Nebraska faces Washington in the Holiday Bowl which could also be called "The Been There, Done That Bowl". These two teams met in the third week of the regular season and the Cornhuskers rolled to a 56-21 victory. Nebraska rolled up 383 yards rushing and Washington QB Jake Locker went 4-of-20 for 71 yards and two interceptions.
Nebraska has played in the Holiday Bowl twice, both times against Arizona. They lost to the Wildcats 23-20 in 1998, but returned last year to record a 33-0 shutout.
Washington is 0-3 in its previous Holiday Bowl trips, falling 33-21 to Colorado in 1996, 24-20 to Kansas State in 1999, and 47-43 to Texas in 2001.
This will be the ninth time these teams have met overall with Nebraska leading the series 4-3-1. It's the second consecutive Holiday Bowl appearance for the Huskers who have an all-time bowl record of 24-22.
Washington is making its first postseason appearance since the 2002 Sun Bowl and the Huskies are looking for their first bowl victory since capping the 2000 season with a 34-24 Rose Bowl victory over a Purdue team led by QB Drew Brees. Washington is 14-14-1 all-time in bowl games, but has emerged victorious in just two of its last nine bowl appearances.
Head coach Bo Pelini brings Nebraska to San Diego with a 10-3 overall record. The 'Huskers posted back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time since 2000 and 2001. Nebraska again boasts one of the nation’s most dominant defenses, ranking in the top 10 nationally in total defense, scoring defense and pass defense. Senior cornerback Prince Amukamara is the leader of one of the nation’s top secondaries, while junior defensive tackle Jared Crick has 9.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss. Junior linebacker Lavonte David enters the Holiday Bowl with 145 tackles and is poised to set the Nebraska single-season tackle record.
Nebraska is led by a powerful running game that ranks first in the Big 12 and in the top 10 nationally at 260 yards per game. Nebraska enters the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl with the opportunity to produce three 1,000-yard rushers for the first time in school history. Senior I-back Roy Helu Jr. has totaled 1,211 yards and 11 touchdowns, while sophomore I-back Rex Burkhead and redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez each have more than 900 rushing yards.
"We had a great experience in San Diego last year, and the Holiday Bowl committee and staff did an outstanding job of hosting our team. I know we'll get great hospitality again this year," Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini said. "Our team has worked hard since the start of practice in August and are deserving of an enjoyable bowl experience, and the opportunity to win an 11th game."
Washington enters the game winning three straight to become bowl eligible with a 6-6 overall record, 5-4 in the Pac-10. The Huskies are just two years removed from a winless season (2008).
"We're thrilled to be invited to play in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl and to represent the University of Washington and the Pac-10," Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said. "This is a tremendous reward for a football team that fought through to the end of the season.
The Huskies are led on offense by senior quarterback Jake Locker, who will end his career at or near the top of nearly every statistical category for a QB in UW history. He's joined by sophomore tailback Chris Polk, whose 285 rushing yards Saturday vs. Washington State gave him 1,238 for the season. Junior receiver Jermaine Kearse has 1,001 receiving yards.
On defense, senior linebacker Mason Foster is No. 2 in the nation in tackles with 12.58 per game. The Huskies also features the No. 3 and 4 tacklers in the Pac-10 (safety Nate Williams and linebacker Cort Dennison) and the conference's leader in tackles for loss, senior linebacker Victor Aiyewa.
The computer (Congrove Computer Rankings, a.k.a. CCR Top 120) forecasted Washington to go 4-8 (3-6, PAC-10) and said Nebraska would be 11-2 at this point. It gives the Cornhuskers a 16.15-point edge in the rematch after projecting them to win the regular season battle by 8.97.
The computer is 10-2 in picking the winner of Nebraska games in 2010, and 8-3 against the spread. It is 7-5 with Washington straight up and against the spread.
The 33rd annual Holiday Bowl at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, home of the NFL's Chargers, will be broadcast nationally by ESPN beginning at 10 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 30th.