Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Instant analysis: Nebraska 33, Arizona 0
By Ted Miller
Wow. That was a complete butt-kicking.
Nebraska simply outclassed Arizona in a 33-0 victory in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, a game in which the Wildcats never even produced a whimper of life.
The Pac-10 falls to 2-3 in the bowl season, and one has to start wondering if all that "best conference" talk was just a bit loopy.
How the game was won: Nebraska showed up and punched Arizona in the mouth on both sides of the ball. Over and over and over and over. And over again. It's not an exaggeration to say that Arizona didn't have a single positive moment in the entire football game.
Turning point: This is a stretch because the real turning point was the opening kickoff. But Nebraska, leading 17-0 in the second quarter, had a third-and-8 on the Arizona 33-yard line. Cornhuskers backup quarterback Cody Green threw to his left sideline -- and directly to Arizona cornerback Devin Ross. If Ross had caught the ball, it's likely he would have scored a touchdown. He didn't. Nebraska subsequently kicked a 50-yard field goal and took a 20-0 lead. Like we said, it's a bit of a stretch.
Stat of the game: Six and 109. The first number is how many first downs Arizona collected on the night. The second is the Wildcats' total yardage. Just terrible.
Player of the game: Nebraska quarterback Zac Lee. Lee is the reason the Pac-10 blog -- darrrrhhhhh -- picked Arizona to win this game. (Yes, feel free to comment on that below). The feeling was that Arizona had a huge advantage at the position. But Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles chose the bowl game to post his worst performance of the year, while Lee completed 13 of 23 passes for 173 yards with a TD and no interceptions.
What it means: This was a massive humiliation for Arizona and coach Mike Stoops, suffered at the hands of hometown buddy Bo Pelini. Was the bowl result bad enough to erase all the positives from the 2009 season? Maybe not, but it may not feel that way for a few days around the program. Something went wrong for the Wildcats in their preparation. Perhaps Nebraska was just that much better, but it didn't look that way going in. You have to wonder if something was amiss within the team. Defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' impending departure for Florida State? Offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes' potential candidacy at Texas Tech? Or maybe it was something with the players. Stoops' next task is figuring out a way to make sure this defeat doesn't linger within his program.