Nebraska Postgame Notes
2009 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl—San Diego, Calif.
Nebraska 33, Arizona 0
· Nebraska improved to 24-22 all-time in bowl games and 1-1 against Arizona in bowl games. Tonight’s victory was Nebraska’s first in four tries against Pac-10 opponents in bowl games, and the Cornhuskers’ first bowl win in four bowl contests in the state of California.
· Tonight’s victory allowed Nebraska to finish with a 10-4 record, giving the Huskers their first 10-win season since a 10-3 mark in 2003. This is Nebraska’s 25th all-time 10-win season, including 22 since 1970.
· Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini improved to 3-0 in bowl games as Nebraska’s head coach, including his victory as the interim head coach in the 2003 Alamo Bowl. He is the first Nebraska coach to win his first three bowl games.
· Pelini improved to 20-8 overall as Nebraska’s head coach and his 19 victories in his first two full seasons as Husker head coach ties Bob Devaney for the second-most in the first two seasons as NU coach, trailing only Frank Solich’s 21 victories. His 19 victories the past two seasons are the second-most wins during that stretch among coaches currently in their second year in their respective programs (Paul Johnson, Ga. Tech, 20).
· Pelini has guided Nebraska to 6-1 records in the final seven games each of the past two seasons, and he is 10-2 as Nebraska head coach in games played on or after Nov. 1. The only two losses were at No. 4 Oklahoma last season and vs. No. 3 Texas in this year’s Big 12 title game.
· In four post-season games as NU head coach (3 bowl games, 2009 Big 12 game) Bo Pelini’s Nebraska defense’s have allowed averages of 12.3 points per game (37 total), 32.8 rushing yards per game (131 total) and 173.8 total yards per game (695).
· Nebraska shut out Arizona in tonight’s game and finished the season allowing 10.4 points per game (146 total in 14 games). It was the second shutout of the season for the Cornhuskers, as they also shut out Louisiana-Lafayette 55-0 in Lincoln.
· NU entered the Holiday Bowl ranked second nationally behind Alabama in scoring defense, which has had 143 points in 13 games heading into its bowl game. If Alabama allows four points or more vs. Texas in the BCS National Championship Game, Nebraska would finish first nationally in scoring defense.
· Nebraska held Arizona scoreless tonight, marking the first time NU has held an opponent scoreless in a bowl game. It was also the first shutout in Holiday Bowl history. NU’s previous best defensive scoring effort in a bowl was allowing three points to Texas in the 1974 Sun Bowl and three points to Michigan State in the 2003 Alamo Bowl (also coached by Bo Pelini).
· Nebraska’s win over No. 22 Arizona (AP) tonight marked the Huskers’ third win of the season against a ranked opponent. NU also defeated No. 24 Missouri and No. 20 Oklahoma this season, giving NU three wins against ranked opponents for the first time since 1999.
· Arizona completed just 10-of-31 passes in tonight’s game, marking the 10th opponent in 14 games that has completed less than 50 percent of its passes.
· Arizona posted just 109 yards of total offense, easily a season low for the second straight game. The Nebraska defense allowed the previous season low of 202 yards to No. 2 Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game earlier in December. Last year, Nebraska also allowed the season low in the bowl game, giving up just 210 yards to Clemson.
· The 109 yards of total offense allowed were a Nebraska defensive bowl record and were the lowest allowed by Nebraska since the Huskers held Baylor to 84 total yards on 56 plays in 2000.
· Nebraska recorded 396 yards of total offense, just missing its fifth 400-yard game of the season. NU had just 323 yards of total offense in its last two games before the Holiday Bowl.
· Nebraska junior wide receiver Niles Paul caught four passes for 123 yards and a 74-yard touchdown in tonight’s game. The 74-yard reception was a career long, bettering a 72-yarder vs. Iowa State this season. His 74-yard reception is the longest in Nebraska bowl history, breaking a 69-yard reception by Matt Davison in the 2000 Alamo Bowl. The 74-yard reception was his ninth reception of the season of 35 yards or longer, and was the second-longest in Holiday Bowl history.
· Paul recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season. The four 100-yard receiving games ties the school record, joining Johnny Rodgers (twice), Maurice Purify (2007) and Nate Swift (2008).
· With his 123 receiving yards tonight, Paul finished the season with 796 receiving yards this season, good for fifth on the NU single-season yardage list.
· Junior place-kicker Alex Henery connected on field goals of 47, 50 and 43 yards in the first half and added a 22-yarder in the third quarter. His four field goals are a Holiday Bowl record and tied his own Nebraska bowl record after he had four last season vs. Clemson when he set the Gator Bowl record.
· The 50-yarder was the second-longest field goal in Holiday Bowl history and the second-longest in Nebraska bowl history (51 yards, Josh Brown, 2000 Alamo Bowl).
· Henery’s four field goals give him 24 this season, extending his NU season record. He now has 50 career field goals, just seven shy of Kris Brown’s school record of 57 career field goals. Henery has seven games in his career with at least four field goals, including three this season.
· Henery is the only kicker in school history with multiple bowl field goals in a career of longer than 45 yards and he now has three. In addition to tonight’s two long field goals, Henery connected on a 48-yard field goal in last year’s Gator Bowl win over Clemson.
· Henery is 8-of-8 on field goals in his two bowl games (4-4 vs. Clemson, 4-4 tonight) and his eight bowl field goals are a Nebraska record (previously Kris Brown, 6, 1995-98). Henery is a perfect 12-of-12 in postseason games, including his 4-of-4 effort against Texas in the Big 12 Championship Game. His 29 career bowl points are fifth among NU players in bowl games.
· Nebraska senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh finished the game with three tackles, including one tackle for loss. With his one tackle for loss, Suh pushed his season tackles for loss total to 24, second on the single-season list. He finished his Nebraska career with 57 tackles for loss to rank second all-time.
· Senior safety Matt O’Hanlon recorded his sixth interception of the season, the most by a Nebraska player since Josh Bullocks’ school-record 10 in 2003. His six picks are the second-most since 1991 and ties for the fifth-most in school history.
· Quarterback Zac Lee rushed four yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, marking the first rushing touchdown of his career. Lee finished the first half with 11 carries for 39 yards, and totaled a career-high 65 rushing yards tonight, bettering his 53 rushing yards at Kansas earlier this season.
· Freshman I-back Rex Burkhead had a 34-yard run in the second quarter of tonight’s game for a career-long rush. His previous long run was 16 yards. Burkhead finished the game with 17 carries for 89 yards and a five-yard second quarter touchdown. Burkhead had three carries for 41 yards on Nebraska’s second-quarter 82-yard touchdown drive.