(Thursday, January 1st)
Final Score: Nebraska 26, Clemson 21
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Joe Ganz threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, as Nebraska had a dominating third quarter en route to a 26-21 win over Clemson in the Gator Bowl.
Ganz completed 19-of-36 passes and also threw one interception, while Quentin Castille ran 18 times for 125 yards for the Cornhuskers (9-4), who scored 20 points in the third quarter.
Todd Peterson had four catches for 96 yards, as Nebraska also got its first bowl win under first-year head coach Bo Pelini, and ended the season on a four-game winning streak.
Cullen Harper completed 17-of-37 passes for 206 yards and two scores, but also threw two interceptions as Clemson (7-6) had a three-game win streak snapped. The Tigers went 4-2 in the final six games of the regular season under head coach Dabo Swinney, who took over after Tommy Bowden resigned in October, to become bowl eligible.
"There is no question that when two good teams play, the difference in winning and losing is always four to five plays," Swinney said. "Our guys fought hard but we came out on the short end of the stick today. We just did not make enough plays in the end, but you have to give Nebraska credit."
Jacoby Ford had five grabs for 112 yards and one TD, while Aaron Kelly made six catches for 74 yards and a score for Clemson.
Nebraska came out of halftime trailing 14-3, but almost immediately got back in the game. On the first drive of the third quarter, Nebraska started as its own 46 after a 31-yard return from Alfonzo Dennard.
Ganz highlighted the five-play drive with a 36-yard pass to Peterson, then capped it with a 17-yard connection with Nate Swift to bring the Huskers within 14-10.
Clemson responded, though, after the Tigers recovered one of Nebraska's three fumbles to take over at their own 44. After a pass interference penalty brought Clemson to the Nebraska 41, Harper found Ford for the long touchdown to make it a 21-10 Tigers lead five minutes into the third quarter.
The back-and-forth continued, as Nebraska tacked on another quick score. Castille picked up 58 yards on the first play of the series, and Ganz tossed a 19-yard TD to Peterson, as the Huskers got within four.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, Harper was picked off deep in his own territory to set Nebraska up at the Clemson 10. The Huskers couldn't drive to the end zone, and Alex Henery kicked a 28-yard field goal to make it a one- point game.
Clemson then punted, but Nebraska caught a break when Jimmy Maners' kick went just seven yards. As a result, the Huskers took over in Clemson territory again, but again had to settle for a field goal. Henery's 28-yarder gave Nebraska a 23-21 lead the school took into the fourth quarter.
The Nebraska defense took over at that point, as Clemson had to punt on its next three possessions. Henery added a 22-yarder with 5:20 left in the game for a five-point Huskers lead, giving Clemson one last chance.
The Tigers put together a drive with several key plays, as on 4th-and-4 Harper completed a 16-yard pass to Ford to get to the Nebraska 27. He found Kelly for 17 yards on the next play, giving Clemson a 1st-and-goal. Harper's first pass attempt from the 10 went incomplete, and Clemson's chances took a serious hit on the next play, as Eric Hagg sacked Harper for a loss of 16 yards. Two more incompletions turned the ball over on downs, and with 1 1/2 minutes left, Nebraska ran out the clock to seal the win.
After a scoreless first quarter, DeAndre McDaniel ran back a fumble recovery 28 yards to give Clemson a 7-0 lead with 4:52 left in the second frame. Henery kicked a 48-yard field goal with 1:10 left before Harper connected with Kelly for a 25-yard TD strike with 35 ticks remaining, and Clemson took a 14-3 lead into halftime.
Clemson had just four net yards rushing, as James Davis ran for only 26 yards on 12 carries, and Nebraska notched five sacks...The Huskers got their first bowl win since 2005, when they beat Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. Nebraska lost to Auburn in the Cotton Bowl in '07...Clemson has lost three bowl games in a row, having last won the Champs Sports Bowl over Colorado on December 27, 2005.
01/01 22:35:57 ET