The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

81° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Hell-iday Bowl for ‘Cats

 SAN DIEGO — It was over almost before it began.

The No. 22 Nebraska football team dominated No. 20 Arizona from start to finish with an overpowering performance during a 33-0 Cornhusker win during the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.

“”We hadn’t played like this in a long time. I can’t remember the last time we were dominated like this,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”I would have to go back, that’s out of my memory to be honest.””

It seemed like the Wildcats (8-5) couldn’t win anything during the first shutout in the history of the Holiday Bowl. They lost the coin toss and received the ball to start the contest only to turn it over via a Nick Foles interception three plays into the game. Nebraska (10-4) capitalized two plays later as quarterback Zac Lee scored on a 4-yard scamper to put the Huskers ahead just 1:15 into the game — the fastest score in Holiday Bowl history.

Nebraska added a field goal on its next possession and held a 10-0 lead after the first quarter and added another 13 points in the second stanza. At halftime, the Huskers outgained Arizona by 170 yards and led 23-0, leaving little in doubt in for the announced attendance of 64,607.

The most fireworks resulting from a UA presence were during the 20-minute halftime show and even they seemed to be a shade of Nebraska red.

“”I think we got a little rattled early and never could recover. It was just a frustrating day,”” said UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. “”The snowball started rolling and we just couldn’t get it stopped.””

Arizona’s defense didn’t perform much better than their offensive counterparts. Nebraska’s offense came into the game ranked 101st out of 120 teams in total offense and 80th in scoring offense. That didn’t stop the Huskers from blasting the Wildcats for 396 total yards and seven scoring drives — most of which seemed to come with relative ease — including a Holiday Bowl record four made field goals by Alex Henery. The easiest Nebraska score came on a 74-yard catch and run by wide out Niles Paul to put the Huskers up 33-0 with 3:39 left in the third quarter.

Throughout the contest Nebraska used a nice mix of running and passing plays and added a little Wildcat-offense with direct snaps to their running back. Whatever the Huskers tried seemed to work as they kept Arizona off balance the whole game.

“”(Nebraska) just had a desire, man. They wanted it and we came out flat,”” said senior defensive tackle Donald Horton. “”We didn’t do what we needed to do to win. They came out with an attitude — we saw them jump around and they were hyped — and they balled out.””

The statistic that best sums up the night for the Wildcats: Nebraska ran 41 plays in UA territory while Arizona mustered only 14 snaps in Husker territory, the first of which came with around 9 minutes left in the third quarter and resulted in a Foles fumble and loss of 10 yards.

In all, Arizona set eight new records for offensive ineptitude during the game: fewest points, total yards, passing yards, first downs, plays, touchdowns, passing first downs and most punts.

The Wildcats turned in a lackluster performance for a team that came into the game with a lot of momentum after finishing second in the Pacific 10 Conference following a win in Los Angeles against USC. That momentum apparently got lost in transit as the UA squad that took the field in San Diego was outmatched from the onset by a physical offensive and defensive onslaught by the Huskers.

“”All the principles that we stand for and all the principles that we built this program on were not there (during the game),”” said defensive coordinator Mark Stoops.

 

Key Stats of the Game

Passing yards — UA 46, NU 173

Rushing Yards — UA 63, NU 223           

First Downs — UA 6, NU 19

Time of possession — UA 21:48, NU 36:35

Offensive plays — UA 51, NU 73

Plays in opponent’s territory — UA 14, NU 41

More to Discover
Activate Search