On today’s Big Red Report, I want to play on military words that describe rapid dominance on the battlefield, so I’m calling this 33-0 Holiday Bowl victory for the Cornhuskers “Shuck and Awe.” All three facets of Nebraska’s game worked well. Special teams.
Alex Henery, four field goals, he was drilling kicks of 47, 50, 41 and 22 yards. Niles Paul had a strong return game, 238 all-purpose yards including four catches for 123 yards and a 74 yard catch and run touchdown. Now that it’s over, I feel for Arizona cornerback Devin Ross. He slipped on his coverage of Paul on that long touchdown. He also dropped two interceptions. One from Cody Green who saw a series in the first half and then another in the end zone on Nebraska’s opening drive of the third quarter.
Other than those two offensive miscues (and Curenski Gilleylen acting like he was playing hockey), I thought Zac Lee managed the offense well as Shawn Watson dialed up different looks including the Wildcat formation that helped freshmen running Rex Burkhead pick up 92 yards rushing and a touchdown.
However, the game ball has to go to the Blackshirts. One of the most dominating performances in a bowl game. They held Arizona to just 109 yards. 72 of those yards came on their last possession of the game. Before that, quarterback Nick Foles and the Arizona offense was held to 37 yards in 38 offensive plays.
Head coach Bo Pelini said a win or loss would not define either team, but after that performance, it’s hard not to say that this game didn’t mean something. Who says these bowl games like the Holiday Bowl are meaningless? As much of a positive impact it has on NU, it’s devastating for Pelini’s friend, Mike Stoops.
We’ll wrap up the 2009 season tomorrow with our final Big Red Report.