Scores
MasterCard Alamo Bowl

Final

Michigan 28

(7-5, 5-3 Big Ten)

(24) Nebraska 32

(8-4, 4-4 Big Ten)

Coverage: ESPN

8:00 PM ET, December 28, 2005

Alamodome, San Antonio, TX

1 2 3 4 T
MICH 7 7 7 728
#24NEB 7 7 3 1532

Top Performers

Passing: C. Henne (MICH) - 270 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Ross (NEB) - 28 CAR, 161 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: T. Nunn (NEB) - 4 REC, 91 YDS, 2 TD

Playing Nebraska motivation enough for Michigan

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Michigan coach Lloyd Carr does not consider the Alamo Bowl a comedown for a program with Rose Bowl appearances the last two years and nine straight New Year's Day berths.

Instead, he thinks about the opposition -- Nebraska.

"You look back at the last 30 years, and they've won more national championships than anybody in the country," Carr said. "We have a history with Nebraska going back to the (1986) Fiesta Bowl and, of course, the '97 co-national championship."

He thinks those factors have been a genuine asset for the Wolverines as they approach the game Wednesday night. Motivation has been an issue for 20th-ranked Michigan (7-4), as high as No. 3 before losses to Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Minnesota dropped the Wolverines to 3-3.

A 25-21 regular season-ending defeat to Ohio State left Michigan with four losses by a total of 17 points.

Quarterback Chad Henne said he and his teammates are out to make the best of a season that went awry.

"It's a difference," he said of being in San Antonio. "But to be up against a great opponent like Nebraska has got to spike our eyes up because they have so much tradition and pride in their program."

These aren't the Cornhuskers most college football fans envision when they think of Nebraska, which has won or shared five national titles since 1970, including three in the '90s.

The Huskers (7-4) are still trying to find their way back to national prominence under Bill Callahan. Nebraska is 12-10 since Callahan replaced Frank Solich, 10-10 against Division I-A opponents.

Last year's 5-6 finish ended an NCAA-record bowl streak that dated to 1969, and this season their bowl eligibility was in jeopardy after losses in four of five games. They beat Kansas State and Colorado to reach the Alamo.

Callahan, who has played 29 freshmen or sophomores this season, said the Michigan matchup is a warmup for next year's games against the two teams vying for this season's national championship, Southern California and Texas.

"This will be a great learning experience," Callahan said.

Though it's a matchup of 7-4 teams, Michigan and Nebraska are giants of college football, with the Wolverines first in all-time wins (849) and the Huskers fourth (793).

With Nebraska missing the postseason last year, Michigan now has the longest active bowl streak at 31.

"You don't need much motivation to play in a game like this," Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor said.

Michigan running back Mike Hart should play a lot, but it's undecided whether he'll start, offensive coordinator Terry Malone said. Hart has been plagued by ankle and hamstring injuries, and has appeared in only seven games.

He has run for 588 yards this season after a 2004 campaign in which he had 1,455 and was chosen Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

The Huskers have lost three starting linebackers this season, including Bo Ruud to a broken arm last week. Little-used Lance Brandenburgh will start in his place on the weak side. Wali Muhammad, who rotates at defensive end, will miss the game after being suspended for violating team rules.

The game's key matchup is Michigan's offensive line against a Nebraska defense that has 46 sacks.

"We've played some very, very fine defensive fronts, and I think this is the best we've played," Carr said. "They lead the nation in sacks. I think that alone tells you the challenge we have."

With Hart hurt, the Wolverines have struggled to maintain a consistent running threat. Kevin Grady has run for 466 yards as the second option to Hart.

"We're going to have to do a good job defending the run," Callahan said. "They are a power football team whenever they want to be, and that's a real challenge to our defensive front and front seven. They have the ability to knock you off the ball and to dominate the line of scrimmage."

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Passing Leaders

MichiganCMP%YDSTDINT
D. Gardner63.2110368
S. Morris35.912803
NebraskaCMP%YDSTDINT
T. Armstrong Jr.53.51546105
R. Fyfe44.44010

Rushing Leaders

MichiganCARYDSAVGTD
D. Green824715.73
D. Smith593065.24
NebraskaCARYDSAVGTD
A. Abdullah16110246.414
T. Armstrong Jr.714826.82

Receiving Leaders

MichiganRECYDSAVGTD
D. Funchess3646112.84
A. Darboh1521414.31
NebraskaRECYDSAVGTD
K. Bell2750918.92
J. Westerkamp2750218.63