No. 21 Nebraska can’t overcome miscues in Cap One
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini stressed the importance of his team
avoiding in the Capital One Bowl the same self-inflicted mistakes
that held back the Cornhuskers in their first year in the Big
Instead, Nebraska’s postseason was much like its regular
Alshon Jeffery had four catches for 148 yards and a touchdown
before getting ejected for fighting, and No. 10 South Carolina’s
defense had six sacks and shut out No. 21 Nebraska in the final
three quarters of 30-13 win Monday.
Nebraska (9-4) was just 1 for 3 in the red zone and Taylor
Martinez threw an interception late in the second quarter that set
up the Gamecocks’ go-ahead touchdown.
”We had opportunities, we had plenty of opportunities and we
didn’t take advantage of them,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said.
”For that I give South Carolina credit, but we did a lot to help
them. It’s a shame. Tough game. Tough loss.”
The Cornhuskers lost their second consecutive bowl game and drop
to 12-6 all-time in bowl matchups against Southeastern Conference
The victory gave South Carolina (11-2) 11 wins for the first
time in school history and snapped a string of three straight bowl
Both teams lost standout players in the third quarter when
Jeffery, playing weeks after surgery on his hand, and Cornhuskers
cornerback Alfonso Dennard were ejected for throwing punches at
each other after a play.
”They said they both threw punches, and they have to throw them
out,” Pelini said.
But the Gamecocks kept the pressure on even without him and went
up 23-13 with 12:25 to play on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Connor
Shaw to Kenny Miles. Miles then added a 3-yard touchdown run with
just over three minutes left – his first of the season – to put the
game out of reach.
”There were some tough situations,” said Nebraska running back
Rex Burkhead, who finished with 89 rushing yards. ”We got in the
red zone plenty of times and couldn’t finish it. It is tough when
you have no minimum like that and just don’t `execute. We give the
credit to South Carolina. They did a tremendous job and made
changes at halftime, but we beat ourselves in a lot of phases of
Jeffery out-jumped the Nebraska secondary in the end zone to
catch a 51-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Shaw at the end of
the first half to send the Gamecocks into the locker room with a
Shaw passed for 161 yards in the half, hooking up with Jeffery
on four of his five completions. Shaw finished the game 11 for 17
for 230 yards and ran for 42 yards and a touchdown.
It helped pick up the slack for a stagnant South Carolina
rushing attack, which produced just 58 yards on 21 attempts.
It also made up for an offensive line that allowed Shaw to be
sacked three times in the opening 30 minutes.
The Gamecocks led 9-6, but kept a Cornhuskers’ drive alive late
in the first quarter after picking up a third down, 15-yard face
mask penalty. Nebraska scored three plays later on a 1-yard
touchdown plunge by Ameer Abdullah.
Nebraska needed just 56 seconds to score the game’s first
touchdown when Martinez found receiver Kenny Bell for a 30-yard
South Carolina defensive tackle Travian Robertson blocked the
extra point, though, and Stephon Gilmore scooped it up and returned
it for the 2-point defensive PAT.
The Gamecocks offensive kept the momentum going on their ensuing
drive, capping an 11-play, 55-yard drive with a fourth down, goal
line quarterback sneak by Shaw.
”We were right there in the game,” Pelini said. ”They were
right there…You have to earn it. It’s a humbling game. You give
them credit. They made plays … But we just didn’t execute in the
times we needed to do it and we made enough mistakes that we were
our own worst enemy a lot of times.
”You can’t win football games like that.”
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