DETROIT (AP) -- DeAngelo Williams lived up to the hype.
Williams set an NCAA record with his 34th 100-yard rushing game
and scored three touchdowns, leading Memphis to a 38-31 victory
over Akron in the Motor City Bowl on Monday.
Williams ran for 233 yards on 30 carries and finished his career
with 6,021 yards rushing -- trailing only Ron Dayne, Ricky Williams
and Tony Dorsett in Division I-A history -- and an NCAA-record 7,568
"I'm really not a statistical guy, but when you mention those
guys, it's huge," Williams said.
The Tigers (7-5) took a 21-point lead with 3:09 left, but needed
to recover an onside kick with 55 seconds left to seal the win
after Luke Getsy threw his fourth touchdown pass to cut the lead to
"I didn't want to be the only coach in the country to get a
Gatorade bath -- then lose the game," Memphis coach Tommy West
said. "I give them credit. Akron has been doing that all year,
that's why they won their championship."
Akron (7-6) made a good showing in its first Division I-A bowl
game after scoring 21 fourth-quarter points to beat Northern
Illinois in the Mid-American Conference championship game.
"This became an awakening around the campus and the town,"
Zips coach J.D Brookhart said. "To come out and see that wave of
blue and gold on the sideline was awesome."
Getsy was 34-for-59 for a Motor City Bowl-record 455 yards, and
tied Chad Pennington's mark for passing touchdowns in the bowl's
nine-year history. Jabari Arthur broke Randy Moss's bowl record
with 180 yards receiving, scoring twice on eight receptions.
"I would've rather won," Getsy said.
The Tigers led by 10 at halftime after scoring on three straight
drives, then pulled away in the second half with three TDs and a
field goal in four drives before nearly collapsing in the final
It was a wild finish -- with 46 points scored in the final 15:46
-- after Akron led 3-0 midway through the first quarter. The teams
combined for 1,018 yards of offense.
Williams, who shared the 100-yard rushing record with Heisman
Trophy winners Archie Griffin of Ohio State and Dorsett of
Pittsburgh, broke the mark in the third quarter when he ran up the
middle and bounced to the outside on an 18-yard carry.
Griffin set the mark in 42 games, and Dorsett matched it in 43
games -- one fewer than Williams.
"Coach West tells me all the time that I'll appreciate it when
I'm 50-, 60-years old," he said.
It wasn't shocking to see Williams run through and around the
Zips with his NFL-caliber speed after Northern Illinois' Garrett
Wolfe ran for 270 yards against Akron in the MAC championship game.
"He's really fast," Brookhart said. "Nobody catches him, and
he takes away angles real quick."
After Getsy threw a 72-yard TD pass to Brett Biggs early in the
fourth quarter to cut Akron's deficit to 23-17, Williams showed his
speed and power.
He burst through a small hole in the middle of the line and
sprinted for a 67-yard gain to set up his 2-yard, linemen-dragging
TD for his third score, tying the bowl record.
"That touchdown run was as good of a run as he had all day,"
Williams, who finished seventh in voting for the Heisman, was
taken out of the game midway through the fourth quarter while
Memphis was driving for its 38-17 lead.
He finished 4 yards rushing short of the Motor City Bowl record
set by Northwestern's Jason Wright against Bowling Green in 2003.
"He's got too much at stake to go back in there for 10 yards,"
A crowd of 50,616 attended the game in Ford Field, where the
Super Bowl will be played in less than six weeks.