It wasn’t pretty, but in one of the most physical games in recent Washington history, the Huskies came out and took it to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, getting a 19-7 win in the Holiday Bowl.
Washington’s defense, which surrendered 533 yards to Nebraska in a 56-21 loss at Husky Stadium, was outstanding, holding the Cornhuskers to just 185 yards of total offense and the Husky offense moved the ball just enough to grind out 341 yards, including 268 yards on the ground, to get the win.
Husky RB Chris Polk, coming off a 284-yard effort in the Apple Cup, totaled 177 yards on a career-high 34 carries and LB Mason Foster had perhaps the best game of his Husky career posting 12 tackles and two sacks in the win
Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez, who had a huge day against Washington back in September, looked flustered most of the night end eventually left the game at the end of the third quarter after appearing to re-injure his ankle on Foster's first sack of the game.
LB Victor Aiyewa forced a fumble on Nebraska’s first series when he hit RB Rex Burkhead and DT Alameda Ta’amu picked up the ball and rumbled 10 yards to the Nebraska 21.
On Washington’s first offensive play, Locker pitched to RB Jesse Callier who then turned and threw the ball back to Locker who then gained 16 yards to the Nebraska 5. Two plays later, Polk took it over from three yards out to give Washington an early 7-0 lead.
Washington’s defense then held tough again and the offense was able to manage a 39-yard field goal from Erik Folk to put the Huskies up 10-0.
Martinez then led Nebraska on a 10-play, 74-yard drive ending when he hit TE Kyler Reed for a 15-yard touchdown in front of Husky S Taz Stevenson, who barely missed picking off the pass.
The rest of the first half was dominated by the defenses, but Folk did have a chance to add three more points, however he hooked a 48-yard attempt wide left shortly before the end of the half.
The Huskies received the second-half kickoff and took it right down, with Locker completing his first pass of the night, a 25-yard beauty to WR D’Andre Goodwin and then ran it in from 25-yards out to give Washington a 17-7 shortly after the start of the second half.
Washington then traded possessions with the Cornhuskers, but on their third drive of the second half, they managed to drive the ball to the Nebraska two, but Polk was stopped just short of the goal line, ending their threat to go up by three scores.
Precariously positioned in the shadow of their own endzone and with backup QB Cody Green in for an injured Martinez, the Cornhuskers, facing 3rd-and-7 and were called for holding in the endzone as Ta’amu forced Ricky Henry to grab a handful of black jersey, resulting in a safety, giving Washington a 19-7 lead.
The safety was the first for Washington since 2003 and on the ensuing drive, the Huskies drove to the Nebraska 30, but Folk’s wobbly, line drive attempt ended up hitting the left upright, however the Husky defense held tough again and forced the Cornhuskers to go three-and-out giving the offense another chance to run time off the clock.
After the Huskies were forced to punt, Green and the Cornhuskers got the ball on their own 20 and drove the ball to Washington’s 40, but on 4th-and-19, Green’s pass to WR Brandon Kinnie hit CB Adam Long in the back of the helmet, ending the drive and essentially sealing the win for the Huskies.
Washington’s win is their first bowl victory since the 2001 Rose Bowl.