AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Smith, the offensive MVP, also sat out this year’s opener, but has improved steadily since then. He completed 19 of 28 passes for a career-high 342 yards and ran for another 66 in 13 attempts. “First of all, I want to let you know that sitting out of last year’s bowl, I didn’t think about that as much as you probably think I did,” Smith said. “To me, this year’s seniors, this group of guys on the field, that’s what it was about. I don’t like taking a lot of credit for what goes on on the field because it takes 11 guys.” Antonio Pittman, who rushed for 136 yards in 21 carries, broke free on a 60-yard touchdown run to seal the victory with 1:46 to play. Ginn caught eight passes for 167 yards. He zigzagged into the end zone on his long run to help the Buckeyes take to a 21-7 halftime en route to their third Fiesta Bowl victory in four years. Holmes caught five passes for 124 yards. A.J. Hawk, Ohio State’s Lombardi Award-winning linebacker and the game’s defensive MVP, sacked his girlfriend’s brother, Brady Quinn, twice. Hawk also ran down Quinn to stop a third-down play early in the fourth quarter. TEMPE, Ariz. – Troy Smith found a measure of redemption and Notre Dame found itself a bowl loser again in a Fiesta Bowl matchup brimming with big plays by the Buckeyes. Suspended from last year’s Alamo Bowl for taking $500 from a booster, Smith hooked up on a pair of long touchdown passes and fourth-ranked Ohio State beat the No. 5 Irish 34-20 Monday night, sending them to their eighth straight bowl loss. Santonio Holmes set a Fiesta Bowl record with an 85-yard TD catch, then said he forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. Ted Ginn scored on a 68-yard end around and caught a 56-yard touchdown pass for the Buckeyes (10-2). Darius Walker scored all three touchdowns for Notre Dame (9-3). The Irish fell to 13-14 overall in bowls, a disappointing end for Charlie Weis in his first year as their coach. Quinn, a third-team all-American behind USC’s Matt Leinart and Vince Young of Texas, completed 29 of 45 for 286 yards but no touchdowns. Walker gained 90 yards in 16 attempts. The Irish gave up a season-high 617 yards, 275 on the ground. “Those big plays are our Achilles’ heel,” cornerback Mike Richardson said. “We always harp on big plays. Giving up those plays put it out of reach.” A crucial play came when a video replay nullified what would have been an Ohio State turnover in the third quarter. With Notre Dame trailing 21-13 and the Buckeyes driving, Smith threw over the middle to Anthony Gonzalez, who dropped the ball at the Irish 12. Tom Zbikowski picked it up for Notre Dame and ran 88 yards to the end zone. An illegal block would have brought it back to the Buckeyes’ 21, but a video review of the play determined Gonzalez juggled the ball and it was ruled an incompletion. “That was THE play,” Weis said. “What I said to the official on the field is I hope your guy upstairs was right because that changed the whole complexion of the game.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!