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Nebraska Wins Alamo Bowl vs. Michigan State, 17-3

By NU Athletic Communications

Jammal Lord rushed for 79 yards against Michigan State.
Postgame Coverage
San Antonio, Texas Behind a stifling defensive performance and a record-setting day by sophomore I-back Cory Ross, No. 22/21 (AP/Coaches) Nebraska picked up its 10th victory of the year with a 17-3 victory over Michigan State in the 2003 MasterCard Alamo Bowl.

The Husker Blackshirts recorded five sacks and intercepted three passes in holding the Spartans to three points, equaling the lowest point total by a Husker bowl opponent in 42 bowl games.

Nebraska, which improved to 10-3 with the win, held MSU without a touchdown and allowed just 174 total yards, over 200 yards below its season average. Trevor Johnson and Demorrio Williams had two sacks apiece, as the Huskers harassed Smoker the entire game

While the Blackshirts kept MSU (8-5) in check, Ross provided most of the offensive damage, rushing for a career-high 138 yards and two touchdowns on a school-record 37 carries. Ross, who broke the 100-yard mark for the third time in the last four games, scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 6 yards, as NU built a 14-point halftime lead.

While Ross accounted for 138 of NU’s 229 yards on the ground, offensive MVP Jammal Lord was solid through the air, completing 8-of-17 passes for 160 yards, as he out-threw Spartan quarterback Jeff Smoker, who was 21-of-39 for just 156 yards.

After holding the Spartans on their first drive, the Huskers used the legs of Ross to drive 47 yards in 11 plays, setting up David Dyches’s 29-yard field goal to give NU a 3-0 lead. Ross had 37 yards rushing on the drive, which was helped by a pass interference penalty to keep the drive alive.

The Spartans came right back on their second possession, going 48 yards on 10 plays to set up Dave Rayner’s 47-yard field goal to tie the game with 3:53 remaining in the quarter.

The Husker defense forced its first turnover as Daniel Bullocks intercepted Smoker and returned it to the NU 35-yard line. The Huskers quickly took advantage as Lord found Isaiah Fluellen for a 58-yard pass deep in MSU territory. Ross then scored two plays later from two yards, giving the Huskers a 10-3 lead. Fluellen caught a career-high four passes for 84 yards, while Ross Pilkington caught three passes for 70 yards.

The Huskers struck in the final minutes of the first half, as NU went 80 yards in just three plays to take a 17-3 lead. Lord, who carried 10 times for 79 yards, broke a career-long 66-yard scamper on the first play of the drive to the MSU 14-yard line. Ross capped the drive with runs of 8 and 6 yards, putting NU ahead 17-3.

With the two touchdown lead, the Blackshirts turned up the pressure. The Spartans had their best chance in the second half, driving to the MU 17, but Pat Ricketts snuffed out the drive with an interception before Fabian Washington stopped MSU’s final drive with an interception with 1:08 remaining.

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