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For Denson, no bowl win but Irish records aplenty

Notre Dame's Autry Denson finished his career without winning a bowl, but with plenty of numbers in the Irish record book:

+ 4,318 yards rushing, including three 1,000-yard seasons, which makes him Notre Dame's all-time leading rusher.

+ 22 100-yard rushing games.

+ 5,327 all-purpose yards, breaking Allen Pinkett's record.

Denson's three rushing touchdowns Friday tied five others for the Gator Bowl record. He gained 132 yards on 26 carries.

"He was a tough, tough competitor," Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton said.

PROMISES: Georgia Tech practiced and practiced the halfback option play named "Throwback."

Last week, offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen made tailback Joe Burns a promise.

"He said he'd call it the first time we got into the red zone today," Burns said.

Friedgen held true, and the play resulted in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Burns to quarterback Hamilton.

BIG TEN: "Average teams win nine games; good teams win 10," Notre Dame's Corey Minor said Thursday. Tech finished 10-2 after the Gator Bowl, Notre Dame 9-3.

The win gave Tech its second 10-win season since 1956. The other was 1990, when Tech finished 11-0-1 and was national champion.

"Any time you get 10 wins, I think that's outstanding," Tech coach George O'Leary said. "It catapults you to next season."

Tech has won five straight bowl games; Notre Damehas lost four straight.

LIFE AFTER LOSING: A 9-1 start brought the Irish hopes of a Bowl Championship Series berth. But the seniors will leave without a 10-win season or a bowl victory.

"You can't dwell on that," offensive lineman Mike Rosenthal said. "The game is over. I can't ever again put on a Notre Dame jersey, or anything like that, so I have to go on and live my life."

MORE RECORDS: Alltel Stadium drew 70,791, the largest Gator Bowl crowd since 82,911 watched Clemson defeat West Virginia on Dec. 30, 1989. Dez White's 129 yards receiving are a record for a Tech player in a bowl game.