Nebraska and Arizona meet for the first time since they last squared-off in the 1998 edition of this game, won 23-20 by Arizona. Their only other meeting occurred in 1961 when they battled to a 14-14 stalemate.
At stake for Nebraska is its first 10-win season since 2003. Arizona would improve to 9-4 with a win, securing its best final record under Stoops after going 8-5 a year ago.
Nebraska is 8th on the list of bowl wins with 23. Alabama and USC are tied for the most with 31. The 'Huskers are 23-22 in bowl games, while the Wildcats are 6-7-1. Nebraska is 3-1 in its last four bowl games and Arizona is on a 3-bowl winning streak.
Bo Pellini is 18-8 in two seasons as head coach at Nebraska, 1-0 in bowl games. Mike Stoops is 33-38 in 6 seasons at Arizona and is also 1-0 in bowl games.
It took awhile, but Stoops has Arizona on the upswing with back-to-back winning seasons. Last year marked the first bowl appearance for the Wildcats since defeating Nebraska here in 1998.
The most famous player for Nebraska is easily defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. He nearly single-handedly made the 'Huskers Big 12 champions, but his team ultimately lost in the conference title game, 13-12 to Texas, on a game-ending field goal. Suh had 12 tackles with 4-1/2 sacks and a total 7.5 tackles for loss in that game. He catapulted his newfound fame into four major postseason awards - the Outland Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Rotary Lombardi Award and Nagurski Trophy. The CFP and FWAA All-American was the 4th-highest vote recipient for the Heisman Trophy, and the Associated Press made him the first defensive player to win its Player Of the Year award.
Behind Suh, the Nebraska defense is ranked as the 9th-best in the FBS. Suh leads the team with 82 tackles (50 solo), including 12 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss.
Unfortunately, Nebraska has very little offense to speak of, ranking 102nd nationally.
Junior running back Roy Helu is the leading rusher with 1,139 yards and 10 TD's. No one else has more than 2 rushing touchdowns and the rest of the team has 697 rushing yards combined.
Junior QB Zac Lee is 70th in passer rating with 13 TD's, 10 INT's and 1,970 yards on 58.8% completions.
Arizona's 40th-ranked offense is led by sophomore QB Nick Foles, the nation's No. 11 QB in completion percentage at 66.1%. Foles has thrown for 2,437 yards with 19 TD's and 8 INT's.
Another sophomore, Juron Criner, leads the receiving corps with 579 yards and 9 TD's on 43 catches. Senior Terrell Turner leads in catches with 47 and sophomore David Roberts matches Criner's number of receptions.
Sophomore RB Keola Antolin is the leading Arizona rusher with 568 yards and 4 TD's.
Running back Nic Grisby (shoulder) and receiver Donald Douglas (thigh) are expected to be back in the lineup after missing the last 2 games.
Arizona's 21st-ranked defense is led by senior CB Devin Ross (74 tackles, 55 solo) and junior DE Ricky Elmore (10.5 sacks). Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops will leave his brother for the same position at Florida State after the bowl game.