Nebraska pounds Northwestern to take Alamo
Updated: Sunday December 31, 2000 10:33 AM
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The Nebraska Cornhuskers claimed they weren't mad about being left out of the Bowl Championship Series.
No. 9 Nebraska ended a disappointing season by setting a bowl record for points in a 66-17 victory against No. 18 Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl on Saturday night.
"We would have liked to be in a BCS game, but we put ourselves in this position," said Matt Davison, who had two touchdown catches. "Hopefully, with an overpowering football game like this, we can leave our legacy."
The Cornhuskers (10-2) broke the bowl record set by Texas A&M in a 65-14 victory against Brigham Young in the 1990 Holiday Bowl. Nebraska's previous bowl high came in a 62-24 victory against Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.
"Finishing 10-2 is a great record. This is a great football team and hopefully everybody can see that," Davison said.
Dan Alexander ran for 240 yards and two touchdowns and Eric Crouch ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more scores for Nebraska, which shut out Northwestern (8-4) in the second half.
After falling behind 10-7 early in the first quarter, the Huskers outscored Northwestern 59-7 the rest of the way.
"We felt all year long like we were one of the best teams in the country. We still feel like that," Solich said. "This team showed what it was capable of."
Correll Buckhalter scored twice and Bobby Newcombe caught a TD pass and threw another to Davison as the Cornhuskers set several records for the 8-year-old bowl. Davison had two TD catches.
Damien Anderson ran for 149 yards and a touchdown for Northwestern.
The overmatched Wildcats helped Nebraska by routinely giving up great field position in the first half. Nebraska's worst field position of the half was its own 36. The Huskers opened three drives in Northwestern territory and one on the 50 while taking a 38-17 halftime lead.
"We're not going to internalize this failure, but we're not going to burn the tape, either," Northwestern coach Randy Walker said. "This one game doesn't diminish in any way what we accomplished."
The Wildcats, who were 3-8 last year in Walker's first season, were in just their fourth bowl.
"Any time I sensed a little bit of a momentum change they just struck right back. That's what great football teams do," Walker said.
Nebraska set a school bowl record with 31 points in the second quarter, topping the 29 points the Huskers scored in the second against Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.
The Huskers didn't let up in the second half, scoring 21 points in the third quarter while improving to 2-1 in bowl games under Solich and 20-19 overall in bowls.
Nebraska needed only five plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 15-yard run by Alexander just 2:11 into the game. Alexander added a 2-yard touchdown run in the second and had 119 yards by halftime, setting an Alamo Bowl record.
Crouch had a 50-yard TD run and Buckhalter and Newcombe each scored before halftime. Newcombe caught a short pass and easily outran the Wildcats for a 58-yard score with 20 seconds left.
Newcombe set up Buckhalter's 2-yard run that put the Huskers up 28-10 with a 32-yard punt return to the Northwestern 10. He added a 69-yard TD pass to Davison that made it 59-17 late in the third quarter. Wildcats fans booed the pitch pass from the former quarterback, who had no trouble hitting a wide-open Davison for the touchdown.
"Bobby and I have been together a long time," said Davison, who along with Newcombe was playing his final game for Nebraska. "We always talk about it and we practice that play all the time."
Josh Brown set a personal best and Alamo Bowl record with a 51-yard field goal late in the second for Nebraska. His previous best was 42 yards and the Alamo Bowl record was 49 by Texas A&M's Kyle Bryant against Michigan in 1995.
Northwestern had taken advantage of a special teams blunder by Nebraska for a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. Keyuo Craver was called for pass interference on a fake punt, setting the Wildcats up at the Nebraska 21. Zak Kustok hit Teddy Johnson with a 10-yard pass for the Wildcats' only lead of the game.
Northwestern also had a 44-yard field goal by Tim Long in the first quarter.
Alexander broke his personal best of 208 yards set in the season opener against San Jose State and he shattered the Alamo Bowl record of 113 yards Iowa's Sedrick Shaw had against Texas Tech in 1996.
"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."