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

Ten.

Instead, Nebraska’s postseason was much like its regular

season.

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

foes.

The victory gave South Carolina (11-2) 11 wins for the first

time in school history and snapped a string of three straight bowl

losses.

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

the game.”

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

16-13 lead.

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

touchdown pass.

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.”

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at

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