MasterCard Alamo Bowl
8:00 PM ET, December 28, 2005
Alamodome, SAN ANTONIO, TX
8:00 PM ET, December 28, 2005
Alamodome, SAN ANTONIO, TX
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- If Nebraska returns to national prominence next season, the Cornhuskers will remember the MasterCard Alamo Bowl -- especially the frantic final play.
Zac Taylor threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Nunn with 4:29 left, and Nebraska survived Michigan's lateral-filled, game-ending play to beat the No. 20 Wolverines 32-28 on Wednesday night.
"This puts us back on the map," said Cory Ross, who ran for 161 yards.
The game ended on a bizarre play, with Michigan's Chad Henne throwing a short pass and his teammates lateraling eight times up and down the field before the play fizzled out with Titus Brothers shoving Tyler Ecker out of bounds at the Nebraska 13. Extra players and some coaches from both teams were on the field as the play finished.
"I'm thankful we didn't get penalized," coach Bill Callahan said. "We thought the game was over, but the ball was still going down on the field. We were very fortunate we stayed alert and made the play to end the game."
Nebraska overcame a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
"We showed them that Nebraska is back on the rise," Taylor said.
The Huskers (8-4) won the Alamo for the third time in six years and finished a season with three straight victories for the first time since 1999.
Henne threw three touchdown passes and also ran for a score. His 7-yard scramble with 11:40 left gave the Wolverines a 28-17 lead.
But Nebraska used a long punt return and a turnover to end Michigan's season with another disappointment. The Wolverines, ranked as high as No. 3 in September, finished 7-5, with their losses coming by a combined 21 points.
"We just didn't finish," Michigan running back Mike Hart said. "That's been a problem all year."
Ross highlighted his night with a 31-yard touchdown that pulled Nebraska to 28-25 with 8:08 left. That score was set up by Cortney Grixby's 28-yard punt return to the Michigan 38.
"It was a huge hole that Greg Austin set up for me," Ross said of his touchdown. "It was there. There wasn't anything crazy I had to do other than run."
The Huskers took the lead after Henne fumbled and Ola Dagundaro returned the ball to the Michigan 17. Three plays later, Taylor connected with Nunn for his third touchdown pass and second to Nunn.
Michigan drove to the Nebraska 18, but Zackary Bowman tipped away Henne's fourth-down pass to Mario Manningham.
"The turnovers were really monumental," said Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, whose team lost two fumbles and had an interception. "The offense was outstanding in the first half. We gave our offense some opportunities but didn't capitalize on it."
Taylor was 14 of 31 for 167 yards, with two interceptions. He was sacked four times and hit hard on many other occasions.
"We don't like to see him take hits," Callahan said. "He's a courageous young man. He stays right in there in the pocket. There's flurry all around him, he stays as calm as any quarterback I've coached."
Henne, 20-of-42 for 219 yards, erased a 17-14 deficit in the third quarter with a 21-yard pass to Manningham. Henne's touchdown run made it 28-17.
Nebraska, back at a bowl after having its NCAA-record run of 35 straight postseason appearances end last year, ran its record to 5-0 in games at the Alamodome. The Huskers have won three bowls in San Antonio and two Big 12 championships.
"Something's in the air down here," Ross said. "I think I'm going to move here."
The Huskers are 13-10 in Callahan's two seasons after beating Kansas State, Colorado and Michigan to finish the season. They haven't been in the Top 25 since the end of the 2003 season.
"We have something special going here, so we're just going to keep going," Taylor said.
Hart, who was injured most of the season, led Michigan with 74 yards on 19 carries.
The game was tied 14-14 at halftime, and Michigan benefited from a third-quarter video review that overturned a Nebraska touchdown and forced the Huskers to settle for Jordan Congdon's 20-yard field goal. Taylor's 3-yard pass to Nunn was disallowed when it was ruled that Nunn reeled in the ball after it hit the ground.
The Wolverines then marched 58 yards in six plays to take a 21-17 lead. Henne completed passes of 12 and 18 yards, and got 15 more yards on Titus Adams' roughing-the-passer penalty, before Henne hit Manningham for a touchdown.
It was over when... Michigan's lateral-filled final play ended short of the end zone with players and coaches from both squads on the field.
Gameball goes to... Cory Ross and Zac Taylor. Ross ran for 161 yards on 28 carries, while Taylor tied a Nebraska bowl record with three touchdown passes.
Stat of the game... 5. With the win over Michigan, the Cornhuskers improved their record to a perfect 5-0 in the Alamodome. With the loss, the Wolverines lost at least five games in a season for the first time since 1984.
10.2% of Bowl Pick'em players picked Nebraska to win the game.
|3rd Down Conversions||5-17||4-16|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||0-1|
|TD||8:04||TERRENCE NUNN 52 YD PASS FROM ZAC TAYLOR (JORDAN CONGDON KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||5:48||TYLER ECKER 13 YD PASS FROM CHAD HENNE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 30 yards.
|TD||11:43||MIKE MASSEY 16 YD PASS FROM CHAD HENNE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 28 yards.
|TD||2:37||NATE SWIFT 14 YD PASS FROM ZAC TAYLOR (JORDAN CONGDON KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 70 yards.
|FG||8:54||JORDAN CONGDON 20 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 62 yards.
|TD||6:31||MARIO MANNINGHAM 21 YD PASS FROM CHAD HENNE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 58 yards.
|TD||11:40||CHAD HENNE 7 YD RUN (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 53 yards.
|TD||8:08||CORY ROSS 31 YD RUN (TODD PETERSON 2PT PASS FROM ZAC TAYLOR)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 38 yards.
|TD||4:29||TERRENCE NUNN 13 YD PASS FROM ZAC TAYLOR (JORDAN CONGDON KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 17 yards.