JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Facing third-and-14 at its own 1, Nebraska had a choice: Sneak the ball in hopes of getting a little 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 – 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.
Nebraska, in its 50th bowl, also ended a four-game losing streak against teams from the Southeastern Conference. The streak included a 45-31 loss to Georgia in the Capital One Bowl last season.
The rematch was different.
Nebraska did a solid job against running back Todd Gurley, who ran for 125 yards and a touchdown last year. Gurley finished with 86 yards on the ground.
Gurley was more effective in the passing game, catching seven passes for 97 yards. His 25-yard scoring reception to open the fourth quarter cut Nebraska’s lead to 24-19.
The Bulldogs had two really good chances to take the lead, but Rantavious Wooten and Arthur Lynch dropped fourth-down passes in the red zone.
The drops capped Georgia’s woes. The Bulldogs moved inside the 21 seven times, but settled for four field goals.
Enunwa, named the game MVP, finished with four receptions for 129 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a 5-yard TD reception in the second quarter. The second was his 12th scoring catch of the season, breaking the school record of 11 set by Johnny Rodgers in 1971.