Dec 31

Ndominant Performance!

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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Photo: USPresswire (click to enlarge)

Holiday Bowl - Nebraska 33, Arizona 0. Behind Heisman contending lineman Ndamukong Suh, the Nebraska Cornhuskers shut out Arizona to claim their second bowl win in as many years, and their 24th overall. The Cornhuskers preach defense, and on this Holiday Bowl night, it would be tough to find a defense that is any better....Also, in the Humanitarian Bowl, Idaho won a thriller over Bowling Green, 43-42....

The "Blackshirts" they like to call themselves on the Husker defensive unit. I started hearing this phrase on Fans25 a year ago just before Clemson played Nebraska. The "skull and cross-bones" are also part of this Blackshirt idea of hard-nosed defense, and so on the message boards I started seeing names like "Throw-them-boNes" and "Skullandbones" and others, putting a spin on their favorite part of Nebraska football. Those folks must be happy this morning after watching their defense manhandle the Wildcats.

For the game Arizona had just 109 yards of total offense - an unreal number for a bowl game. More importantly, the Wildcats were just 3 of 15 in converting 3rd downs. The Huskers also dominated the time of possession, leading 38 minutes to 22 minutes.

But it wasn't just a defensive masterpiece by NU. The offense showed up in a big way, as well, posting those 33 points with plenty of time still left in the third quarter. This one could have been worse. Zac Lee was 13 of 23 for 170 yards and a touchdown pass (bomb to Niles Paul 74 yards). The rushing attack was handled by many players, including Lee who added 65 more yards via his feet, and another touchdown. Seven players carried the ball for Nebraska resulting in 223 yards.

Not to be left out is Nebraska kicker Alex Henery who contributed 12 points on kicks of 47, 50, 41 and 22 yards. He has been a solid kicker throughout his Husker career, and is a positive guy to have back for 2010 as a senior.

It stinks for the Huskers that they will be losing such a good player in Ndamukong Suh. But he will be seen often on Sundays if you turn on your TV. As a program, Nebraska can certainly be counted in that "teams on the rise" category. They return quarterback Lee, and many other key players on both sides of the ball. Mainly, they will return Head Coach Bo Pelini's attitude of toughness. Look for Nebraska to be top-15 come August.

For Arizona, this is a setback, no doubt. In Coach Mike Stoops 6th season, they are now 31-36 after turning in a 8-win season this year. They just recently lost their defensive coordinator, Mark Stoops, to Florida State and that may have had an impact on the lackluster defensive performance they turned in against Nebraska. Regardless, it is back to the drawing boards for Arizona.

Humanitarian Bowl. Idaho 43, BGSU 42.

In what was one of the better tune-up games (ok, UCLA-Temple wasn't too bad yesterday, either) I have seen in a while, Idaho - playing in it's home state - rallied with 32 seconds left to score. On the following play they converted the two-point conversion for the win.

Honestly, Bowling Green may have lost because xWR Freddie Barnes is literally too good. Instead of going for the tie to force OT, and thus have to stop Barnes and company in the extra time, Idaho decided to just go ahead and try for the win in regulation. They doubted they could stop Barnes, so within one 3-yard td for a bowl win, they went for it. And got it.

Barnes had 17 catches in the game for 213 yards and three scores. Idaho could not contain him. In the end though, a mediocre play by the Bowling Green secondary allowed Idaho to escape with the win.

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