TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- As the winningest quarterback in NCAA history, Georgia's David Greene leaves behind quite a legacy.
"If I could hope, it would maybe just be the guy found a way to
win. Not for being the best quarterback, but one who found a way,"
Greene said Saturday after delivering one last time for the
Bulldogs (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) in a 24-21 victory over No. 16 Wisconsin in
the Outback Bowl.
The senior from Snellville, Ga., threw for 264 yards and two
touchdowns in his farewell, continuing his assault on the
Southeastern Conference record book and adding victory No. 42 to
his NCAA mark.
Lombardi Award winner David Pollack did his part, too, forcing a
crucial fumble with one of his three sacks to capture Outback MVP
The Bulldogs (10-2) improved to 42-10 in four years under coach
Mark Richt, the second-best run for a Georgia senior class behind
the 43-4-1 record compiled while winning a national championship
and three straight SEC titles in the early 1980s.
"This has been the best four years of my life," Pollack said.
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile."
Greene has started every game since Richt took over in 2001. He
surpassed Peyton Manning's SEC and NCAA mark for career wins (39)
this season and finished 17-1 against nonconference opponents.
The victory gave Georgia at least 10 wins for the third straight
season, one shy of the school record set 1980-83. The Bulldogs
were 13-1 with a No. 3 ranking in 2002 and finished 11-3 with a No.
7 ranking in 2003.
"Hopefully the whole Bulldog nation will always remember this
senior class because we did a great job," Gibson said. "Three
years in a row 10-win seasons, you couldn't ask for anything better
Greene completed 19 of 38 passes, but also was intercepted twice
after throwing only two during the regular season. Wisconsin's Andy Crooks returned the second pick 11 yards for a touchdown, and John Stocco's 2-point conversion pass to Jonathan Orr cut Georgia's lead
to three points with 4:13 to go.
The Bulldogs didn't give the Badgers (9-3) a chance to get
closer, driving to the Wisconsin 5 before taking a knee on
successive plays to run out the clock. Brown gained 49 of his 111
yards rushing on the final drive.
Wisconsin finished with a three-game losing streak after
beginning the season 9-0 to climb into national title contention,
but losses to Michigan State and Iowa by a combined 79-21 cost the
Badgers a share of the Big Ten title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
"Quite frankly, I think we overachieved this season," coach
Barry Alvarez said. "This is a football team that had a lot of
adversity, had key players hurt. We were consistent offensively all
year, yet we found ways to win," Alvarez said.
"You always want to win, but I think you have to be realistic
in the same respect. I do not consider it a disappointing year."
It was the third straight appearance in a New Year's Day game
for Georgia, which was ranked as high as No. 3 before falling out
of contention for a BCS berth because of losses to Tennessee and
Greene began the game by directing a 78-yard field goal drive
and threw a 19-yard TD pass to Gibson for a 10-6 lead midway
through the second quarter.
He zoomed past Manning's SEC record for total offense on his
first completion, a 31-yard throw to Leonard Pope that led to
Brandon Coutu's 20-yard field goal.
Wisconsin benefited early from Brown's fumble that set up a
field goal and a short Georgia punt that led to Mike Allen's second
field goal for a 6-3 lead. A holding penalty wiped a long
interception return to the Georgia 15, depriving the Badgers an
opportunity to build on the advantage.
Georgia threatened to blow it open early in the second half,
scoring on Greene's 24-yard pass to Thomas and Brown's 29-yard run
that made it 24-6.
But just when it looked like Wisconsin might get trounced, the
Badgers rallied behind the passing of Stocco, who threw a 19-yard
pass to Darrin Charles to trim Wisconsin's deficit to 24-13.
The Badgers squandered two opportunities to pull closer when
Allen missed a 37-yard field goal and Pollack sacked and took the
ball away from Stocco after Wisconsin drove to first-and-goal at
the Bulldogs 5.
"In hindsight, it might have been the difference in the
ballgame," Richt said of the fumble with 5:38 left.
Stocco finished 12-of-27 for 170 yards and no interceptions. He
was sacked seven times, and Wisconsin's leader rusher, Anthony Davis, was held to 79 yards on 21 carries.