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Cornhuskers’ gamble pays dividends in Gator Bowl victory

Wing and a prayer

Published: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 12:15 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Stephen B. Morton)
Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah (8) scores a touchdown during the second half of the Gator Bowl against Georgia on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Fla. The Cornhuskers won 24-19.

Facing third-and-14 at the 1, Nebraska had a choice: Sneak the ball in hopes of getting a little extra room to punt, or take a shot deep.

The Cornhuskers chose to throw – and boy, did they wing it.

Tommy Armstrong Jr. connected with Quincy Enunwa for a 99-yard touchdown strike – the longest play in school history – and Nebraska held on to beat No. 23 Georgia 24-19 in the rain-soaked Gator Bowl on Wednesday.

“I know one thing: There will never be a longer play in the history of college football than that one,” Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini said. “That was a big play for us.”

Equally big were Georgia’s failures down the stretch. The Bulldogs (8-5) dropped two fourth-down passes in the closing minutes, helping Nebraska (9-4) close out its first bowl victory since 2009.

Heart of Dallas Bowl

North Texas 36, UNLV 14: Derek Thompson threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns, Brelan Chancellor scored twice, and North Texas dominated the second half to beat UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Texas A&M 52, Duke 48: Johnny Manziel threw four touchdown passes, and Toney Hurd Jr. returned an interception 55 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in Texas A&M’s 52-48 victory over Duke on Tuesday in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

Manziel, playing in his final college game, completed 30 of 38 passes for 382 yards and ran for 73 yards and a touchdown. Hurd’s interception return gave the No. 20 Aggies (9-4) their first lead with 3:33 remaining.

No. 22 Duke (10-4) led 38-17 at halftime and 41-31 entering the fourth quarter. The Blue Devils couldn’t hold off the comeback, and are still looking for their first bowl win since beating Arkansas 7-6 in the 1961 Cotton Bowl.

Sun Bowl

UCLA 42, Virginia Tech 12: Brett Hundley threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores to help UCLA rout Virginia Tech in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.

The UCLA quarterback had 86- and 7-yard touchdown runs, and finished with 161 yards on 10 carries. Hundley also completed 16 of 29 passes for 226 yards and two scores.

AdvoCare V100 Bowl

Arizona 42, Boston College 19: B.J. Denker threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns, Ka’Deem Carey rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns, and Arizona had an easy time against Boston College in the Advocare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La.

Arizona (8-5) never trailed, leading 21-6 by halftime and 42-6 early in the fourth quarter.

Liberty Bowl

Mississippi State 44, Rice 7: Dak Prescott threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores, and Mississippi State trounced Rice in the most one-sided Liberty Bowl victory in the game’s 55-year history.

 

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