with 7:01 remaining.

Aaron Brooks threw an interception in the end zone with just over four minutes to go, but Virginia got the ball back and Brooks broke loose for a 30-yard scoring run with 1:34 left.

On the two-point attempt, Brooks escaped heavy pressure, but his pass at the goal line for Terrence Wilkins was batted down by Jeff Harris.

The Cavaliers weren't through. Devon Simmons recovered an onside kick at the Virginia 47, and Thomas Jones moved his team into field-goal range with a 26-yard run.

"I knew I was going to have a chance to redeem myself after the onside kick," said Braverman, who earlier missed that extra point as well as a 44-yard field goal. "It just wasn't my day."

Like his first two misses, Braverman's final attempt sailed right, missing its target by a foot or two.

"I thought it definitely had a chance most of the way," he said. "It just kept drifting right a little bit. It's just one of those things."

This marked the 15th year in a row the Peach Bowl was decided by seven points or fewer, and Virginia is getting used to blowing 21-point leads in Atlanta.

During the regular season, the Cavaliers led Georgia Tech 38-17 in the second half only to lose 41-38, costing them a share of the Atlantic Coast Conference title.

Braverman had a chance to tie that score, missing a 54-yard field goal with less than a minute left.

Carter, a 21-year-old freshman who spent the past two years playing minor-league baseball, actually had a hand in six touchdowns _ three for Georgia, three for Virginia.

He threw three interceptions in the first half, all leading to Virginia scores: Anthony Southern's 2-yard run and TD passes by Brooks of 43 yards to Wilkins and 24 yards to Jones. But Carter completed 15 of his last 20 passes for 205 yards.

"There's just one word to describe Quincy Carter _ leader," Gary said. "That's what he came out and did. He never got down, he kept his cool, he kept plugging away and we stayed with him. Quincy is not the kind of player to quit."

Larry Mann sparked Georgia by blocking Donnie Scott's punt late in the first half, setting up Carter's 11-yard TD pass to Tony Small.

The Bulldogs tied it in the third quarter on Carter's 14-yard pass to Champ Bailey _ an All-America junior likely playing his final college game _ and Gary's 15-yard scoring run.

Bailey, who took part in 113 plays on offense, defense and special teams, said he would announce a decision after talking to his parents.

Rebels win Independence

35-18 over Texas Tech

SHREVEPORT, La. _ David Cutcliffe, who spent Christmas in the hospital with an inflamed pancreas, got a victory in his coaching debut night as Mississippi beat Texas Tech 35-18 in the Independence Bowl.

Cutcliffe, still in pain, became the first Rebels coach in 20 years to win his first game.

Romaro Miller, who saw his first action since breaking his collarbone Nov. 21, threw an Independence Bowl record three touchdowns, the last a 26-yarder to Cory Peterson with 8:22 left in the game. Miller was 14-of-23 for 216 yards.

Thirty seconds later Mississippi's Anthony Magee intercepted Matt Tittle's pass and returned it to the Texas Tech 31. Eight plays later, Deuce McAllister scored on a 4-yard run.

Texas Tech (7-5) got its last score on Kevin McCullar's 14-yard fumble return, but Mississippi (7-5) responded immediately on McAllister's 43-yard return of an onside kick.

TCU finishes season

in Sun, 28-19 over USC

EL PASO, Texas _ Texas Christian captured its first bowl victory in 41 years, 28-19 over Southern Cal in the Sun Bowl.

Tailback Basil Mitchell ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns, and TCU (7-5) held the Trojans (8-5) to bowl record minus-23 yards on 21 carries.

"It's a big day for us. You couldn't buy what happened for us today," said Franchione, who in December 1997 took over a TCU program that fired Pat Sullivan after a 1-10 season. The Horned Frogs had not played a bowl game since beating Syracuse 28-27 in the 1957 Cotton Bowl.

TCU's option offense and its defense buried the Trojans early, taking a 28-3 lead in the third.

USC freshman quarterback Carson Palmer conceded the Trojans didn't think much of TCU, a 16-point underdog.

"We definitely took TCU for granted," Palmer said. "We thought we could do pretty much what we wanted. I was shocked when it was 21-0."

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