December 26, 2003
DETROIT -- Northwestern took away Bowling Green's running game. So Josh
Harris beat the Wildcats through the air.
Harris passed for 386 yards and three touchdowns to lead Bowling Green to a
28-24 victory over Northwestern in the Motor City Bowl on Friday night.
"They were able to confuse us early and it took us a while to adjust,"
Harris said. "Luckily, our defense was able to contain them long enough for us
to settle down and figure things out."
Bowling Green (11-3) took the lead for good on Harris' 3-yard touchdown pass
to Cole Magner with 4:06 left.
"We knew going in that Josh Harris was a special player," Northwestern
coach Randy Walker said. "We wanted to make him throw the ball. ... He showed
why he's such a great player by having success throwing the ball in the second
Harris, who also ran for a TD, set a Motor City Bowl record for completions
with 38 in 50 attempts. Magner also set a game record for catches, finishing
with 12 for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
Jason Wright ran for 237 yards on 21 carries and finished with 336
all-purpose yards for Northwestern (6-7).
He had a 77-yard TD run -- the second-longest run in Motor City Bowl history
-- to give the Wildcats a 17-7 lead early in the third quarter and an 88-yard
kickoff return early in the fourth to set up Noah Herron's 2-yard touchdown run
that made it 24-21.
Wright said he took offense to being called slow by one of the announcers
during ESPN's Hawaii Bowl broadcast Thursday night.
"I wanted to show how fast I was. Those long runs were ideal," Wright
said. "I just didn't want anyone to catch me from behind."
Bowling Green used two 80-yard scoring drives to take a 21-17 lead early in
the fourth. Harris threw a 7-yard TD pass to Magner, and put the Falcons on top
with an 11-yarder to Steve Sanders.
"I think our kids knew at halftime that we were still in the game,"
Falcons coach Gregg Brandon said. "I could tell that they had enough resolve
to get it done."
Northwestern opened the scoring on Herron's 40-yard fourth-down run in the
first quarter, and made it 10-0 on Brian Huffman's 31-yard field goal. Bowling
Green answered with a 67-yard drive, capped by Harris' 4-yard run.
Wright was named the game's co-MVP, along with Harris, while Northwestern's Luis Castillo was named the game's UAW Lineman of the Game. It was the first time in Motor City Bowl history that the losing team had two players receive post-game honors.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)
MOTOR CITY BOWL RECORDS SET
(old record in parentheses)
Most Yards: 237, Jason Wright, NU
(190, Chester Taylor, Toledo vs. Cincinnati, 2001)
Best Avg. per Carry (min. 10 attempts): 11.3, Jason Wright
(9.5, Doug Chapman, Marshall vs. BYU, 1999)
Most Completions: 35, Josh Harris, BGSU
(35, Chris Redman, Louisville vs. Marshall, 1998)
Highest Completion Pct.: .760, Harris (38-of-50)
(.750, Chad Pennington, Marshall vs. Louisville, 1998)
Most Receptions: 12, Cole Magner, BGSU
(10, Carl Ford, Toledo vs. Boston College, 2002)
Most Yards: 336, Jason Wright, NU
Fumbles Forced: 2, Keon Newson, BGSU
(1, numerous times)
Kickoff Return: 88, Jason Wright, NU
(35, Donta Greene, Toledo vs. Boston College, 2002)
Most Points Receiving: 12, Cole Magner, BGSU *
(12, James Williams, Marshall vs. Louisville, 1998)
(12, Grant Adams, Boston College vs. Toledo, 2002)
Most TD Receiving: 2, Magner *
(2, Williams & Adams)
Most Total Yards: 454, Josh Harris, BGSU
(445, Chad Pennington, Marshall vs. Louisville, 1998)
Most Yards: 357, Northwestern
(322, Toledo vs. Cincinnati, 2001)
Most Completions: 38, BGSU
(35, Louisville vs. Marshall, 1998)
Most Plays: 88, BGSU
(87, Ole Miss vs. Marshall, 1997)
Most TDs Rushing: 3, Northwestern *
(3, Louisville vs. Marshall, 1998)
(3, Boston College vs. Toledo, 2002)
Most Points Scored in Fourth Quarter: 14, BGSU *
(14, Marshall vs. Ole Miss, 1997)
Most First Downs: 30, BGSU *
(30, Boston College vs. Toledo, 2002)
* tied record