SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- Rodney Davis rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries as Fresno State rallied for a 30-21 victory over Georgia Tech in the Silicon Valley Classic.
Davis was Fresno State's main option on offense in the absence of wide receiver Marque Davis, one of six Bulldogs suspended for failing to meet Western Athletic Conference academic requirements. He also became a key player due to the muddy field at Spartan Stadium.
"The field conditions were bad and our game plan was to control the ball," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said.
Davis broke the Silicon Valley Classic record for carries set last year by Michigan State's T.J. Duckett and was named the game's offensive Most Valuable Player.
"We came in knowing that we had to establish the run game," Davis said. "We just kept pounding them and pounding them with hard work. It paid off toward the end."
Asen Asparuhov kicked three field goals, including a 33-yarder with 3:44 remaining that gave Fresno State (9-5) a 23-21 lead. The Bulldogs clinched the victory on Davis' 29-yard touchdown run with 2:23 left.
Asparuhov, who also connected on field goals of 22 and 42 yards, converted a 35-yard extra point following a penalty for excessive celebration.
"It is my job to make field goals," Asparuhov said. "My holder did a great job all day."
The Bulldogs rallied for the win after freshman quarterback Damarius Bilbo had sparked the Yellow Jackets (7-6) with a one-yard touchdown run and a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Smith in the third quarter.
Although he catalyzed the Georgia Tech offense, Bilbo was inconsistent in relief of junior A.J. Suggs, throwing four interceptions.
On 4th-and-1 with 2:33 left in the game, he threw an incompletion well short of wide receiver LeKeldrick Bridges to set up Freson State's insurance touchdown. Two of his interceptions came in the final two minutes and killed any hopes of a Yellow Jackets' comeback.
"I just have to learn from it," Bilbo said. "Learn from my mistakes."
Suggs completed only 2-of-7 passes for 40 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions before he was lifted at halftime. Suggs' second interception was returned 48 yards by safety Dee Meza for a touchdown that gave Fresno State a 13-7 lead with 14 seconds left in the first half.
"We thought we could take a shot," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said. "If we didn't like it, don't take a chance and just throw it away. (Suggs) just didn't get it throw it away."
The Bulldogs held the lead at halftime despite averaging just 27 yards on seven first-half drives.
Fresno State's offense continued to struggle through the mud in the second half, but was invigorated by two big plays. Freshman Paul Pinegar's 68-yard pass to Deandre Gilbert set up a three-yard touchdown run by Davis and Pinegar's 23-yard scramble on 3rd-and-17 kept the Bulldogs moving for the go-ahead field goal.
Pinegar, named the Rookie of the Year in the Western Athletic Conference, completed 16-of-30 passes for 188 yards for the Bulldogs, who won eight of their last 10 games and ended the season with a five-game winning streak.
Georgia Tech tied a school record with its sixth straight bowl appearance, but dropped to 20-11 all-time in the postseason.
The third time was a charm for Fresno State as it lost its two previous appearances in the Silon Valley Classic to Air Force in 2000 (37-34) and Michigan State last year (44-35).