December 31, 2009 in Sports

Huskers clamp down

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh drags down Arizona quarterback Matt Scott.
(Full-size photo)

SAN DIEGO – Zac Lee threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Niles Paul in the third quarter to highlight No. 20 Nebraska’s 33-0 rout against No. 22 Arizona on a rainy Wednesday night, the first shutout in the 32-year history of the Holiday Bowl.

The coaches expected a defensive game, and the Huskers delivered, earning their first shutout in 46 bowl appearances.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the AP College Football Player of the Year and a Heisman finalist, had only three tackles but helped the Huskers harass Arizona quarterback Nick Foles all night. Suh even went out for a pass early in the third quarter on second-and-4 from the Arizona 5, but Lee didn’t throw his way.

The Wildcats were never in this one. Nebraska free safety Matt O’Hanlon intercepted Foles on the third play from scrimmage and returned it 37 yards to the Arizona 5. Lee scored on a 4-yard run two plays later. It was the fastest score in Holiday Bowl history, coming just 75 seconds in.

The Wildcats had the ball fourth-and-3 at the Nebraska 8-yard line with 1:41 to go before safety P.J. Smith batted down Foles’ pass to preserve the shutout.

Arizona set Holiday Bowl records with six first downs, 109 yards of offense, 51 offensive plays and nine punts.

The previous Holiday Bowl record for fewest first downs was 12 by Nebraska in a 23-20 loss to Arizona in 1998. The previous record for fewest yards was 185 by BYU in a 65-14 loss to Texas A&M in 1990.

Nebraska (10-4) got its first 10-win season since 2003. Arizona finished 8-5.

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