ESPN Stats & Information has some interesting notes on the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl on Thursday.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Washington 4-3-1, including a 56-21 victory on Sept. 18.
This is the Huskies first bowl game since 2002, when they lost to Purdue 34-24 in the Sun Bowl.
Entering Nebraska’s game against Missouri on Oct. 30, Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez led the country with 14 rushes of 20 yards or more. However, during the first half of the Missouri game, Martinez suffered a leg injury. He has not produced a run of over 20 yards since then. In the first seven games, he averaged 112 yards rushing. In the last four, he's averaged 32.8 yards per game.
When Martinez is throwing the ball well, Nebraska is very tough to beat. The Cornhuskers are undefeated when he completes better than 50 percent of his throws that travel 10-plus yards downfield (5-0). He was 4 for 6 on such throws in the first meeting with the Huskies.
Nebraska's Roy Helu Jr. has seven runs of 50 yards or more this season, all resulting in a touchdown, making him one of the most explosive rushers in the college game. Since 2004, only Ryan Mathews has posted at least seven 50-plus yard touchdown rushes in a single season.
Nebraska’s pass defense has been outstanding on third down this season, and Huskies quarterback Jake Locker will need to be better on third down against Nebraska than he was in September (1-7, 6 yards). Overall, opponents are completing just 42.5 percent of their passes on third down, which ranks No. 1 in the nation. The Cornhuskers rank No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency defense on third down.
Washington running back Chris Polk has been outstanding in the Huskies’ last three games, averaging 169.3 rushing yards per game and leading the team to three straight wins. In the Huskies six wins this year, he's rushed for an average of 137 yards and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. In the Huskies six defeats, he averaged 69.3 yards and 4.4 yards per carry.
Locker had a terrible game passing from the pocket in the first game with Nebraska, but he's actually thrown well in the pocket this year, completing 61.1 percent of his passes with 11 TDs and five interceptions.
Locker’s ability to handle the blitz has played a major role in Washington’s success this season. Against Nebraska’s added pressure in September, Locker completed just 1-of-5 passes. In Huskies wins, however, he completing 63 percent of his passes with four TDs and one interception when facing an opposing blitz.