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Wilson, NC State beat WVU in Champs Sports Bowl

Dec 29, 2010 - 6:43 AM Orlando, FL (Sports Network) - Russell Wilson passed for 275 yards and two touchdowns and NC State beat No. 22 West Virginia 23-7 to win the Champs Sports Bowl.

Wilson connected with Mustafa Greene on a 16-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and the Wolfpack (9-4) never trailed against a sloppy West Virginia team that had trouble getting out of its own way.

Geno Smith threw for 196 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown pass to Stedman Bailey in the second quarter that accounted for the only Mountaineer points.

West Virginia (9-4) turned the ball over on consecutive possessions in the fourth quarter.

Noel Devine fumbled at the end of a 28-yard run and Smith was intercepted by a diving Wolfpack defender at the NC State 10-yard line on a long pass destined for a touchdown.

The Mountaineers were able to escape both turnovers without giving up any points, but their luck ran out when Jock Sanders fumbled a punt at the seven- yard line and Wilson found Jarvis Williams in the end zone three plays later.

"We have a great offense and they have a great defense. It was going to be a showdown and we knew it. We were ready for it," said Wilson.

Smith fumbled on the final Mountaineers possession -- their fifth turnover of the second half. Tyler Bitancurt missed two field goals in the loss.

"You have five fumbles and lose four, I don't know what to tell you other than don't put the ball on the ground," said West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart, who will coach the Mountaineers for one more season.

Wilson completed 28-of-45 passes and also rushed 14 times for 41 yards, while Williams led all players with six catches for 77 yards.

NC State took a 7-0 lead with 1:37 remaining in the first quarter when Greene broke three tackles on the way to the end zone.

Bitancurt missed a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter, but the Mountaineers tied the game with a touchdown on their next possession.

Bailey got behind cornerback David Amerson down the right sideline and leapt for Smith's 32-yard pass in the front corner of the end zone.

Only two minutes were left in the first half, but it was enough time for NC State to retake the lead at 10-7 on Josh Czajkowski's 45-yard field goal.

Smith fumbled on West Virginia's first possession of the second half and NC State moved just five yards before Czajkowski kicked a 38-yard field goal to make it 13-7 with 6:05 left in the third quarter.

Czajkowski added a 40-yarder on the Wolfpack's next series and NC State carried a 16-7 lead into the fourth.

Devine fumbled the ball near the left sideline after he was hit by two defenders, but the Mountaineers dodged a bullet Czajkowski's missed 27-yard field goal.

Smith saw Sanders wide-open behind the defense and looked to have dropped a perfect pass into his arms in front of the end zone. But NC State safety Brandan Bishop made a diving interception worthy of the highlight reel.

"We knew all year if we didn't turn it over, we wouldn't lose," Smith said. "Unfortunately, the games we've lost we turned it over and put our defenses in bad situations. But sometimes that's the way the game goes."

Game Notes

West Virginia earned a share of the Big East title with Connecticut and Pittsburgh, but UConn won a tiebreaker for the conference's BCS bowl slot...NC State suffered a 38-31 loss to Maryland in its regular-season finale to cost the team the Atlantic Division title and a spot in the ACC Championship game...NC State evened the all-time series at 5-5...The Mountaineers made their school-record ninth straight bowl appearance...NC State made its first bowl appearance since 2008.