In the most lopsided victory in San Antonio since Santa Anna's troops versus Davy Crockett and company, the Nebraska Cornhuskers manhandled the Northwestern Wildcats in the Alamo Bowl and came out with a decisive 66-17 victory. The Husker point total was the most ever scored by a team in a bowl game. Their point total was just five points shy of the Alamo Bowl record for combined score.
Dan Alexander capped his senior season by rushing for a personal and bowl record best 240 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Husker offensive attack that was able to score almost at will.
"Any running back in the nation could have run for 240 yards behind our offensive line tonight," Alexander said. "When you had the holes I had it was easy."
Nebraska piled up 544 yards of total offense including 384 yards rushing. They set a team record by scoring 31 points in the second period. They followed that up with another 21 in the third. The Huskers had six scoring drives of three plays or less.
Quarterback Eric Crouch ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 91 yards and one touchdown. Wingback Bobby Newcombe, a former quarterback, got into the passing action with a 69 yard third quarter touchdown pass to Matt Davison off a pitch from Crouch.
"Bobby's an excellent thrower as you well know. Once he's got the ball in his hands the plays are going to come for him," said Solich. "It was really a well executed play."
The first quarter ended with little sign of what was to come. Nebraska held a 7-3 lead thanks to a 15 yard TD run by Alexander. But with the start of the second quarter came the start of the scoring explosion.
Northwestern took their only lead of the game on the third play of the period. Quarterback Zak Kustok hit Teddy Johnson with a 10 yard TD pass. The lead lasted for just twenty seconds. On the first snap of the next drive Crouch broke loose on an option play and out ran the Wildcat defense for 50 yards. Nebraska's next drive took slightly longer to complete. Behind a 33 yard run by Alexander, the Huskers capped a 49 yard drive in three plays with Alexander's second score.
The onslaught continued later in the second when Newcombe fielded a punt at the Wildcat 40 and raced down to the 8 yard line. Three plays later Buckhalter dove in from 2 yards out. Nebraska opened the lead to 28-10 midway through the second stanza.
As the second period wound down, the flurry of scores picked up again. Nebraska kicker Josh Brown hit a career best 51-yard field goal. Northwestern showed some life with a 69 yard touchdown run by Damien Anderson to make the score 31-17 with 1:06 left in the half. Nebraska struck back quickly with a two play drive that ended with a 58 yard touchdown pass to Newcombe. At the half Nebraska was up 38-17.
"Any time I sensed a little bit of a momentum change they just struck right back. That's what great football teams do," said Northwestern head coach Randy Walker.
The Huskers scored three times in the third on a pair of touchdown passes to Davison, including Newcombe's toss, and Crouch's second rushing score.
Nebraska aided their scoring deluge by keeping their first string offensive unit on the field until well into the fourth quarter. Solich defended the move by pointing to Northwestern's ability to rally from large deficits in the past.
"Against a team like Northwestern that is so explosive offensively (you) worry the second half because they have shown the ability to come back against almost everybody they've played," Solich said. "It was never a game that, even though the score was mounting, I truly felt comfortable with until into the fourth quarter."
Northwestern's offense showed times of explosiveness but seemed frustrated throughout most of the game. Star running back Damien Anderson rushed for 149 yards, most of those coming on two plays. Anderson had a 57 yard run in addition to his 69 yard scoring jaunt. Kustok rushed for 55 yards and completed 15 of 35 attempts for 138 yards.
The win gives the Huskers a 10-2 record and keeps the teams hopes of at least a Top 5 finish alive.
"Hopefully the play was good enough when the final ratings come out we'll be rated as high as we can possibly be rated," Solich said.