SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- No. 19 Northwestern would sooner not remember the Alamo.
Shooting for their first bowl win since 1949, the Wildcats were victimized by Tim Crouch, Dan Alexander and eighth-ranked Nebraska's high-powered offense, which established an Alamo Bowl scoring record during a 66-17 rout.
Crouch ran for two scores, including the go-ahead 50-yard jaunt in the second quarter, and fired two touchdown passes as the Cornhuskers (10-2) ended their season of underachievement with a bold statement for next year.
"We wanted to make a statement," Crouch said. "We wanted to finish this last game with the highest ranking possible to set the stage for next year."
"We are here and wanted to play great here," Huskers coach Frank Solich responded when asked if he was miffed about his team's absence from the Bowl Championship Series. "Northwestern beat some outstanding teams. You can't say that they weren't a great football team. We wanted to play well. Hopefully, when the final rankings come out, we will be ranked as high as possible."
Northwestern (8-4) appeared poised to go punch-for-punch with the perennial national championship contender when Teddy Johnson caught a 10-yard TD pass from Zak Kustok to give the Wildcats a 10-7 lead 44 seconds into the second quarter.
But after a long runback on the ensuing kickoff, Crouch took off from midfield on Nebraska's next play from scrimmage and outran the Northwestern secondary to the end zone, putting the Huskers ahead to stay, 14-10.
A pair of two-yard runs by Alexander and Correll Buckhalter padded the lead before Josh Brown's 51-yard field goal made it 31-10 with 1:28 left in the first half.
Alexander rushed for 240 yards -- the most by any Husker in a bowl game -- and two scores on 21 carries as the nation's best ground game shredded Northwestern's overmatched defense.
"I was a little timid at the beginning, but I worked out all the jitters and played well," Alexander said. "It wasn't so much me, the offensive line opened up some big holes. They made me look good."
The Wildcats again showed some fight when Damien Anderson ripped off a 69-yard TD run on the ensuing drive, pulling Northwestern back within two touchdowns.
But Crouch and the Huskers were quick to answer. Bobby Newcombe hauled in Crouch's 58-yard scoring toss just 20 seconds before intermission, squashing any hopes of a Wildcat comeback.
"Obviously, I can't say enough how disappointed I am with this loss," Wildcats coach Randy Walker said. "This doesn't reflect our football team. This evening doesn't diminish what we have accomplished this season. We are a better football team than that."
Crouch made sure Northwestern did not get off the deck, opening the second-half scoring with an 11-yard strike to Matt Davison to make it 45-17. The 6-1, 205-pound junior began the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate but his stock dropped considerably after a loss to No. 1 Oklahoma in October.
The Huskers poured it on late in the third quarter. Crouch rumbled in from two yards and threw a lateral to Newcombe, who fired a 69-yard TD pass to Davison that made it 59-17 with 1:14 left in the period.
Anderson ran for 150 yards on 18 carries for Northwestern, which slipped to 0-3 in bowl games since winning the Rose Bowl more than a half-century ago.
The Huskers have won six of their last seven bowl games and are 19-19 all-time.
"I think Nebraska came in here to prove something, and they proved it," Walker said. "They dominated us totally on the line, but I guess I wasn't too surprised because we were 10th in the league in run defense."
The Huskers opened the scoring when Alexander ripped off a 15-yard run 2:11 into play. But Northwestern responded with a long march that culminated in Tim Long's 44-yard field goal and took the lead when Kustok hit Johnson in the end zone to make it 10-7 with 44 seconds gone in the second quarter.
Crouch broke away off right tackle to start Nebraska's ensuing series and the Huskers never looked back.
Crouch completed 5-of-13 passes for 91 yards and ran for 89 yards on 15 carries. Davison caught three passes for 85 yards.
Kustok was 15-of-35 for 138 yards and rushed for 55 yards on 14 carries as the Wildcats used a series of quarterback draws and keepers to keep the Huskers' defense honest in the first half.
Dahrran Diedrick, a sophomore from Canada, gave Nebraska fans a look at the future when he capped the scoring with a nine-yard run with just over five minutes to play.