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ALAMO BOWL

Strong Finish for Nebraska

December 29, 2005|From the Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — If Nebraska returns to national prominence next season, the Cornhuskers will remember the 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 defeat the No. 20 Wolverines, 32-28, on Wednesday night.

"This puts us back on the map," said Cory Ross, who ran for 161 yards.

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 finished.

"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 said.

The Cornhuskers (8-4) won the Alamo for the third time in six years and finished a season with three consecutive victories for the first time since 1999.

Henne threw three touchdown passes and also ran for a score. His seven-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 game 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.

The Cornhuskers 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 Nunn.

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."

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