SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- If Nebraska returns to national prominence
next season, the Cornhuskers will remember the MasterCard Alamo Bowl --
especially the frantic final play.
Zac Taylor threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Nunn with
4:29 left, and Nebraska survived Michigan's lateral-filled,
game-ending play to beat the No. 20 Wolverines 32-28 on Wednesday
"This puts us back on the map," said Cory Ross, who ran for
The game ended on a bizarre play, with Michigan's Chad Henne
throwing a short pass and his teammates lateraling eight times up
and down the field before the play fizzled out with Titus Brothers
shoving Tyler Ecker out of bounds at the Nebraska 13. Extra players
and some coaches from both teams were on the field as the play
"I'm thankful we didn't get penalized," coach Bill Callahan
said. "We thought the game was over, but the ball was still going
down on the field. We were very fortunate we stayed alert and made
the play to end the game."
Nebraska overcame a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
"We showed them that Nebraska is back on the rise," Taylor
The Huskers (8-4) won the Alamo for the third time in six years
and finished a season with three straight victories for the first
time since 1999.
Henne threw three touchdown passes and also ran for a score. His
7-yard scramble with 11:40 left gave the Wolverines a 28-17 lead.
But Nebraska used a long punt return and a turnover to end
Michigan's season with another disappointment. The Wolverines,
ranked as high as No. 3 in September, finished 7-5, with their
losses coming by a combined 21 points.
"We just didn't finish," Michigan running back Mike Hart said.
"That's been a problem all year."
Ross highlighted his night with a 31-yard touchdown that pulled
Nebraska to 28-25 with 8:08 left. That score was set up by Cortney
Grixby's 28-yard punt return to the Michigan 38.
"It was a huge hole that Greg Austin set up for me," Ross said
of his touchdown. "It was there. There wasn't anything crazy I had
to do other than run."
The Huskers took the lead after Henne fumbled and Ola Dagundaro
returned the ball to the Michigan 17. Three plays later, Taylor
connected with Nunn for his third touchdown pass and second to
Michigan drove to the Nebraska 18, but Zackary Bowman tipped
away Henne's fourth-down pass to Mario Manningham.
"The turnovers were really monumental," said Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr, whose team lost two fumbles and had an interception.
"The offense was outstanding in the first half. We gave our
offense some opportunities but didn't capitalize on it."
Taylor was 14 of 31 for 167 yards, with two interceptions. He
was sacked four times and hit hard on many other occasions.
"We don't like to see him take hits," Callahan said. "He's a
courageous young man. He stays right in there in the pocket.
There's flurry all around him, he stays as calm as any quarterback
Henne, 20-of-42 for 219 yards, erased a 17-14 deficit in the
third quarter with a 21-yard pass to Manningham. Henne's touchdown
run made it 28-17.
Nebraska, back at a bowl after having its NCAA-record run of 35
straight postseason appearances end last year, ran its record to
5-0 in games at the Alamodome. The Huskers have won three bowls in
San Antonio and two Big 12 championships.
"Something's in the air down here," Ross said. "I think I'm
going to move here."
The Huskers are 13-10 in Callahan's two seasons after beating
Kansas State, Colorado and Michigan to finish the season. They
haven't been in the Top 25 since the end of the 2003 season.
"We have something special going here, so we're just going to
keep going," Taylor said.
Hart, who was injured most of the season, led Michigan with 74
yards on 19 carries.
The game was tied 14-14 at halftime, and Michigan benefited from
a third-quarter video review that overturned a Nebraska touchdown
and forced the Huskers to settle for Jordan Congdon's 20-yard field
goal. Taylor's 3-yard pass to Nunn was disallowed when it was ruled
that Nunn reeled in the ball after it hit the ground.
The Wolverines then marched 58 yards in six plays to take a
21-17 lead. Henne completed passes of 12 and 18 yards, and got 15
more yards on Titus Adams' roughing-the-passer penalty, before
Henne hit Manningham for a touchdown.
It was over when... Michigan's lateral-filled final play ended short of the end zone with players and coaches from both squads on the field.
Gameball goes to... Cory Ross and Zac Taylor. Ross ran for 161 yards on 28 carries, while Taylor tied a Nebraska bowl record with three touchdown passes.
Stat of the game... 5. With the win over Michigan, the Cornhuskers improved their record to a perfect 5-0 in the Alamodome. With the loss, the Wolverines lost at least five games in a season for the first time since 1984.