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Arizona vs. Nebraska: How They Got Here Part II

Last week we examined how the Arizona Wildcats season fared and how they got to the Holiday Bowl.  This week, we'll take a look at the Nebraska Cornhuskers made it to the Holiday Bowl.  The Cornhuskers finished the season 9-4 and 6-2 in the Big XII.  They won the Big XII North division and made it to the Big XII Championship in Dallas where they lost to The University of Texas by 1 point with :00 left on the clock.  Ndamakuh Suh is their main defender who has won a number of post season awards including the AP Player of the year.  It was the first time that a defensive player has won the award.  The offense is led by quarterback Zac Lee who has thrown for 1970 yards, 13 TD's and 10 INT's  The high point of the season came with Nebraska beating Oklahoma 10-3 and the low point in the season was easily the loss to lowly Iowa State, 9-7.  Let's take a look at the Cornhuskers season after the jump.



Nebraska Cornhuskers
Record 9-4
AP Final Rank 20
Offensive Rank 102
Defensive Rank 9
Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game 95
Passing Yards Allowed Per Game 189
Rushing Yards Per Game 141
Passing Yards Per Game 176


Nebraska started its season out against two weaker opponents beating Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State before traveling to Virginia Tech.  The Cornhuskers were able to put up 49 and 38 respectively on those two opponents before the showdown in Blacksburg.  Roy Helu, Jr. was the big back for the Cornhuskers and absolutely obliterated opponents including 169 yards against Virginia Tech.  Helu injured his shoulder in the Missouri game and the loss of production was immediate.  The Cornhuskers made the switch to Freshman Dontrayevous Robinson to take over the majority of the carries in the Iowa State game.  Helu came back strong a couple of games later against Oklahoma and has been lights out since, sans the Texas game. 

September 5, 2009: Roy Helu, Jr. starts his season of dominance, averages 9.5 yards per carry. Zac Lee throws for 213, 2 TD and 1 INT. +2 on the turnover margin. The Nebraska running game is BACK. Nebraska 49 vs. Florida Atlantic 3

September 12, 2009: Zac Lee throws for 340 yards and 4 TD's. Helu, Jr. only averages 4.3 yards per carry. Maybe the Nebraska running game isn't back. 2-0 heading into Blacksburg. Nebraska 38 vs. Arkansas State 9

September 19, 2009: Nebraska travels to Blacksburg, fails to establish itself nationally.  Pelini says that they should have won the game. Helu, Jr. had 0 yards in the first quarter.  Zac Lee is 11-30 for 136 yards and 2 INT's.  Virginia Tech squeaks it out. 

"You've got to win the football game. We didn't win the football game so we didn't play good enough in any phase of the game. I measure it on results. That's how we measure things around here."

Nebraska 15 vs. Virginia Tech 16

September 26, 2009: This was a gimme. Cody Green gets some PT this game throwing 7-8 for 62 yards and 1 TD. On to the Big XII. Nebraska 55 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette 0

October 8, 2009: Nebraska goes into the 4th quarter down 12-0.  They win 27-12.  Complete dominance at the end of the game. Roy Helu, Jr. gets injured and will not return to 100% for a few games.  Ndamakuh Suh gets an INT. Nebraska 27 vs. Missouri 12

October 17, 2009: Hallelujah for the Cats.  Nebraska can't defend against Tech's offense. Guess who our offensive coordinator is? I wonder how many times coach Dykes has watched this film? Steven Sheffield throws for 223 yards and a TD.  Nebraska again goes to Cody Green who is 7-16 with a TD.  Doubt rises on the sideline. Nebraska 10 vs. Texas Tech 31

October 24, 2009: Wow. One of the biggest upsets of the year. Zac Lee throws 3 interceptions and Robinson is the main back instead of Helu, Jr.  This is one of the most embarassing losses in Nebraska history.  Nebraska 7 vs. Iowa State 9

October 31, 2009: Nebraska rebounds and takes care of business in Waco.  Cody Green gets the start as Zac Lee rides the pine the entire game. Helu, Jr. only has 7 carries and is limited to 24 yards.  A 10 point win at Baylor has the Nebraska nation wondering where the team is headed. Nebraska 20 vs. Baylor 10

November 7, 2009: Now the Nebraska nation knows where they stand with the Cornhuskers defeating the Sooners in Lincoln.  Landry Jones throws 5 INT's as the blackshirts step up their game. Zac Lee and Cody Green throw for a combined 14 attempts.   The Cornhuskers run it 43 times for 141 yards. Helu, Jr. is back with 20 carries for 138 yards. Nebraska 10 vs. Oklahoma 3

November 14, 2009:Nebraska battles in Lawrence, Kansas until the 4th quarter when they take control.  Zac Lee is 13-21 with 196 yards but gets no TD's. Helu, Jr gets 156 yards on 28 carries and 3 TD's. Big XII North control is taken. Nebraska 31 vs. Kansas 17

November 21, 2009: Nebraska locks up Big XII North championship. Nebraska punts 6 times. Nebraska 17 vs. Kansas State 3

November 27, 2009: Nebraska wins handily.  The score does not reflect the game as Nebraska was in control the entire game.  On to face the Longhorns in Dallas. Nebraska 28 vs. Colorado 20

December 5, 2009: :01 second.  Ndamakuh Suh terrorizes Colt McCoy. Suh had 12 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks on the night.  The Nebraska offense looked terrible against a top rated defense of the Longhorns.  Zac Lee had 39 yards passing on 6-19.  The Cornhuskers had 67 yards rushing on 35 rushes for an average of 1.9 yards per carry. Nebraska 12 vs. Texas 13

And that's how they did it.  The Nebraska offense has had its ups and downs all year.  The blackshirts played well for most of the year, sans the Texas Tech game.  That is a positive for the Cats as we run a very similar offense and coach Dykes obviously will be able to dissect that film.  It's going to be a good one on the 30th.  We'll be back later with some insight from Corn Nation on the Nebraska Cornhuskers of 2009.