Dec. 30, 2000
SAN ANTONIO - The Nebraska Cornhuskers claimed they weren't mad about
being left out of the Bowl Championship Series.
No. 9 Nebraska ended a disappointing season by setting a bowl record for
points in a 66-17 victory over No. 18 Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl on
"We would have liked to be in a BCS game, but we put ourselves in this
position," said Matt Davison, who had two touchdown catches. "Hopefully, with
an overpowering football game like this we can leave our legacy."
The Cornhuskers (10-2) broke the bowl record set by Texas A&M in a 65-21
victory over Virginia in the 1990 Holiday Bowl. Nebraska's previous bowl high
came in a 62-24 victory over Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.
"Finishing 10-2 is a great record. This is a great football team and
hopefully everybody can see that," Davison said.
Dan Alexander ran for 240 yards and two touchdowns and Eric Crouch ran for
two touchdowns and threw for two more scores for Nebraska, which shut out
Northwestern (8-4) in the second half.
Northwestern had taken advantage of a special teams blunder by Nebraska for
a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. Keyuo Craver was called for pass
interference on a fake punt, setting the Wildcats up at the Nebraska 21. Zak
Kustok hit Teddy Johnson with a 10-yard pass for the Wildcats' only lead of the
game. Northwestern also had a 44-yard field goal by Tim Long in the first quarter.
But after falling behind 10-7 early in the first quarter, the Huskers outscored
Northwestern 59-7 the rest of the way.
The crushing blow to Northwestern's chances came at the end of the first half. Damien Anderson scooted straight up the gut and broke off a 69-yard touchdown run to make the score 31-17 with just 1:10 left in the half. But the Huskers came right back, using a screen pass for another score and a 38-17 lead heading into the locker room.
"Any time I sensed a little bit of a momentum change they just struck right
back," said Northwestern coach Randy Walker
. "That's what great football teams do."
Nebraska coach Frank Solich, hoping to finish with a Top 5 ranking, didn't
pull his starters until about 10 minutes were left with Nebraska leading 59-17. The final touchdown scored by the starters only served to poured salt on Northwestern's wounds, as he called a halfback option pass that went for a 69-yard score.
Correll Buckhalter scored twice and Bobby Newcombe caught a TD pass and
threw another to Davison as the Cornhuskers set several records for the
8-year-old bowl. Davison had two TD catches.
Anderson, a who finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting this year, ran for 149 yards and a touchdown for Northwestern.
The Wildcats helped Nebraska by routinely giving up great field
position in the first half. Nebraska's worst field position of the half was its
own 36. The Huskers opened three drives in Northwestern territory and one on
"We're not going to internalize this failure, but we're not going to burn
the tape, either," said Walker. "This one game doesn't diminish in any way what we accomplished."
The Wildcats, who were 3-8 last year in Walker's first season, were in just
their fourth bowl.
Nebraska set a school bowl record with 31 points in the second quarter,
topping the 29 points the Huskers scored in the second against Florida in the
1996 Fiesta Bowl. The Huskers didn't let up in the second half, either, scoring 21 points in the third quarter.
Nebraska needed only five plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 15-yard run by
Alexander just 2:11 into the game. Alexander added a 2-yard touchdown run in
the second and had 119 yards by halftime, setting an Alamo Bowl record.
Crouch had a 50-yard TD run and Buckhalter and Newcombe each scored before
halftime. Newcombe caught a short pass and easily outran the Wildcats for a
58-yard score with 20 seconds left.
Newcombe set up Buckhalter's 2-yard run that put the Huskers up 28-10 with a
32-yard punt return to the Northwestern 10. He also threw the controversial 69-yard TD pass to
Davison that made it 58-17 late in the third quarter. Wildcats fans booed the
pitch pass from the former quarterback, who had no trouble hitting a wide-open
Davison for the touchdown.
Josh Brown set a personal best and Alamo Bowl record with a 51-yard field
goal late in the second for Nebraska. His previous best was 42 yards and the
Alamo Bowl record was 49 by Texas A&M's Kyle Bryant against Michigan in 1995.
Alexander broke his personal best of 208 yards set in the season opener
against San Jose State and he shattered the Alamo Bowl record of 113 yards
Iowa's Sedrick Shaw had against Texas Tech in 1996.