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Highlight Of The Night: Adoree' Jackson returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown and caught a 71-yard pass for a touchdown as No. 24 USC fought off Nebraska 45-42 to win the National University Holiday Bowl.

Instant Analysis: USC 45, Nebraska 42

December, 28, 2014
Dec 28
12:20
AM PT
videoSAN DIEGO, Calif. -- As new Nebraska head coach Mike Riley watched from the stands Saturday night, the team he's taking over couldn't cap a comeback against a team from his former conference. The USC Trojans held on for a 45-42 victory over Nebraska in a wild shootout in the National University Holiday Bowl. Here's how it all went down at Qualcomm Stadium:

How the game was won: On big plays -- because it was the Holiday Bowl. Defenses need not apply. The Trojans were the faster, more athletic team (though not by much), and it showed in the form of explosive plays. Adoree' Jackson scored on a kickoff return and a long touchdown reception. Buck Allen turned 4-yard runs into long touchdowns. Four of USC's touchdowns were 20 yards or longer. That's not to say Nebraska didn't have some explosive moments of its own, as the teams combined for more than 1,000 yards offense.

Turning point: Trailing 45-42 with 2:31 remaining, Nebraska went for it on fourth-and 3 at the USC 31 but was turned away. The Trojans took over and were able to milk down enough clock to preserve the three-point win. A last-second Hail Mary effort from Nebraska fell short as time expired.

Game ball goes to: Jackson, a true freshman, was the most dynamic player on the field. His 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown gave the Trojans a 7-3 lead after Nebraska jumped ahead on a field goal. Then he took a Cody Kessler pass 71 yards that stretched USC's lead to 31-17 in the third quarter. Oh yeah, he also added six tackles on defense.

Key stat: The teams combined for 38 points in the third quarter, a Holiday Bowl record. Considering the Holiday Bowl's penchant for crazy, that's pretty impressive.

Play of the game: The Jackson kickoff return takes top honors in a game with a lot of big plays.

video What's next: Nebraska begins life anew with Riley running the show. Some Trojans -- namely, Leonard Williams, Nelson Agholor and Allen -- have some decisions to make about the NFL draft.
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SAN DIEGO -- Adoree' Jackson scored on a 98-yard kickoff return and a 71-yard pass from Cody Kessler, and No. 24 Southern California blew most of an 18-point, third-quarter lead before beating No. 25 Nebraska 45-42 in the Holiday Bowl on Saturday night.

Kessler threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns for USC (9-4), which was playing Nebraska (9-4) in a bowl game for the first time.

USC stuffed De'Mornay Pierson on fourth-and-3 from the USC 31 with 2 1/2 minutes left. Nebraska had one final shot but Tommy Armstrong Jr.'s desperation pass as time ran out was knocked down inside the 10.

Armstrong had brought Nebraska back from a 45-27 deficit with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Westerkamp and a 15-yard keeper and a 2-point conversion pass to Kenny Bell.

Armstrong threw for 381 yards and three TDs.

USC had 515 yards of total offense and Nebraska finished with 525.


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Tommy Armstrong Jr. pass incomplete
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Tommy Armstrong Jr. pass complete to Brandon Reilly for 12 yds to the Neb 44 for a 1ST down lat. to Kenny Bell for a loss of 2 yards to the Neb 44 for a 1ST down
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De'Mornay Pierson-El run for 1 yd to the USC 30
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Ameer Abdullah run for 10 yds to the Neb 47 for a 1ST down
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Cody Kessler sacked by Kevin Williams for a loss of 9 yards to the USC 35
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(T. Armstrong Jr. pass to K. Bell for Two-Point Conversion)
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Tommy Armstrong Jr. run for 15 yds for a TD
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Tommy Armstrong Jr. pass complete to Ameer Abdullah for 33 yds to the USC 39 for a 1ST down
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Tommy Armstrong Jr. pass complete to Jordan Westerkamp for 65 yds for a TD
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Cody Kessler pass complete to Bryce Dixon for 20 yds for a TD

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